The Transformation of a Lifetime

In Health, Inspiration, My Story by Shelle Otte

6:00 a.m., the alarm rang. Yet again, this middle-aged dental office manager struggled out of bed to make her way to the bathroom to start her morning. She was suffering. Looking in the mirror at a reflection that was less than appealing, she looked down at the counter at all the pain medication and anti-inflammatories and all of the little brown pharmacy bottles. There were the little white pills for her blood pressure and the big oval ones for her blood sugars and the mighty injection pen for her frequent migraines. There it was, right in front of her… her daily reminder and reality check that she was sick and suffering. Most days she suffered in silence, with a smile on her face because that is who she was: a smiler, a people-pleaser and a helper. Well, to everyone but herself.

She had put her needs and aspirations on the back burner.

She had put her needs and aspirations on the back burner. WHY? Because she felt helpless and hopeless and less than deserving. Others needed her more than she needed herself, so she thought. But as she looked at the reflection in the mirror this particular morning, she realized that something needed to change. She realized that she did deserve more than this uncomfortable prison that she had trapped herself in. She realized that this reality didn’t need to be a life sentence. Instead, life needed to happen with her in the driver’s seat!

She realized that if she was the very best version of herself, just IMAGINE what she could give to others!!!

She deserved to be happy and healthy. She realized that if she was the very best version of herself, just IMAGINE what she could give to others!!! Being healthy and happy was a gift she needed to give herself and to the others around her. She knew right then and there…THIS WAS IT. This was that pivotal moment that was going to change her life forever. 

Who was that dental office manager?

Who was that dental office manager? That was ME. And that was almost two years ago. September 18, 2017…it was my 45th birthday. Isn’t it crazy how birthdays remind us of our mortality and life? Well, this one was a real kick-in-the-pants for me! I was tired of struggling and feeling uncomfortable every single day of my life. I was tired of pushing through the constant pain and struggling with the 235lb physical straight jacket that I wore, all with a smile on my face. I met everyone else’s needs but my own. People around me couldn’t imagine the internal war that I was fighting every single day. My self-talk was a dialogue that would bring even the happiest person down. I knew that if I didn’t make a change right then, I may never make one, and that would be detrimental to my health and to those who love me. No more excuses. It was time to show up for myself. Enough was enough. Time to take control! Time for the TRANSFORMATION OF A LIFETIME!! 



How many of you struggle with that same self-deprecating internal dialogue?

Many of us do. And it’s what holds us back from being the very best version of ourselves. It’s what holds us back from true change. It’s what holds us back from reaching our goals and being successful. But how do you transform this thinking and transform yourself or your dental practice or your team? Let me tell you…it’s actually quite simple. But it does take determination, a willingness and acceptance: the right attitude essentially. 

The ultimate secret to transformation is knowing your WHY. Your Why is the leverage to make it happen. We can create leverage to affect the transformation by asking ourselves some important questions. 

What will life be like if I don’t achieve this transformation or reach my goals? 

How rewarding will it be when I do transform myself or my dental team? 

Who in my life will I affect profoundly by transforming or how will my patients be affected if my team is transformed? 

These are just a few examples of the questions you can ask yourself or your team to become clearer on what your INSPIRATION is and help you get started to go after what it is you want!

My Why

For me, my WHY and INSPIRATION were: I deserved a better life and to feel healthier and happier, so that I could truly be authentic in my smile and so that I could give the very best version of myself to me and to others. I knew that if that smile came from within, from an authentic place, that I could move mountains with it. I was confident that my WHY was that I needed to love myself enough to allow myself to live the best life possible and to teach others how to do the same – physically, personally and professionally. 

The inspiration for some may be easy. The next step in the process is to gather the INFORMATION needed to back up your inspiration. One of the reasons we haven’t achieved transformation or change in the past may simply be because we don’t know how. We don’t have the data to do so. We must acquire the information that lends itself to our getting it done. 

Have you heard, “Within each acorn lies the blueprint for the mighty oak tree”? That is what is inside each and every one of us as well. Isn’t that beautiful? We are just like that tiny acorn if we just learn how to tap into our inner core and the heart of our teams. We, too, can blossom ourselves and our teams into mighty oak trees. 

How do you find the information and blueprint?

We can acquire the wisdom through books, programs, workshops and experts. We can learn from our own experience of what works and what doesn’t work as well. We can access our own wisdom and impulses by taking time to be silent, go within, and listen…..the information is there if we seek it. 

