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Imposter Syndrome In Dentistry

Do you know what “Imposter Syndrome” is?

According to Wikipedia, the greatest resource of all time for everything, Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon do not believe they deserve their success…”

It can come with a feeling that you really don’t know what the heck you’re doing, and you’re not as good at being a dentist and practice owner as others think you are, or as you are pretending to be. The thing is, unless you’re a total narcissist, you’ve probably experienced Imposter Syndrome from time to time. It’s quite common amongst high achievers. So here are four quick and easy things to do when Dental Imposter Syndrome strikes.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

It doesn’t matter if the dentist to your left has a $10,000,000 solo practice with 50% overhead (or if the dentist to your right hasn’t taken a paycheck in a year!). All that matters at this moment is you, your practice, your patients, and your team.

2. Continually strive for improvement.

Plan your next team meeting, your next CE course, or consider coaching for a valuable outside opinion. Do it without being too hard on yourself!

3. Gratitude.

Take a deep breath and realize how fortunate you are. (I do this every single morning from my balcony while watching the sunrise.) Develop your own gratitude exercise (keep a journal, have a “gratitude buddy,” or something else that suits you. Experience gratitude every single day!

4. Most of all, realize that Imposter Syndrome is perfectly normal. 

Most people have it from time to time, so use it to your advantage. After all, it’s a lot better than being a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. But that’s a story for a different time!

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