MME: From Coping Dentist to Thriving Dentist | The Tools to Shift Your Mind | Dr. Kyle Stanley

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Show Notes

Want to move beyond just coping and instead thrive in your dentistry career? Tune into this episode as I dive into an enriching conversation with Dr. Kyle Stanley, addressing the silent struggle of mental and relational health amongst dentists. Discover how setting clear boundaries, understanding personal sleep patterns, and creating a mental health supportive clinic are key. Get a glimpse into Kyle's "DREAMS Sequence" - a routine promoting success and well-being!

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • The importance of prioritizing mental and interpersonal health in a dentistry career
  • The implementation and benefits of the "DREAMS Sequence"
  • Understanding individual sleep patterns and adjusting practice hours appropriately
  • The significance of setting clear boundaries and managing expectations with patients
  • Insights into effectively running a dental practice that supports mental health
  • Information about Kyle's Light Side Academy and his mission to help dentists

Tune in today to learn from Dr. Kyle Stanley, a dentist who overcame personal struggles to prioritize his mental and relational health, and how you can implement his key insights into your own practice!

Created by dentists for dentists: For practice management software that seamlessly integrates patient engagement, clinical charting, and practice growth without compromise, check out our sponsor, Oryx. As a listener of this podcast, schedule a free demo today with Oryx! Visit their link here:

You can reach out to Dr. Kyle Stanley here:



Dr. Kyle Stanley's Light Side Academy:

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People/Public Figures:

Useful Terms:

  • DREAMS Sequence - diet, relationships, exercise, appreciation, meditation, and sleep

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Kyle, so talk to us, what's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?

Kyle: Yeah, I think, uh, the biggest advice that I have really for any dentist is to focus on mastering your mental and relational health because I think that's the most effective way to ensure sustainable success in dentistry.

I think so many of us focus on our clinical abilities way too much when I talk to dentists from all over the world, that's not really what they struggle with. They struggle with their mental health, their relational health, with their team, with their patients. So, so that would be my advice.

Michael: Can you kind of elaborate a little bit more on that because how can we, I guess, How did you, sharpen your mental

Kyle: health?

Yeah, number one, I put effort into it. , I had never even thought about it. I was at a very deep, you know, dark point in my career where I wanted to quit dentistry. And so I really had to make it a priority. And what I'm trying to get across in so much of my, my lectures and my research and my courses is that don't get to the point where I was right.

Don't, uh, you know, like in dentistry we always say. Preventative medicine is the best medicine, right? And we talk about coming in for cleanings regularly, and getting radiographs regularly, so we can catch lesions that are very small, and do minimally invasive dentistry. However, with our own mental and physical health, most of us wait until it's a full mouth rehabilitation with orthognathic surgery and sinus lifts and zygomas.

So, don't wait for your own mental well being to be this full mouth rehabilitation. Do the daily habits and make, make it a priority.

Michael: So then right now to not get to the deep dark point and stop before there, what's like, I guess, one exercise we can implement. Or a couple exercises that you recommend you start implementing like

Kyle: today.

Yeah, so like with my, um, you know, the people that I mentor, I, we have something called the dream sequence, which is diet, relationships, exercise, appreciation, meditation, and sleep. And so you can pick any of those, but if we just want to make it very simple, get at least seven hours of sleep a night. I mean, that sounds so simple, but when I was at my very dark point, I wasn't doing that.

I was staying up late, reading articles, I was, you know, working super late, waking up super early, being at the practice, trying to organize, trying to get cases ready, and I thought that I was Being more efficient that way. And what I realized was that even though I was working longer, my efficiency was down.

So, and there's research on this, that when you're, when you don't have enough sleep, your efficiency is only 80 percent of what you're actually think you're doing. So you're spending 10 hours to do eight hours of work. And so, um, you know, just getting good sleep and making that a priority.

Michael: Yeah. Has it ever been the case, Kyle, where you're like, or maybe a member or, you know, somebody, uh, you're mentoring is like, Hey man, I go to bed, but I just can't fall asleep.

Like my mind is racing. I'm thinking of stuff and I'm like, I could have just been up this whole time doing stuff instead of just laying in bed with my eyes open. Yeah,

Kyle: yeah, I mean, there, there, there is research to show that different people have different sleep patterns, right? And I know a lot of people, especially dentists, that are like, Oh, I'm totally good on five hours.