That is exactly what I did for my personal transformation. I sought out consultations with surgeons, nutritionists, therapists and others who had made this physical change and had taken control of their health. I researched and turned over every stone I could, to gain the information I needed to make the right choice for myself. I knew that I needed a tool or program to help me achieve my optimal health. But I also knew that I was the true holder of the keys to my prison and that it was me who needed to turn that key to set myself free! 

Next you need a little imagination

So you have the inspiration and the information to start the process of change…next you need a little IMAGINATION! You need direction that comes in the form of imagination. We must actually imagine experiencing in a way that we have already achieved it. 

You’ve heard the old saying, “Fake it until you make it,” right? This is known as “acting as if.” The reason this is important is because it will cause us to feel inspired and purposeful. It is often said that transformation is that point where the outside reality catches up to our internal reality, or some call it imagination! 

For me, I turned my negative self-talk into a positive imagination dialogue about all the things that I would be able to do if I was healthy. If it’s a positive team culture that you want to implement in your dental office, then start imagining what that would look like, not only for your team but for your patients, too. Imagine seeing those Google reviews climb higher and higher. Imagine getting more and more new-patient calls. Imagine patients saying YES to the treatment you prescribe. Imagine a team working together more efficiently. Feel the purpose? Our mind is powerful!! That’s great…now you’re inspired, armed with the information needed, and you’ve imagined what it would be like to have real transformation and change happen. But now what? Now is the hard part….the PERSPIRATION! Time to get into action. 

It’s our action, executed with intention, that brings us closer to our goal!

Be clear about one thing, though: even though we may be certain about the inspiration, information and imagination, we may not feel like taking the action needed because of fear or uncertainty. This is where it is important to FEEL THE FEAR and DO IT ANYWAY!! I had an enormous amount of fear and anxiety when choosing to move forward with weight loss surgery. I had doubt creep into my self-talk over and over. But I knew if I really wanted to transform myself I had to push forward through that fear. If I was truly going to grow, it would be by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. This is very much true of any change we encounter. People fear change. They try to sabotage it any way possible. We must get honest with ourselves and our teams about fear and how to overcome it. This will serve two purposes: 

— You will most likely find that the anticipated fear was not as bad as you thought. 

— If it doesn’t work out, it will provide you with additional data to help you the next time. 

Challenges do not equal failure as long as we don’t give up and continue to push forward.

Growth happens in every step we take forward. I tell everyone that the weight loss surgery was only 10% of my journey and transformation. Sure, it helped me get started, but the other 90% was pure perspiration and doing whatever it took to be successful. I didn’t go into this willing to fail. That was not an option. Nor should it be an option when we set any goal. We have to truly believe in our success to make it happen. Every day I had to show up for myself and hold myself accountable. I had to have the hard conversation with my inner being to battle years of negative self-talk and change my script for good. This journey isn’t complete, not even close. This is an on-going, everyday thing for me. I can’t let my guard down or get comfortable. That’s how old habits creep in. 

It’s the same with your office. Every week we need to have accountability check-ins and training to stay on top of whatever change we have implemented. It’s a work in progress, and there is always room for growth. The good news is…you have people that want you to be successful and the tools to help you get there! 

Any transformation you seek is now four steps closer: Inspiration, Information, Imagination and Perspiration.

As you practice these, remain open to welcoming and experiencing the inspired life that is waiting for you. 95 pounds lighter than where I was less than two years ago has made me walking proof and hopefully inspiration to all of you that the ultimate secret to transformation begins with YOU and YOUR WHY!! Don’t achieve in order to be happy….be happy while on your way to achieving. 

6:00 a.m., the alarm rings out on a beautiful summer day 2019, a dental office manager pops out of bed. She walks to the bathroom, half asleep but with a heart full of happiness. She looks in the mirror knowing she will be featured on the cover of DeW Life Magazine. 

Is she nervous…heck yeah! But is she ready? Heck yeah!! Will every day go great or perfectly for her? NOPE. But this lady is ready to take it on like the transformed DeW that she had always been but hadn’t been able or ready to show the world! I AM TRANSFORMED!!! 

From the author

From the author: Shelly is extremely grateful to Patterson Dental and Sue Kump for showing their support and faith in her transformation journey by recognizing her with the Patterson Diamond Award and Scholarship while attending the 2018 AADOM Conference. Thanks to their belief in her and her story, she has been honored to have the privilege of being part of the amazing DeW experience! Shelly would also like to thank RevenueWell for hosting the “I AM” experience on the opening night of the 2018 AADOM Conference. This was a pivotal moment for Shelly when she was able to really identify her “I AM” and chose “I AM TRANSFORMED” as her new mantra. It has made a remarkable difference in her success.