Home Dental Episode #587: How to Find More Energy and Purpose in Your Days, with Katrina Sanders

Episode #587: How to Find More Energy and Purpose in Your Days, with Katrina Sanders

by adminjay

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Register for Katrina’s next Disease Prevention & Wine Tasting course (October 5-6, 2023): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/act-dental-hygienists-live-course-october-5-6-2023-tickets-368595568267 

Katrina’s 2023 speaking events: https://katrinasanders.com/calendar

Unique Ability: https://uniqueability.com

Main Takeaways:

Find your unique ability.

Discover your mission and purpose.

Always be learning and always be inspired.

Create a lasting impact that is outside of dentistry.

Be raw, authentic, and honest. People will support you.


“The reality is, inside of dentistry right now, we are seeing niched practices and we are seeing niched clinicians who are stepping into very unique roles inside of their practice where now, if they are taking the time to reflect on these things — so, number one, something that you’re really good at. I talked to hygienists all the time that are like, ‘I’m really good at social media. I really enjoy posting videos, or doing cutesy little reels, and things like that on social media.’ Well, if you’re really good at that, why are you not utilizing this as an aspect inside of what it is that you’re doing in clinical practice? Couldn’t you take something like this and lift this into your practice? So, little things like that. What are some of the things that you’re really good at?” (16:25—17:17)

“So often inside of dentistry, we’re so focused on, a hygienist is only as good as the number of minutes that his or her fingers are in somebody’s mouth . . . I think we have to change. I think we have to flip that mindset to say, ‘Actually, we have these amazingly talented people who absolutely are good and are trained as clinicians.’ I know how to hold an instrument. I can hold an instrument very well. I can scrape a tooth very well. But there’s so much more to me. And one thing that I found inside of clinical practice is how thrilling when you get to step into that so much more inside of your practice.” (19:07—19:48)

“It’s the thing that we aren’t measuring that we should we measuring, and that is people cannot look away if you are being raw, authentic, and honest. And people can’t not follow if you have a mission because everybody wants to get behind a mission. They do. As long as that mission is not hurting somebody, people want to get behind that.” (20:53—21:23)

“I’m not here to make dentistry comfortable. I’m here to make dentistry better. And there’s a difference there because when you make dentistry better, that oftentimes means that you have to make dentistry uncomfortable. So, you know what that looks like? That looks like getting reviews in my course evaluations that say, ‘How can she say that now it’s okay for you to probe dental implants?’ Well, it has been for a long time. I’m not here to make it comfortable for everybody else because that’s what you learned in school 25 years ago, so it’s comfortable for you to just hear the same things that you heard 25 years ago repeated so that you know that you’re doing a good job. I’m going to make dentistry better, and that means that I’m going to say what’s going on in research right now. And that may mean that you’re going to have to go back to your clinical practice and make some edits. But that is because when we make dentistry better, we make our community better.” (26:59—27:44)

“Your mission has to be the thing that you remember and think about in those moments when it is difficult, when it is challenging, that’s on a macro scale. Working clinically, we often miss that so much. How many times do we, as a hygienist, am I sitting there, I’m talking to my patient and I’m saying, ‘I’m concerned because your gum tissues are infected. I’m concerned because we need to address this active infection. I know it’s not hurting you in your mouth today. I know it’s not. But if we don’t treat this, you run the risk of experiencing any one of 57 unique diseases and conditions that have a biological plausibility linked back to periodontal disease. Mr. Jones, I’ve noticed that you’re hypertensive. I’ve noticed that you have high cholesterol. I’ve noticed these things in your mouth. And gosh, I think I’m looking at a fire that is continuing to escalate. The flames are getting bigger and bigger.’ And this is where, ‘Did I hear that you have a family history of cardiovascular disease? Did I hear that your physician said you do, in fact, have high cholesterol and we need to manage this? Gosh, this conversation, Mr. Jones, is about your health,’ and how easy is that for us to want to start with that conversation? But we all know that the conversation doesn’t end there. You have those inconveniences, the proverbial bottle of wine that shatters in your suitcase when you need to get there, shower, and get ready to do your webinar. That shattered wine bottle looks like a patient that goes, ‘Yeah, but does my insurance cover that?’ Or, ‘No, thank you. I just want to do my free cleaning my insurance covers.’ And now, you have to remember your mission. You have to remember your why. So, what is your mission for Mr. Jones? If it’s all about production, if all you’re doing in the practice is talking about your numbers, and your production, and you’re not talking about the core values of the practice, moving your patients from a state of disease to a state of health, if you’re not talking about that — it’s important to change some of that vernacular. Or, rather, it’s important to change the way you communicate that so that your patients understand. ‘Mr. Jones, I am not here to bill the heck out of your insurance. I am not here to invoice the heck out of you. I’m here because I’m your health care provider.’” (28:17—30:42)