And there is research to show that there's some people that are like that, but it's like 0. 0000001%. Like, very few people can focus with that little amount of sleep. So, You know, there's people that need to sleep later and need to wake up later naturally, you know Like my wife is one of these people she could put her phone down do nothing, but she's not gonna fall asleep until 12 Right these type of people may have to rethink the hours of their practice like don't start seeing patients at 8 a.

m If you're not going to be fresh then, so because most of the people listening to this are practice owners or maybe they're lead doctors in, you know, a DSO or something like this, we have the autonomy to change our hours based on our health. I think so many times we bend over backwards for patients and in the process we lose ourselves.

Michael: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Because a lot of the times we kind of adjust the hours to. Where you're not getting enough patience, so work Saturdays, right? Do e mails, do all these things. And so, do you think there's like a form of like your fear? You're like, I'm scared to do the other thing where I want to adjust it to my life, my sleep patterns, my Totally.

Kyle: Yeah, I mean, there's this big misconception in dentistry that the answer is having more patients. I'm here to tell you the answer is not to have more patients. The answer is to have the right patients in your practice. Because so many times we're saying more patients, more patients, more patients, that's the answer.

And sometimes these are the patients that are driving you nuts. These are the patients that don't want to take radiographs, they um, you know, are late to your appointments, they're rude to your team members, they're driving the whole team crazy. These are the patients that actually need to be dismissed from your practice.

We don't make money on these people and we can't do good treatment on them. So I'm a very big proponent of dismissing patients.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So right now, right now you're running your own practice, right? I do. Yeah. Mm-Hmm, . Okay. When you dismiss patients, how does that look like then when it comes to like, for your own mental health, like Yeah.

You guys

Kyle: are headaches. Yeah, so we have, we have scripts and forms and we've done this so much that we're fairly comfortable with it. But, you know, usually it's a patient that, like I said, doesn't go through with treatment, um, is late all the time. No shows.

Um, and so we just don't need them in the practice, you know, we have other people that would rather be there and are paying, are doing exams, are doing radiographs, you know, are on time, are just lovely to work with. And so it's not worth our mental stress and, you know, the financial aspect to have them in the practice.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. Have you come to realize Because I'm sure you get this a lot too where they're like, oh my mental health is good. I'm good. Like but they've lived this way with this stress like chronic stress for so long. They think it's Yeah,

Kyle: so I call them coping dentists. It's really three dentists.

There's, there's thriving dentists, there's coping dentists, and there's despairing dentists. And I was a despairing dentist at one time. Uh, now I think I'm a thriving dentist. But, uh, these coping dentists are just like, well, this is how it is. And this is how dentistry works and you know, yeah, I know it's, it's hard and it's difficult and patients suck and insurance is a pain in the ass and all this stuff, but I'm just going to deal with it for the next 30 years of my practice, you know, and that's not the case.

It doesn't have to be like that. Like dentistry can be amazing, but you have to take the steps to do it and you have to make yourself a priority. You see, as, as dentists, we're always giving, we're giving to our patients, we're giving to our team members, we're giving to our families. And we forget about us.

I always say you have to put on your own oxygen mask first when the plane's going down, right? You can't help others. And we always try to help others and lose ourselves. And many times our health is in a poor place. Exercising, we're not eating well, we're not sleeping well. Our relationships are poor. You know, we're not making good money.

And that's because we haven't made ourselves a priority.

Michael: So the first steps to making yourself a priority, we should look into is, like you said, our sleep, right? And then yeah, I mean

Kyle: that's an easy way it's a very easy way of doing it

Michael: and then from that point on Where does the, cause I feel like fires will come up, right?

Like, all right, I'm starting to sleep and then, oh my gosh, the hours. And then there's a patient that, you know, you kind of throw all out the window, that stuff seems easy to throw out the window. Well,

Kyle: you have the daily habits, right? So that's the diet relationships, exercise, appreciation, meditation, sleep.

Those are daily habits that we should be doing. For anybody, not just dentists, right? That's, that's for anybody. Then you also have ways of managing the practice for your mental health. Like, there's ways of scheduling that is better for mental health. There's ways of, you know, um, setting expectations, setting boundaries with patients that is for your mental health.

