“I had lost my internal motivation and leadership skills; I was stressed and spinning my wheels. That’s why I like to say this helped me get my mojo back,” says Dr. Sarina Tinnel. A recent graduate of PDA’s Business Impact: Foundations course, Dr. Sarina found her normally optimistic outlook pushed to the breaking point. At a friend’s recommendation, she signed up for Foundations. Dr. Tinnel joins us for an energizing chat about how she reclaimed her confidence through the power of:
- A safe space with trusted experts and supportive peers
- Accountability to goals
- Reducing the chaos and rediscovering her passion for dentistry
YOU TOO, CAN GET YOUR MOJO BACK! Reserve your seat at PDA’s Business Impact: Foundations. Class begins January 14, 2020. Sign up before December 1, 2020 to get VIP Early Bird bonus material.
Dr. Sarina Tinnel
Dr. Sarina graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Dental School in 2005. Her undergraduate degree was completed one year early and she was granted early admittance to dental school due to her hard work. While in high school, college and dental school she worked as a dental assistant. She has been in dentistry since 1998. Dr. Sarina has had much experience in helping patients evolve their dental health into excellence. She has certifications in CEREC CAD-CAM dentistry and served on the mentor panel at CEREC Doctors on the Spear Campus. She has certifications in Invisalign, Fast Braces, Sleep Appliances and is currently working to bring awareness to Sleep Disordered Breathing.
Dr. Sarina specializes in caring for each patient as she would a family member and strives to make each visit their best. Her chairside discussions and calming manner make patients feel comfortable and at ease. Dr. Sarina is very passionate about her continuing education journey. She regularly attends her education classes on general dentistry in addition to whole body health as it relates to sleep disordered breathing. She is also involved in local and national study clubs that help her focus on individualized patient care while using the latest technology to assist. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband Nick and four children, Jake, Zach and twins, Emery and Kate. Gracie, their dachshund, is the oldest sibling and for sure the most diva of all! The Tinnel’s enjoy traveling in their free time and spending weekends enjoying sporting events for the kids.
CHAD: I am excited on a rainy cruddy day to talk to UMKC graduate of the same year as me. Sarina, how are you doing today?
SARINA: I am great. Chad, thank you so much. And thank you for having me.
CHAD: Yeah, you’ve got to kind of have a good story. I won’t call it a fun story, but fun for us to learn from your you know, like your growth pattern and stuff like that. So this last year, has been sucky for a lot of people.
SARINA: Right? It’s been a total suck year.
REGAN: Yeah. And so Chad used to just say Sucktember, but that was that was a lot of sucky months there.
CHAD: You know, I had never heard it before until this year that people were like, Sucktober so they even just changed it into you know, I’ve not heard anyone yet say Suckvember, but like I don’t know when it’s gonna end you. So Sarina how did you get plugged in with the Foundation’s course.
SARINA: Actually one of my great friends here in the area Overland Park Shawnee area was an office manager her great friend is Joanne Miles. And she hooked me up with Joanne. Joanne and I become friends and she was the one that probably 10 times told me Sarina, you have to get hooked up with PDA you have to get so after listen to a few of Dr. Baird’s podcasts, I jumped on board.
CHAD: You’re just wrapping up with the September course and whatnot. Right?
SARINA: Yep. So we did that eight week, business class starting, I think it was starting at the end of summer, August, September. It was, it was great. It was just how to get a business plan going a two year business plan. And at first I thought there’s no way I will ever be able to do this on my own. And no kidding, just attending the courses on Fridays for a few hours just jumped right on board. And it was really simple.
CHAD: So what spoke to you about getting signed up for that? Was there something that said that is what I need.
SARINA: I feel like I had kind of lost everything. I mean, of course, my practice my patients, my team, I adore them. And everybody came through this pandemic, at this point, 100%, we didn’t lose any team members, everything’s great. But like, I had lost my internal motivation. I was just spinning my wheels, trying to get up every day and get to work and manage the stress and the emotions and the heaviness of the pandemic. So I had lost my leadership skills. So I tell everybody, that PDA gave me my mojo back. So that’s what led me in that direction is, I felt the need to lead again,
CHAD: At least you recognized it right. I reckon. I mean, I, you know, like a lot of people that come to you, Reagan, you know, they don’t Well, they might not know it, they might not even call you guys because they don’t recognize that, you know, they need leadership help.