“What blows my mind is how much if you focus on something else or you expose your brain to something different, how if you’re actually listening, you’re paying attention, you’re soaking it up, where you can pull inspiration from.” (32:19—32:33)

“I think one of the things that we get so focused on when we’re in the hustle and bustle is doing the hustle and bustle and not giving ourselves the space, the latitude, the grace, to absorb or soak other things. I’ve got about four books that I’m reading all at the same time, and then three books that I’m listening to on Audible. And part of the reason why it takes me so long to get through these books is because I’m soaking up so much from it. I’m stopping, I’m reflecting, and I’m thinking, ‘What lesson can I pull from this information? How can this inspire or empower me?’ Sometimes, it’s not in my work. Sometimes, it’s just, ‘How can this empower me or inspire me to be a more empathetic person?’” (34:32—35:18)

“Sometimes, when I’m absorbing content or I’m pulling inspirational pieces from around me, it’s not even just, ‘Well, how can this make me a better speaker? How can this make me a better business owner? How can this make me a better hygienist?’ but, ‘How can this make me a better human?’ Because at the end of the day, when people are working with me and getting behind my mission, they’re getting behind me and who I am as a human, the things that are important to me.” (36:09—36:34)

“Take the time to really reflect on what are the things that you are really good at.” (37:51—37:57)

“I had a guided journal. This is how I got my start. The guided journal literally asked, ‘What are you really good at? What do you love? Money is no object. You’re going to do this thing for the rest of your life. What are the things that you would do every day?’ And I’ve shared this with you before on the podcast. People say like, ‘Oh, I would just drink cocktails and hang out by the beach.’ Okay, that gets really boring really fast. Seriously, what would you do if you could do whatever? So, I’m hearing you love travel. Okay. So, travel is on there. That’s really great. You love to travel. That’s amazing. So, what are things that you can do — you love to travel — that you can do those things? Well, I’ll say, as a speaker, I do a heck of a lot of traveling. So, if I love to travel — I don’t love travel as much as I’m doing it right now. But if I loved travel, this would be a great space for me. So, think about some of those things. What are the things that you could do every day over, and over, and over again that’s going to fuel you, that’s going to give you energy? What are those things?” (39:18—40:13)

“Most of us are selecting things that other people love too. I was asked this during a branding program I did last week. Somebody raised their hand and they said, ‘Okay, so this is weird. You have a line of wines only for dentistry. You have niched down so much that these wines really only make sense for dentistry. So, does that scare you that you’ve created a line of wines only for dentistry?’ And I said to this person, this was during a branding program, ‘Actually, that doesn’t scare me at all. That thrills me because that means nobody else is doing this. Nobody else has created wines for dentistry. And, by the way, there are a lot of dental professionals out there, and a lot of them like to drink wine. So, I have created something that nobody else can do.’ And how powerful is that?” (40:15—41:06)

