Several colleagues came up to me after the session and said that I handled myself quite well under attack and duress. I was shocked that this debate had the perception of me being under attack. I felt the questions were appropriate, well thought out and respectful. I actually welcomed it.
One week prior to the HOD, I'll admit, I was a complete nervous wreck. My perfectionism kicked in and at all costs, I was going to be prepared to push my agenda.
I belong to a national study club facilitated by Dr. Bob Frazer (www.frazeronline.com). It consists of several dentists from around the country. It's focus is to help us grow as leaders, dentists and most importantly, as humans. I posted my fears about the upcoming week. Immediately I received words of encouragement! Some snippets from those letters....
"We need organized dentistry to keep us free to practice the way we want to, to keep the government out of our offices. My personal feelings are that they have become completely irrelevant to the young dentists and to many of the old guard."
"In the short time that I have known you, I have learned that you are a person who takes his responsibilities seriously so I understand your trepidation. I have also learned that you are a person who is committed to doing that which is right. You have overcome some great obstacles in your life. Compared to that and being a husband, father, friend and dentist this job will be easier. You have been entrusted with an important job, no doubt, but you are more than capable! The CDA is lucky to have you!"
"Courage.....that is what I think of when I think of you, Brett. How else could one be where you are at (spiritually, family, practice, friends) and not have that quality in abundance? Prepare well for Friday (as I know you will/have) and be authentic. People in an audience respond in many ways like they do in person."
"When you are authentic and transparent those who matter will respect you for it, even when they disagree. Always listen intensely. Ask yourself do I understand - not do I agree - that comes later.
If you chose to respond then restate what you believe you heard without judgment and as accurately as possible. Once you've heard them accurately, you can respond and stand a far better chance of being heard."
"Remember all you've learned in your own personal inner work as well as experiences like ASP. An organization without a clear vision is at the mercy of every changing wind and knows not for what port it is making. Therefore is not likely to achieve greatness, perhaps not even survive long term. Or as proverbs says - "Where there is no vision the people perish.""
These are people that have no attachment to any of the issues, just there to support me to be the best that I can be.
My most favorite quote was: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing". That is how I kept centered under what others perceived to be a pressure filled situation.
This is what mentorship does for me. There are countless people in my life that saw/see something in me that I don't see in myself. They encourage me to grow. I am completely limited by my self. When I have people in my life that are cheering me on to do better, it gives me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and grow without limits.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but having the faith to walk through the fear.
Who are your mentors in your life?