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The Energy Crisis: Helping You Reengage and Reenergize

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I’m often met with eye rolls when I ask business professionals if they have created an environment that meets their energy profile—an environment that inspires and energizes them throughout the day. The truth is, not many people can relate to this paradise. On the contrary, most professionals work against their grain, natural talents, and instinctive strengths, which triggers the stress response in a big way.

Whether you consider yourself an introvert (someone who gains energy with quiet and/or individual activities) or extrovert (someone who gains energy through social interactions and/or group events), there is only so much energy you have to expend during the day. If your work continually drains your energy vessel, by the time the workday ends and personal time begins, there is nothing left. Your personal and business life and your relationships suffer, and you search high and low for an excuse to disengage and shut down.

If you regularly suffer from a personal energy crisis, you’re not alone. And there is definitely something you can do about it.

Energizing Techniques for Introverts

Share with your team. Let the team know how they can support your needs. For example, as an introvert, you need clear boundaries so that your team doesn’t take all your energy reserved for clients. They shouldn’t bombard you with personal stories or a laundry list of questions. You need time to recharge throughout the day and they should not take it personally when you close the door to your office. Consider hanging a sign that lets them know you need a few minutes. Always take lunch. A 30-minute break mid-day gives you the much needed time to fully recharge. Your afternoon will be much more productive and profitable if you give yourself and your team a full break.

TIP: As an introvert, gaining energy via seclusion or isolation can be interpreted as standoffish, unbecoming a team member, or even rude. This is why it’s especially important for you to communicate the “why” behind your behaviors with others. “I’m going to take a quick breather,” or “I need a minute of quiet to re-energize,” needs to be said and shared often.

Energizing Techniques for Extroverts

Share with your team. Let the team know how they can support your needs. As an extrovert, your team can nourish your energy by sharing stories, jokes, bits about themselves, and more. Vice versa, most extroverts gather even more energy when they can talk and share about themselves. Bring your lunch so you have more time to bond with your team. Schedule outings or fun activities to boost your energy and morale at the same time. Offer to lead a group or club such as a walking group, book club, or recipe circle.

TIP: You find it easy to get drawn into a great conversation. But your enthusiasm for interactions may throw off the schedule, which limits productivity, places your team into stress overdrive, and may annoy consumers. Give your team permission to tell you when you are distracting them from their tasks. More business gets done when the team can stay focused. If they say it’s time to move on, trust them to guide you to success. Not everyone is a chatterbox. Learn social and body language cues that indicate when people are finished with a conversation. And finally, balance out your higher energy by creating a soothing and relaxing environment.

Energizing Techniques for Everyone

Never wait until the end of the day to reward yourself with that one thing that energizes you because by that time your energy is too low to enjoy a reward. It’s important to thread opportunities to reenergize throughout your day. Seek those little boosts of energy. 

Consumer Experience Matters

Create a consumer experience with intention. Industries tend to norm what the standard consumer (remember- the consumer can be employees, patients, clients, partners, etc.) experience looks like. The challenge arises when what works for you isn’t standard. The more you customize a process to work for you the more energy you will have at the end of each workday and the likelihood of you being completely engaged outside of work increases. 


As an introvert, arrange shorter, more frequent encounters that have natural stopping points. For example, welcome new clients in the lobby just a few minutes before the start of the workday, check-in with them at break, stop in and see how things are going mid-lunch, and the last few minutes before heading home. Let people get to know you before they meet you by posting information on your website, providing print material in the office, hanging pictures and certifications that demonstrate who you are and what you do as this reduces the amount of chatter necessary to connect. On the flip side, gather relevant information you need about a consumer from team members who have engaged with them earlier in the experience and use that information to jump right into a great conversation.


As an extrovert, create longer, less frequent situations to connect with people. For example, schedule regular lunch meetings to engage in development and support for your tribe or meet closer to the end of the day so if your having a great time running over doesn’t matter as much. Let consumers guide the conversation and build on what they mention during conversations. For example, if they bring up a vacation talk about vacations, or if they have a book with them, ask about the book. Letting them take the lead ensure you don’t dominate the conversation.

Any of the above ideas will advance your connection with people while reducing the amount of energy you expend.