“That decision [to pursue your dream and mission] is a horrifying decision to make because you are placing max bet — this is like Las Vegas. You are max betting. You are putting all the chips in on yourself, on who you are, on the missions, the things that matter to you, the things that drive you, the things that excite you, and you are making an assumption that the very things that excite you excite other people in your community, in your world. And that is horrifying. But I will say, if I could go back in time and tell myself anything, seven years ago when I started writing all this out, it would be just do it. Just leap. Be fearless. Go. Because my biggest regrets are when I held back, when I thought, ‘Oh, no. This slide is too pink. It’s going to offend people. Oh, no. This research study, dentistry is not ready for that.’ When I held back, those are the things I regret. Now, being able to go all in and say — I have pregnant women come to my wine tasting events. They don’t drink the wine, but they come. Why? Because they’re not just there for the wine. They’re there for me. They’re there to interact with their colleagues. They’re there to absorb the content. They’re there to be moved and inspired. It’s not just about one thing. And so, I’ve created this where it’s like, ‘This is where we’re going,’ and that mission becomes a critical driver.” (44:17— 45:53)

“One of my favorite quotes, this is from the musical, Godspell. In one of the songs, “A Beautiful City”, the lyric says, ‘We may not reach the ending, but we can start slowly but truly mending brick by brick, heart by heart.’ And I love that because it really means like, I may not reach the end. I may not hit my absolute mission. But every audience member that I connect with, every patient that I serve, every person who listens to something that I’m doing is getting a small piece of me. And I implore anybody listening to this to consider that what they’re doing on a daily basis — waving to somebody when you’re driving in your car, smiling to somebody when you’re in the elevator, complimenting somebody.” (48:07—48:55)

“You have the ability to help so many in small little nuances. It cost me nothing to say to this woman, ‘You look adorable today.’ And it was honest. Those little things, anybody who’s doing things like that, brick by brick, heart by heart, you are building a beautiful city. And what an incredible thing for us all to be a part of together.” (49:52—50:16)

“I think the bow in all of this is taking the moments that you love most about the work that you’re doing, acknowledging your why, and never forgetting what your mission is, using that as a driver on the days when you are exhausted, you have no voice, and Kirk Behrendt is next door screaming and bouncing off the walls. Take those moments and go, ‘He has a mission. I do too. And we are both here screaming as loudly as we can for that mission,’ and recognize that it is also an incredible honor to share in that mission with people who are like-minded. So, Kirk, thank you for screaming through the walls, because that absolutely echoes the passion that I have, the drive I have. Thank you. And my hope is those of us who are listening to this podcast can look to their colleagues, their doctors, their assistants, their team members, and recognize that these people are alongside you in that same mission.” (50:30—51:39)


0:00 Introduction.

1:24 Katrina’s background.

5:06 How to find focus, passion, excitement, and joy in your work.

15:47 Find and utilize your teams’ unique abilities.

19:48 Katrina’s “why” for her mission.

30:43 Always be learning.

37:14 Take nontraditional paths.

41:06 Change the world outside of dentistry.  

45:54 Brick by brick, heart by heart.

50:18 Last thoughts.

Katrina M. Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF Bio:

In the ever-changing world of dental science where research, technology, and techniques for patient care are constantly evolving, dental professionals look to continuing education to provide insight, deliver actionable steps, empower, and create a dramatic impact within their clinical practice.

With wit, charm, and a dash of humor, Katrina Sanders enchants dental professionals with her course deliverables, insightful content, and delightful inspiration. Her message of empowerment rings mighty throughout her lectures and stirs a deep sense of motivation amongst course participants.

Katrina is the Clinical Liaison for AZPerio, the country’s largest periodontal practice. She performs clinically, working alongside Diplomates to the American Board of Periodontology in the surgical operatory. Katrina perfected techniques during L.A.N.A.P. surgery, suture placement, IV therapy, and blood draws. She instructs on collaborative professionalism and standard-of-care protocols while delivering education through hygiene boot camps and study clubs.

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