REGAN: Right? Absolutely. Well, I think I think and especially I think COVID heightened perhaps for myself and a lot of business owners across the board. You know, it kind of compounded a lot of things together. So I think I think you know, like for you Sarina, it sounds like you know, motivation, you realize you were just in the tank and you’re normally upbeat personality listeners who can’t see she has this very bright glowing face and just kind of this energy pops off of you. So I can see that would be an indicator for you like something’s not right here. And did did you do a planning process? Have you ever done a business planning process? pre COVID?
SARINA: Good question. I had actually hooked up with another group, just to help lead by Team more. It wasn’t an actual focus business leadership course on my own. It was more marketing and planning for the team. So this was new and foundational for my leadership skills.
REGAN: Were you apprehensive about going into such a big planning process and you’d never done
SARINA: Well, okay, this is so typical Sarina, I feel it I know this is the right direction to go. I’m making my way to the class or you know, this Was all zoom meetings. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought, Oh, this is great. This is a podcast, I can listen to your zoom meeting I can listen to while I do my other things. As a mom of four kids, Fridays are key, for me getting things done. So that was hard to set the time aside, once I realized, hey, three hours out of your day on a Friday is fine. Once I realized what it took, I was able to jump right in and go.
REGAN: So did you. So did you really try initially to kind of multitask and do it? And then?
SARINA: No, it was funny, because I know my, okay, women, we color our hair, we got to look good. I was at my hair appointments, you know, maybe every couple months, or I think there was maybe two appointments there. And my hairdresser knew that if I had to zone out and listen to my earbuds while she did my hair. That was why so multitasking can work a little bit. But when we did the group out group breakout sessions, I had to focus.
REGAN: So is that what kind of shifted it for you? Did you feel like the breakout sessions with your peers–
SARINA: Accountability, baby, they really helped me too, and a lot of great friendship and leadership from them as well, good feedback.
CHAD: Well, if I’ve done the course, twice, now, the Foundation’s course and I just feel like it’s a good safe space, you know, like that, that the people there are not looking to knock you or whatever. And there’s different groups that are encouraging that way. But this is one of those where the people that are there are not there to say, Oh, well, you do it the dumb way. And, oh, you had a bad year? Well, it’s because you’re a poor businessman, you know, like, you know, everyone there was kind of just like, Oh, yeah, no, I mean, I’ve had, I’ve had a rough year too. And let’s talk about it.
SARINA: Yeah. And actually, that’s when I finally got the job, because you don’t know what kind of group you’re gonna get know, with, when you join these. You don’t want the pretentious, you don’t want the condescending, you want people to listen to uplift and empower you. And absolutely every step of the way that was this group. And the great thing about the PDA group is that I never felt like it was condescending or pretentious group feels like oftentimes in some of these social media circles that we follow as dentists and when the shutdown happened, that’s where I’m drawn, you know, I’ve got to get information. And some of them, they hide behind that platform, or they’re on a phone, they’re not face to face. So they can open up to be a jerk or condescending or just, you know, not empowering not–,
CHAD: Not even constructive. Not I mean, you know, sometimes it’s just a passive listener group. And that is that that’s not constructive, either.
SARINA: Yeah, or trolling or, even worse, right? So I’m grateful for the group because we were so face to face. And that accountability was there, and that that loving group was just all about it.
REGAN: So Serena, what was the walk us through from a first person perspective, especially for anyone who hasn’t done a strategic business plan? And that term just sounds so big? What was the process actually like, for you?
SARINA: It was time intensive. But it was easy. Does that make sense? You know, you guys again, guided me through it walked me through it. And I was so blessed to be able to work with you guys. In some instances, one on one. So you guys could pull out of me, kind of what was needed and what got me started. So once you guys sparked that, or lit that fire, I was able just to roll with it. And the fact that you guys broke it down so easily, you know, and to you know, we think of the two year goal, then one year, then six months, and then you just take it like the wedges of the apple, and go a little bit by little bit makes it easy.
CHAD: Yeah, I liked how Victoria broke that up and just said, Okay, we’re gonna digest the whole Apple, but let’s cut it in half, then we’ll cut it in half again, then we’ll cut those halves and halves in half. And then all of a sudden, you know, eating an eight at a time just seems a lot more enjoyable, doable, delicious. All that.