  • Find your complement. Team issues are in the top 5 for stress triggers in dentistry. Team members complain if someone talks too much and doesn’t focus on their work or if someone is unfriendly, rude, or too silent. We forget that when others are the opposite of us in communication style or personality type, they are not our nemesis, they are our complement. They possess skills and talents we will never have, and sometimes wish we did. When people are our complement they help us balance out areas of opportunity and gaps in our character traits. You have a complement on your team. Find them, talk with them, and create a relationship where you can leverage each other’s natural talents. There is no reason to fight and push against what isn’t your chemical make-up.
  • Prepare ahead of time. Ask your team to gather information about each patient, write it down, and have it available for you to reference before each patient appointment. When you have that information, you don’t need to take any more than 3 to 5 minutes to establish connection, trust, and loyalty before you start your exam. For example, the patient information indicates a love of reading; you spend a few minutes to share favorite authors, and both you and your patient benefit from a relaxing conversation.
  • Protect your vessel. Every morning we wake up with our vessel full of a finite amount of energy. Stress in dentistry is so pervasive because dentists think they are the exception to the rule; they believe that they can do more, be more, achieve more, have more, and make more than the next person because they should be more than the next person. This is a myth that has real and tangible consequences. Protecting your energy vessel must be your #1 goal every day. If you enjoy your day, if you exercise, if you talk with your family, if you play with your kids, if you participate in study clubs, if you…if you…if you. Do what you know you need to do to replenish your energy throughout the day, because there is no rational excuse big enough to miss out on all that life has to offer.
  • Ask the right questions. Ask yourself the following questions; the answers will help you discover your own ways to fill up your vessel throughout your day.

What brings you complete joy? Let’s say it is music: play music during your commute, through headphones at work, in your private office. If your family brings you joy, hang their pictures everywhere; schedule brief calls every day; encourage visits from your own and your staff’s families; watch videos of family events.

What is your favorite story? Share the story with your patients, review it during procedures; hang pictures of the event that prompted the story; or even type up the story for viewing on your laptop.

What memory makes you smile? Relive the memory often and again hang pictures of a memorable event; talk about the memory with others; and place souvenirs of a favorite trip or hangout in your office.

How do you relax at home? Let yourself watch YouTube videos (funny ones!) in the office—laughter is one of the top three ways to reduce stress. Lay on your office couch or a relaxing chair for a few minutes to just breathe or read a book; enjoy a video game; or bring a yoga mat or light weights to work. Don’t attach judgment to the way you relax; simply enjoy it.

Transitioning from Work to Home

Many dentists find themselves disengaging or appearing disengaged at home. Here are some concrete things you can do to help with the transition from work to home:

  • Schedule your last patients of the day so that you are doing procedures that you love. Figure out what really gets you excited and tell your team so they can intentionally look for and schedule those patients.
  • Don’t run out of the office. Often dentists who are stressed and lacking energy think that the sooner they leave, the sooner they can rejuvenate. Slow down. Take some time to decompress at the office and leave the negativity, weight, emptiness—whatever you call it—at the office. Tidy up your office. Organize and compartmentalize your environment, and it will help you brain do the same, leaving more space for physical and mental energy when you get home. Freshen your face/teeth/hands, change your clothes into something comfortable, etc. Be intentional on letting your body and mind know it’s time for a transition.
  • Whether you have a short or long drive home, take each moment to rejuvenate and prepare for your homecoming. Your goal is to promote physical, mental, and emotional energy.

For physical energy, open the windows and breath in some fresh air, take in the warmth of the sun, heat your seats when it’s cold, drink water and lots of it, have a healthy snack. Making sure you refuel physically is so important for the transition. Breathe in for a count of 5 and breathe out for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times. 

For mental energy, listen to music and not news radio which is often dripping with negativity and just fuels your negative thoughts and energies; listen to books on tape (whatever you enjoy); listen to the comedy stations on XM. 

For emotional energy, talk to yourself out loud with positive statements (people will think you’re singing), tell yourself to let go of the day’s woes and negativity, remind yourself of all the great, wonderful, fun, and positive things that happened today, and tell yourself you will not think or worry about work: “I will not let today’s problems overflow into home.” It works.

  • Talk with your family to decide on a homecoming routine that works for everyone. Maybe you want to eat as soon as you get home. Plan dinners that accommodate that (a Crockpot works great). Do you need 30 minutes of home time to decompress before you eat and start with kids homework? How about going to the gym straight from work before home, or meeting your family at the gym, or involving your family in your exercise routine with bike rides, walks, hikes, or Wii sports a few days a week? Don’t look at work and home as having a separating line but how you might integrate them smoothly.
  • Whatever your feeling when you arrive home, set a timer for no more than 30 minutes; that’s all the time you get to wallow in the day’s weight. Then get up and get going. Feelings don’t dictate action, thoughts do. Reminder yourself of that. That you don’t feel like getting off the couch and taking the dog for a walk is irrelevant. Get up and do it. When we act as if we care, we start to care. When we act as if we have energy, we find the energy. When we act as if we can, we do.

Key Takeaways

Increasing your energy levels takes a behavioral change and a paradigm shift. With the right support at work and home, but most of all with a personal dedication to reenergizing yourself in small doses through the day, you can have the energy you’re looking for and deserve.

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