Resilience – Learning to View Failure Differently

In Inspiration, My Story by Genevieve Poppe

At 31 I achieved my professional dream. I started a dental acquisition affiliate group, and with the help of a partner and some investors, we bought our first dental practice. This was a particularly significant accomplishment as just a few years prior I described myself as “just a dental assistant.”

Over the next five years I would build the company and pour my heart, time, and self-worth into every practice acquisition and transition. I built a company and career that was extremely unique in the industry, and that was extremely demanding of my time and emotional energy.

A few years into this adventure, my relationship with my partner started to fracture. I fought hard to make it work. I pled for what I needed. I tried for years to reach a resolution. Ultimately, there was no resolution to be found, and despite my absolute best efforts and numerous successes, I was asked to leave the company I helped to create. The company I cashed in my 401k and went unpaid to build. The company that I could literally not distinguish myself from. To say I was devastated is an understatement.

I spent months reexamining every action I had taken over the years, beating myself up then sleeping it off on the couch. I felt like a total failure. Even more devastating, was the loss of my partnership. Despite knowing our relationship had issues, I always viewed my partner with respect and trust. Even after my separation, I thought there might be some salvage of a friendship or the occasional word of support. Even after it was apparent this was not to be, I would find myself on the brink of calling, texting or forwarding an article I thought he’d like. I felt utterly betrayed and humiliated, which is even worse than feeling like a failure.

Why do I bare my soul with such a gut-wrenching memory? Because I survived it.

After picking my self up (just a little bit), I ventured into some virtual coaching. I planned to do just a little bit until I figured out what my next move was. Even with this small commitment, I realized that my confidence had really been shattered. I had 15 years experience as a practice manager and dental assistant and had built and grown a practice affiliate group to 10 doctors and 150+ employees, and I was utterly terrified to coach front desk teams on basic phone skills. Logically, this does not make sense, but I really had come to question if I was ever good at anything.

Here comes the good news. I was good at it. Really good. I quickly began to enjoy my successes and rapidly grow my client list. It took just one tiny step into my discomfort and insecurity to get my groove back.

After about a year of keeping my services simple, I decided to get back to my passion for practice growth, organizational structure, and leadership and accountability coaching and consulting. Now, at 38, I have a full client roster, a small waiting list, and lots of hot leads.

The moral of my story is this. Failure happens to us all. It is how we respond and recover that defines us. Dig deep and find your resilience and shoot me a message if you need help from a sister/DEWer who cares about you.