Monday, April 29, 2013

There are different kinds of stupid

When I first started looking into other businesses I knew I wanted to do something completely different.  I searched online for my new identity...that's one kind of stupid.  What I found was a popcorn franchise.  They have great all natural freshly popped popcorn in 9 different flavors.  I called up and talked to "a guy" aka recruiter that gets paid to bring people into the franchise.  I didn't know that.  He told me all kinds of lies that I didn't check out because I thought he was telling me the gods honest truth 100% of the time...that's another kind of stupid, it's called naive.  The more I learned about the franchise the better it seemed so I went through all the pontificating and ass kissing and was "invited" to be in the franchise.  I'm pretty sure now I would have been invited no matter what because I had the money but it looked good at the time for them to tell me not everyone gets invited to be part of their awesomeness.  The day I signed the agreement I was very nervous but assumed it was normal jitters after spending thousands of dollars and committing your life to a new venture.  Now, most people go into business to earn money and that really was my intention.  I believed the company when they told me that's what would happen...more stupid but of a different kind, the kind where the company you just bought into doesn't really know what's going on.  Sadly, I'm at the stage where I'm trying to decide if they didn't care that my location would not do well or if they really thought it would because they don't know any better.  I think I've come to the conclusion that it's both.  I have a lot of advice for anyone considering going into a franchise and if you are one of those people, feel free to contact me and I will happily fill you in on what to do and what NOT to do!  I really have learned a lot about myself as well as how to run and research small businesses.  I do not make money, I do manage the business, work in the business, do all the books for the business, do the payroll for the business and pay the taxes as well.  I have a lot of experience I did not have before and feel like I have good advice for others in my same situation.  I wish I had done so many things differently and at the time I thought I was doing everything right.  Sometimes we  find ourselves in a situation we don't like and we can't get out of...that's when you're really tested in life.  Theodore Roosevelt once said:

"To the Man in the Arena"

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms , the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat

Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mrs. Dentist

If you've never heard the words "I hate you" spoken from the heart by a stranger then you've never truly lived.  So why did I become a dentist?  young and stupid are the words that come to mind.  I left for college when I was 17 and there's very few people who really know what they want to do in life at that age, me included.  I had some dental work done and thought "I can do this...help others and have a sweet schedule..." and that's basically how that went.  I knew absolutely nothing about what I would learn or be expected to do.  In short, I was clueless.  I did end up graduating from dental school in may 1993 and it was a great honor and certainly something to be proud of.  I do have to remind myself of that and seem to belittle it quite often.  People don't appreciate the dentist.  We are right up there with used car salesmen and plumbers trying to rip you off and charge too much at the same time.  I can't tell you how many times I was told "well, looks like I'm paying for your car" or "looks like I'm paying for your new house" etc... not "well, looks like I'm paying for your expertise so you can pay off your school loans"...nope, never heard that one.  It hurts at first, then you just turn into a hard ass with very thick skin because you have to or you won't make it through another day.  When the recession hit in 2008 it had a major negative affect on dentists.  Our world was turned upside down like so many others in America.  I prefer not to go into a lot of detail about the 2 years that followed but I will say that we sold a lot of our belongings and moved out of our home of 10 years.  To say they were "trying times" is somewhat of an understatement but that's what they were.  Since then I've tried to reinvent myself without a lot of success!  It seems that dentistry and my identity go hand in hand because I feel lost without it but loathe it at the same time...
I ponder how I ended up where I am now on a daily basis.  I'm never satisfied and I think it's because I measure success monetarily.  Are you a success when you complete 4 years of professional school and toss your cap in the air?  The answer is: only if you think you are.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who am I?

I am a dentist.  I am a mother.  I am a wife.  I am a sister.  I am a daughter.  I am a BFF.  I am a popcorn popper (seriously, I really am), I am a problem solver.  I am a middle aged woman (it pains me deeply to say that), I am a niece, I am an aunt,  I am a mentor (at least I think I am).  These are the roles I play in my life and yet I still ask myself "who am I?"...there are many people that value me as a person and the things I do each day but I don't know that I value myself unless I can measure my own productiveness.  Being both a professional and a mom is a hard thing to balance as I'm sure many of you know.  I retired from Dentistry a year and a half ago and I was happy about it.  Since then I have   bought a franchise (I won't mention any names to protect the not so innocent but the franchise contains the word popcorn...I think it's the only popcorn franchise out there) and had very high expectations.  What a fiasco.  Now I find myself feeling worthless having gone from "Hey Doc" to "Hey housewife" to "Hey failed popcorn popper"...at least that's how I hear it in my head.  I'm embarrassed by what I do now and how unsuccessful I am.  Don't worry there will be a lot more details coming soon for those of you who like a good horror story or those of you who may just want to learn from my numerous mistakes and life lessons.  But what I really struggle with is what is success really?  How do you measure that?  Is it when your 17 year old son tells you you are "an awesome mom", or is it when you earn $200K a year?  Are you a success if you drive a nice car or when you are able to patiently teach your child to drive that car (patiently being the key word there)?  Thinking about these things is what I do best right now.  I hope you'll leave your comments about what you consider success...I'd love to hear from you.