SARINA: Absolutely. Yeah. And it does take time, you’ve got to work on it to get you know, that entire business plan knocked out. But as long as you start, you’re good to go. It just flows.
CHAD: Have you have you taken other online courses? I know for me personally, I’ve take I’m, I guess a dental CE junkie. So I tend to be enrolled in some thing, but I don’t often have the one on one interaction, which I know can affect me. Have you taken other courses where you haven’t had the one on one interaction? Is there a difference from your perspective?
SARINA: Yes. Done a ton. Are you kidding me? Especially during this time? Yeah. Right. All the time. So yes, I’ve done a lot but not a lot of one on one. I mean, you’re one of 50 doctors and it’s just you don’t have those ideal key breakout sessions. And then the fact that you guys are willing to spend one on one time is huge. Never seen that before.
REGAN: Yeah. What about your team? Did you let them know that you were going to go through this process? How did that work?
SARINA: Yes, they did. They knew I was involved in something because I would spend some extra time you know at my desk, working on things or at lunch. Time or spending some admin time, or they saw me strategically planning my schedule out to where I would block some admin time during the week if needed. They were proud of me. And then I was able, I haven’t even touched base on this. But I was able to have a leadership meeting in October.
It was about three weeks ago, we met, I shared with them what I had learned on my journey, what my business roadmap is, we set a vision for the practice. We’ve got goals set for 2020. We’re working on the goals still for 2021. We’re not there. 100%. But yeah, so I think they were excited as I was.
REGAN: Wow, that’s incredible. Yeah.
SARINA: It’s more work for them. Because I mean, there were certain tasks that I had to assign. And so they’re busy working on that, actually. I’m very proud of them right now. They are in the middle of a staff meeting right now without me. They’re leading. They are seeking it on their own. And that is huge.
REGAN: Yep. Now you’ve known me, you know that you’ve grown? Yeah, when that happens, that’s awesome.
SARINA: Yep. Left, the reins, go and go kids.
CHAD: So I know on the cheat sheet that I have that you have for kids and the husband and your and your dog and whatnot. And you guys like So? Are you practicing four days a week?
SARINA: I am. Yep. Okay.
CHAD: Yeah. And you do four clinical days a week.
SARINA: You got it.
CHAD: Okay. Well, so what are you looking forward to most about your practice now, now that you have the vision now that you’ve cast with your team, like, here’s what we’re going to be doing and you’re going to be changing it more often than just the traditional annual plan as Victoria kind of explains. So what are you looking forward to most about your practice now?
SARINA: So I guess looking forward to the cheesy, I mean, the real honest answer is helping patients and, and moving forward with that board momentum, helping the families, that sort of thing. I’m also excited to meet other like-minded professionals, right? So I have to get this interdisciplinary team behind or behind me or as a group together. And so that’s what I’m most excited about is getting to know the pediatric EMT, the adult EMT, we’ve got the physical therapists, the chiropractors, orthodontists getting that interdisciplinary team going as well.
REGAN: It is a lot. And it’s and it’s and it’s exciting, because I can see your passion just bursting out. I mean, this is your life work. You’re very passionate about this. Where do you think you would be today if you had not gone through the past eight week program?
SARINA: It’s a great question. Um, for me, I feel like I would still be spinning my wheels, I, you know, there’s a certain level of burnout that comes when you don’t really know where you’re going. You don’t have vision, you don’t have forward momentum. And so I would probably just be spinning my wheels frustrated, burned out, etc. Doing the same old, same old.
REGAN: What, if you could go back in time, then because there are probably doctors out there that may feel that way. Right now, today? If you could go back to Sarina, that’s, you know, right in the midst of COVID? What would you tell yourself?
SARINA: That’s kind of provoking an emotional response for me, the big thing I would tell myself is don’t worry as much. There’s a lot of fear and a lot of worry that I had back in March and April. And knowing that I was able to get, well, we’re not done, but get to this point. And continue that forward momentum. I would have told myself, don’t worry, it’s all going to be it’s all gonna be okay. Keep trucking.
REGAN: That’s wonderful. What advice would you have to doctors that may be feeling that way right now,
SARINA: Continue on with your passion. You know, you love dentistry for a reason. We just have to not be so afraid. And continue to make steps. It may be, you know, one step forward and to step back, but keep that forward momentum going, continue to learn, continue, continue to love what we do. And we’ll get through this together and stay together.