There's ways of talking to team members. I think so many times practice management is taught strictly just for money. And what I found, you know, when I was at my darkest point, I was making a shit ton of money, and I was miserable. So, what I've tried to do is figure out ways to the practice, patient, and the practitioner, and what happens as like a, side effect, is you end up making more money.

So you're happier, and because of that, you end up making more money.

Michael: So, are you like, subtracting more? Are you doing less now, or? Or how does that look?

Kyle: Yeah, I mean, my practice is a little different in the sense of like we're out of network, we're very high end, you know, we only see one patient at a time.

So my practice that I practice with Matt and Najad probably isn't the average practice, but you know, when I'm, when I'm helping other doctors with their practice, they tend to be more, you know, general dental practices that take insurance and are more normal. But our practice is definitely. Do less, charge more, better experience.

And that's a very, you know, niche market.

Michael: Hmm. So would you say like you kind of took in that concept into your life, like do less and you're like being energized more, you know what I mean? Like kind of

Kyle: thing? Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, I was completely overwhelmed with doing everything in my practice, in my life and I've had to simplify for sure.

Michael: Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. I just, sometimes I know that's like. You know how when you're at that and you I'm sure you stop talk to startups right who are like, hey, man I'm not even breaking even I got to throw everything out there I got a grind and I got to put in this grit. Is that warranted at the beginning?

Kyle: I think some of that is needed at the beginning, but you have to you know I love cars. You have to think about it like a car. You can only redline the car for so long before there's Irreversible damage. And so I think so many times we do that with ourselves. We're just like, well, I'll sleep when my practice is making a million dollars, or I'll sleep in my practice making 5 million, or I'll sleep when I have a thousand patients or when I have a huge, you know, all this stuff.

And like, you're not going to last. It's not sustainable. You may be able to do that for a year. You may be able to do that for two years, but you can't do that for 40 years of practice. asked me how I know because that's what I was doing. And there's this connection with your health that a lot of people don't realize.

It's like, I thought that my health and my business were two separate things. And what I found is that once I got my health, In the right place all of a sudden my business grew all of a sudden, you know We got more patients all of a sudden. I was selling bigger cases. All of a sudden. I was being better at surgery Simply because I was taking care of myself

Michael: Yeah, and I think that's um that takes a lot of like, um, I guess that's where the meditation comes in Huh, like it takes a lot of like inner look because you can tell if someone's unhealthy physically, right?

Well, most majority you're like, yeah, you're pretty unhealthy, right? but when it comes to mental I feel like You can tell yourself, like, I've always been this way. What are you talking about, right? I think since I was a child or something like that, but yeah, is that what you do? Are you helping practice owners and doctors now like kind of?

Transition out of that, or?

Kyle: I'm helping people master their mental and relational health in general, um, you know, that are, that are dentists. So, that has to do with realizing you have a problem, right? Realizing something is different. That has to do with then the next step is identifying all of those triggers.

So we go through, you know, like 18 different triggers, and you can't manage your triggers unless you know what they are. And then our step three is we do our purpose and our perspective, where we find out what our purpose in life is outside of dentistry. So many dentists think that it's to be a dentist, and I'm telling you, that's not your purpose in life.

That's not what you want your grandkids to remember you as. Next thing we do is learn those daily habits that I told you about, the dream sequence. And then the last step is to elevate above all this, and a lot of that has to do with managing your practice so that it works for you and you don't work for your practice.

Michael: I like that, man. That's really good. This is a course of yours or like, uh, what is it? Yeah,

Kyle: yeah, I have an online course and a, um, like a mastermind support group as well.

Michael: Nice. Awesome, man. All right. So Kyle, thank you so much for being with us. If anybody has further questions or concerns, where can they reach out to you?

Yeah, you can

Kyle: find me on Instagram at drkylestanley, d r kylestanley. Or you can go to my website, drkylestanley. com. And, uh, yeah, look forward to hearing from people. My course is called light side Academy, and we've had over a thousand dentists from over 50 countries take the course. So super, super cool community.

And it's been the most rewarding thing I've done in dentistry for sure.

Michael: Wow, man, that's exciting. That's amazing. Awesome. So that's going to be the show notes below if anybody wants to check it out. At the same time, Kyle, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning episode.

Kyle: Thanks for having me.