DeW Dish–Questions with Sonia Chopra

In Print Issues by Anne Duffy

What is the best part of your job?

Being an endodontist makes me feel like a superhero. I love being able to free someone of their pain and save their tooth in the end. It’s not a sexy job, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Tooth pain is probably the worst pain imaginable and being able to be there for someone and help them back into health is extremely gratifying. 

Who is the most influential woman in your life?

I know everyone probably picks their mom to answer this question, and I am no different! She always taught me to be able to stand on my own and not depend on anyone financially.  My mom is an anesthesiologist and her life in medicine had a very profound influence on me. However, one thing that stuck out to me was that she never had control over her schedule. So, seeing this frustration in her was probably the number one thing that I did not want to repeat in my life, especially as a mother.  So that’s why I picked dentistry and being a practice owner. I was still in medicine, like her, but I could be my own boss, and that has made all the difference in the world!

What obstacles have you overcome in your career?

When I graduated from my endodontic residency in 2008 and moved to Charlotte, NC, the economy tanked and I couldn’t find a job.  My two options were to be unemployed or start my own practice. I wasn’t ready at all for my choice, but I had no other options — so I started my practice from scratch.  This process taught me resilience and has made me learn that I can do anything that I put my mind to.  

What do you do to turn around a bad day?

I was not always good at this, but recently I have tackled it by taking a breath, closing my eyes and reminding myself that life is not all about ME. I take a moment to ZOOM OUT from myself to see that there is a bigger world out there, and it takes the focus off of my problems and it makes life look more balanced and the way it is meant to be. And then I allow myself to be grateful for the gifts that I already have.  

What is your guilty pleasure? 

The Real Housewives, any city, any cast. Bring it on.

What famous person living or dead would you like to have lunch with and what would you ask them?

Princess Diana. Honestly, I wouldn’t ask much, I would just sit back and listen. Or maybe Jennifer Lopez. She is a triple threat, she can sing, dance and act, and I would want to hear about her journey through it all!!  And of course, learn some dance moves and her beauty secrets so I can look like her when I am 50!!  Can they both be at dinner together??

 What is your dream vacation?

It includes my family, friends and a BABYSITTER!! I notice that when my husband and I take a trip just the two of us, we miss the kids. So, I prefer a vacation with my entire family. But, every parent needs some adult time, so having a sitter there to get that adult time and have some flexibility is what makes this mama happy. And if you can park us on the beach, I am in heaven, but just being with the people I love makes me happy.

What does balance look like?

Balance looks like a little bit of work, fun time, family, friends, and self-care. However, I have come to realize that perfect balance does not exist and I’ve learned that many times things shift into one domain over another, but then it can shift back the other way. Recognizing that life is not usually perfectly balanced is important, and having that awareness when it’s out of whack to shift it back to center is where the magic is.  

What movie always makes you laugh?

Zoolander. I think I can watch that movie forever and never get bored of it. It’s one of those movies that I can get into even if I catch it in the middle. 

What is the best gift that you ever received?

The best gifts for me are always the ones that I buy myself for accomplishing something huge in my life. They hold so much more than the material value for me.

How do you take your coffee?

I love the new Mushroom coffee and I take it Bulletproof style.

What is the best gift you ever gave?

I recently bought my Dental Assistant, who started my practice with me 11 years ago, her wedding dress.  

What is your motto?

Work Hard, Play Hard! Some people may consider me a workaholic, but I love a good time just as much. Working my butt off opens up opportunities for some amazing experiences in life.  

Do you have a secret sauce?

I would say that my secret sauce has always been marketing. Things have never been handed to me. I have always needed to find ways to stick out in a crowd in order to keep my competitive edge. If you know you have a good product or brand (and that can include yourself!), you need to tell the world about it, or it’s as if you have nothing at all.