CHAD: You know, I have a lot of respect for the dentists that are moms, and that are, you know, spouses and stuff like that, because that’s not all of them. But you know, the ones that are, they’ve got a lot vying for their attention. Yeah, a male dentist has enough and, you know, a lot of male dentists, you know, strive to be good fathers. It’s not that, but I hate to be sexist about it, but we’re probably not cooking dinner, you know, like, you know, there are those little factors that add up that, you know, that the organization that you have to have must be immaculate, and it does stir your brain towards entropy to chaos, you know, like that, that you’ve got to bring that focus back more than just the average person is all I’m saying.
SARINA: Actually, I’ve never recognized that but you speak very truthfully, Chad. You’re an amazing doctor to be cognizant of male versus female difference. I mean, suppose you’re amazing for recognizing that because I think equally challenging, right, the father role has equal challenges with certain activities. But you’re right, that entropy and that chaotic state that we stay in, it is hard to reel that in. And maybe that’s what I felt during the pandemic or during the shutdown is just so much chaos in my life. And it was nice to get it written down on a clear vision.
CHAD: Have you ever had so many stressors? All at once?
CHAD: Well, I remember, in February, no, early March, maybe I’m lying in bed and feeling a weight on my chest. And I’ve heard that described before, but I was just like, Man, I’m finding it hard to breathe. I’m just like, what’s, what is this about? See, but I’m a guy. And I’m like, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m like, What? What, you know, trying to think, is this physiologic? And? No, because we at that point, we were, I was wondering, are we going to have to close? You know, it was still the question of like, are we freaking gonna seriously have to close over this garbage? And, you know, just being well worried about that, you know, like, do I then fire people like, like, do we, where am I gonna have to close? How am I going to have enough money? I mean, you know, none of this.
Basically, the details came out little by little that. Oh, yeah. The government’s gonna have trillions of dollars for you. Oh, okay. Well, that’ll help. But notice, you didn’t know this in early March. Little, little did I know, too, that, you know, we’d be worried six months later, without a government support, like a no crutch in in September, October, November, for when you’re six months after closing? March, April, May. And for some people like Oregon, June, I lie, you know, so it has been rough, and it was unprecedented. And I feelings that I had really never felt before that. I was just like, Why? Why does it feel like there’s a lack of oxygen in this room?
I’m like, it’s like, oh, it’s just a small panic attack about you know, stuff that you’re not, you know, like, I didn’t feel exacerbated or, or tired about it, where like, I was, you know, like, about to cry or anything like it. Not to say that that was wrong, but I didn’t feel that way. But like, it’s just like, why am I having trouble breathing? It’s like, Well, my own biology was telling me that it’s just like, dude, like, you are weighing a lot on you right now. And it doesn’t know how to tell me that it doesn’t know what to do other than just saying, you know, like, you’re not, you’re not even breathing. Right. You know, it was rough.
SARINA: That is insane. I think a lot of us can echo the same thing. Of course, the panic hack, the fear the unknown. It’s impressive that you recognize it as a panic attack.
CHAD: At first I didn’t, I was like, what’s going on? But, yeah, well see, the problem is, you know, if the average person has $50,000 worth of concern for their salary or something like that, you know, ours, like 50,000, it’s like, Oh, you mean a week or a year? Like, what are you talking about? You know, so like, the stakes are bigger, and we have more people that have mouths to feed that we’re feeding them, and we care about our team? And therefore, the lies on our shoulder? I mean, you know, kind of the buck stops here, right?
SARINA: Absolutely. Yeah. And that relationship that you have with the team goes further, like you said, mouths to feed. You know, every single one of your team members, you know, their spouse, you know, their children, you know, what grades they’re in, you know, what activities they do you know so much about them. So they you love them, right here for them? Yeah. Did you have to go through team turnover through all of this? Or were you able to kind of skate by I was so blessed, you know what they they came through 100% of them came back, they rallied, but it wasn’t easy.
