Toxic behaviors poisoning your day

2014 07 08 14 12 01 98 Butler Jen 200

The laundry list of things that make you angry, frustrate you, and throw you into a tailspin of ranting and complaining is long. You stress about money, time, business, staff, and patients -- the very things you need to achieve what you want. You ask all the "why me" questions such as, "Why can't I just enjoy going to work on Monday morning?" and "Why don't I make more?" or "Why can't they just do what they say they will?" or "Why can't I be happy?"

Yet you consistently look for external solutions to satisfy your internal emotions. How is this any different from someone addicted to drugs, gambling, and other self-destructive behavior?

Toxic behaviors

Jen Butler, MEd.Jen Butler, MEd.

The reason lies within these seven toxic behaviors you exhibit every day. These habits are deeply rooted in your unconscious mind, so you are unaware of how they hold you back, keep you stressed, and stop you from living your dream life. It's time to acknowledge these toxic behaviors poisoning your day so you can finally do something about them.

1. Black or white decisions

A black or white filter is created when your versatility to tap into other ways of thinking is low. It taints your worldview, the lens by which you interpret what you see, hear, and take in from every situation. Often, a single detail is focused on and all other elements, regardless of their validity and truth, are dismissed because they don't fit through your lens and support your worldview. You become a prisoner in your practice and life by your own way of thinking.

2. Perfect or not at all

In my experience, dentistry and perfectionism seem to go hand in hand. Since dentists have been trained to do perfect work, they transfer that mentality into thinking they must be perfect people. Chasing the idea of perfect, whether you measure it in margins, pounds, dollars, cars, or offices, is the permanent act of self-defeatism.

3. Taking things personally

Defending yourself to others is a reflection of your level of acceptance in who you are and how you do things. It goes as a way to measure your level of self-confidence and esteem. Taking things personally shows others your resistance to growth, change, and openness to new things.

Becoming defensive and shutting down the opportunity to hear how you show up in the world opens a door so others can witness your internal running dialogue around what you tell yourself and how you're never good enough.

4. Comparing yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is an easy way to feed your fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of change, and fear of being found out are all validated by looking at someone else that has more, done more, achieved more, or brags more. You measure what you have and what you don't to that of others' materialistic possessions. You make declarations of what you can do and what you can't based on what they have and you don't. You stay safely in your comfort zone not having to take risks and mentally flogging yourself with self-deprecating language.

5. Play the blame game

Playing the blame game is when you point the finger at people and things as reason for your lack of achievement or success. The three common areas blamed are the environment, people, and processes and systems.

By playing this blame game,you sabotage your solution choices by removing yourself out of each equation and focus on resolutions you have no control over. You constantly, and typically spontaneously, switch from one thing to another (such as from lab to lab, fire staff or at least want to, change processes and how staff does things, and so on). It's the hamster wheel you want off of but don't know how.

6. Go it alone

“You can't change what you don't acknowledge.”

Avoiding collaboration with colleagues, team members, coaches, consultants, accountants, and other professional partners keeps you thinking small, so it keeps your practice small and your stress high. Dentists by nature are independent, which is what has gotten them through more than 20 years of education, exam after exam, and boards after boards.

In reality, the business of dentistry is way too big to think you can do it all on your own and do it stress-free. When you're alone, there is no brainstorming, no one to challenge your current state of thinking, no mirroring of your effective and noneffective behaviors, and no one to tell you you're wrong and making a bad choice. Going it alone means there is no one to share in the frustration, dread, and pressure of being a dentist.

7. Victim attitude

A victim attitude keeps you stuck, believing there's no choice, and seeing your life trajectory as irrevocable. You see others as better than you, and your power or influence to make change is limited. This "I can't" attitude limits out-of-the-box thinking to find creative solutions, so your situation doesn't change, even though you've "tried." Someone with a victim attitude uses words such as, "I'm stuck," "I have to," "I don't have a choice," and "It's my fault." When you're the victim, you give yourself permission to stay exactly how you are, even if you are completely dissatisfied.

What to do

You can't change what you don't acknowledge. If you find yourself doing any of these behaviors here's what to do:

  1. Talk with someone you trust that will offer you some tough love. This person won't be afraid to point out when and where you are using these toxic behaviors.
  2. If you're feeling there's no one to talk with, or you don't want to share this side of yourself, reach out to a professional coach that focuses on stress management and resilience training (SMaRT).
  3. Go see your medical doctor immediately. These toxic behaviors are also symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental fatigue that are manageable by pharmaceutical intervention.

Jen Butler, MEd, is the CEO and founder of JB Partners and has been working in the area of stress management and resiliency training for more than 25 years. Learn about her services at her website, or contact her at [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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