I’m sure you guys all had the same issue. We had went through a team transition November of last year, my office manager retired she had been with me for 13 years. So she had retired. And I hired a new office manager. And then, you know, we just we had grown so much. And then there were two new front desk. And then we’ve grown so much this year that we had another hygienist even she started four down, and I ended up employing her part time then. And then we pulled her into full time right away because we knew we would have some catching up to do so. I was lucky that I continued with everybody.
But I remember in May and there were a lot of tears. You know, the day we had to start back up. I had one pulled me aside. She said she’s not ready and she almost had a panic attack. Yep. One person asked if she could work from home and I’m like, uh, works but yeah. Let’s try this. I my whole motto through it all was lead with love. You know, be as supportive as you can be. You have no answers. They have no answers. You’re trying your best as a leader but even our leaders have no answers. So I told my front desk and like, sure, if you want to work from home, let’s try it while she called the next day and said, I’ll be back.
CHAD: Well, there was a point when, you know, we didn’t know if it was strictly airborne, or if it was, you know, on surfaces or if it was, you know, like droplet or, or what, you know, so the question was like, if am I, you know, do people subconsciously start wondering, just like with AIDS, if I look at them, am I gonna get it, you know, and people’s eyes even start darting down and you don’t want to contact humans and, and the stuff that does to your mind, it’s very impressive that you kept your team because I’ll admit, I think half my team said, see ya, they found another job somewhere else for a buck more an hour, they found, you know, that they wanted to, you know, so there was lots of stuff going on, we had a high turnover, and I thought my people were happy. So shoot, you know, what’s it like, at a place that, you know, like, is bad word?
SARINA: Exactly. But it was prime time for stuff like that, that that turmoil that everybody’s feelings? I’m sorry, it was opportunity. Oh, listen, I’m over it. Like, we it’s all for the better. And I’m even excited for the people that you know, found a job closer to their house, and they got paid better. You know, what, if I’m happy for them, and doing it out of love is just like, move on it? You know, like, cool with me, you know, like, I don’t want to see you go, but at the same time, we’re only allotted a certain amount of time to work with everyone. Right. So, right.
SARINA: And, you know, sometimes the thing that we fear the most, you know, losing that employee, or will I be able to get through is oftentimes not as bad, you know, in reality, so it’s fine. Just let it go and move on.
CHAD: Yeah, I mean, it sounds very stoic. But I even just say, Listen, if, you know, a few years ago, when I had my fire accident and stuff, I was just like, if I would have died, the office would have gone on, you know, like, life goes on, people die. And I mean, I’m not trying to be grave about it. But at the same time, it’s like it, but it’s a reality. Like, it’s just like, make an impact while you’re here. Because when you’re not here, you know, you’ll have an occasional memory with the special people. And that matters. It does. But onward we move we’re humans, and we have to.
CHAD: So I mean, I’m only going to work with my hygienist. I don’t even care if it’s for the next 40 years. 30 years, 20 years, 10 years. I mean, there, there comes a point where it’s only 40 more years. It’s gonna be over like that.
SARINA: I’m impressed. This has been so fun chatting with you about this, because this has highlighted some of the things that are still some of my fears. You know, what if I do have some turnover, you know, if there is another, you know, they always speculate that there’s more shutdowns coming or tightening of the noose like, what if I have to go through this again? And knowing that I’ll be okay, is the majority of my response these days?
REGAN: Yep. Wow, Serena, you are an absolute inspiration. I think fear is fueled by the unknown. And you making the commitment because it is a commitment to learning see is one thing, but implementing it is an entirely different thing. And I think that steps missed a lot. So your dedication and commitment to facing the unknown, and not letting fear gobble you up really inspires all of us on this call. And I’m sure our listeners as well. So parting notes for you. What are you most excited about going forward?
SARINA: I am excited to get my airway practice started up and and get that moving forward. Of course, I’ve got this huge journey ahead with the modules that I’m learning from and just the experts that have paved the way for me. So I don’t want to reinvent the wheel again. I want to continue to learn from these people and continue on and change the lives of many of the families that I treat. Unbelievable.
REGAN: Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Sarina. It has been a pleasure.
SARINA: Well, thank you guys. And it was so wonderful to meet you, Chad.
CHAD: Yeah, you as well. I’m really looking forward to seeing you on Thursday. Let’s wrap this up on video.
REGAN: Okay, sounds good.
CHAD: All right. Have a good rest of the day. And thanks for our listeners for listening to our early November session of everyday practices.