Episode 481: Finding Positivity in the COVID Crank

You know her, you love her — Dr. Jenny Perna is back on the podcast! In this episode, Dr. Perna talks with Kiera about keeping a positive mindset in a variety of ways. A big one for Dr. Perna is fitness, so she discusses how she uses staying active to find that endorphin release each day. That endorphin release can help lead to more positivity with your team. A win-win.

Dr. Perna is a breath of fresh air in this episode; you won’t want to miss it!

Episode resources:

Follow Dr. Perna on Instagram

Listen to episode 261, Associate to Owner, Taking the Leap

Listen to episode 320, Plans Derailed? Here’s What to Do.

Listen to episode 388, 3 Tips to Be a Rockstar Associate

Reach out to Kiera

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent. And I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, schedule filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled over 165 different offices, coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.

0:00:51.1 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners is Kiera. And you guys, one of the best parts about being a podcast host is that you get to bring on the people you wanna talk to, and this is a friend that I'm so jazz to bring back on the podcast. She is one of my favorites. You guys have heard of her, you've seen her, if you have not, get on Instagram and follow her. She's one of my favs, she spoke at our Dental A Team summit last year and was one of the top speakers. She's just a rock star. She's a dentist. She's just like you guys. Her name is Dr. Jenny Purna. Are you today, Jenny?

0:01:18.2 Jenny Purna: I am doing so well. Thank you for having me again. This is always a pleasure talking to you.

0:01:24.1 KD: Girl, any time. I love just your vibe on life, I love that you are a practicing dentist, if you guys didn't hear mine and Jenny's podcast, she talked about how when things don't always go the way planned, that was one of our first ones. You were going to buy a practice and then it didn't quite shake out the way you thought. So I wanna just bring you back on, I wanted to catch up with you, but also, I know life is... We're on COVID times, and you're one of the most positive, optimistic people I know. No matter what's thrown your way, I feel like you always can find the silver lining. So I thought it would be timely to bring you on and just kinda hear some of the impacts of COVID on you, and then also how you and your practice have been kind of pivoting through it. So that's what we're gonna do. But before we start on that, people haven't met you, kinda tell them your yoga dentist online, you do yoga and dentist, kinda just tell people a little bit about you as well.

0:02:13.6 JP: Yeah, absolutely. So love this topic, especially staying positive, I think it's funny what you said about one of our other podcasts was, What do you do when things don't go as planned? And I think we are totally all living in a time right now where we're like, what? Two years of plans, just being kind of up in the air and life feeling up in the air because of the pandemic and everything. But a little bit about me. I am a practicing dentist in Austin, Texas. I am an associate at this moment in time with that fail...

0:02:44.0 KD: Guys, she's only an associate.


0:02:47.9 JP: With the fall practice acquisition that you just mentioned.

0:02:51.7 KD: It's alright. You love your practice. It's great.

0:02:55.1 JP: I do honestly, on that note, basically, to speak a little bit on that, about last year, this time, I didn't get the practice acquisition that I had worked a really long time for. But in that process, I had left a job, so I felt... If I rewind to this time last year, I felt very lost in the world, didn't really... Felt a little misguided and really was kind of down on myself. I remember my fiance and I were driving back from the holidays, and I was very much like, what am I doing with my life? But a year later, I just wanna say, sometimes life throws you those curve balls to open up other avenues of opportunity, and that was basically my 2021. It was the year a bunch of opportunities that came my way, and it was one of my happiest years as a dentist. And I'm very much enjoying my associateship and where I work. And it feels more like a dental home than any other associateship I've had. So on that note to positivity, I just wanna kinda put that message out there that the world's gonna throw a lot of stuff at you, and it's how we navigate it and work through it and grow from it, that's gonna give us the most power. But...

0:04:10.0 JP: Yeah, I've been a practicing dentist for almost seven years. I love dentistry, I love cosmetic dentistry. I do a lot of yoga. That's my other duality. I like staying fit, that's another passion of mine. It's a good release for me. Lots of endorphins. We have a gym in our garage that we named the iron muller, and we're always getting new equipment. My fiance just got this punching bag that has an app, and it's fun, and you just go in there and you get all your frustration out by punching the punching bag. But that's just a little bit about me. I'm a dentist, I'm a yogi, I'm a fitness lover. And I think a lot of my yoga practice has helped me with looking at the positive and turning to my breath and staying focused in the moment rather than stressing about the past or the future.

0:05:07.2 KD: Well, and I love that, and I actually... I'm hoping people are listening and taking note. Because I didn't even plan for the podcast to go this way, this is what I love rifting on the podcast, I love having people that are podcasts gurus, I know you can podcast with me and you can lift and we'll go where we need to go. But realizing that, I think finding positivity through this is a choice, it's not something that just people just wake up with. Like you said, feeling that very lost, I think a lot of people can relate with that. I remember when COVID hit, I posted a picture and it was snow fall. And it was like I was driving and then all of a sudden it was slow down and you could see every little snowflake. And I said that's how I felt my life was. I had all these plans and all these aspirations, and then all of a sudden it was put on complete pause. And then I feel like 2021 was... Put us in a shake machine and we just got shaken up and swirled and tossed in. And like you said, I think we can look at this as life is happening for us, or life is happening to us, and are we just managing what's happening or are we creating what's happening.

0:06:06.3 KD: And I think it's important to definitely own your mind and to determine where way you wanna go. But also I love that you talk about practices that you're doing. You're doing yoga, you are building, I call it mental stamina, you're going to the gym, you're working out. So it's not just like you're hoping and praying that you'll have this positive vibe to it, but you're actually doing things personally and professionally to keep at that. So actually I want you to expand it if you would like... You mentioned that you think a lot of your yoga practice and staying fit has actually helped you keep that more positive mindset, walk me through how. Because a lot of people are like, "Yeah, right. Doing yoga. How is that going to help me? And also, how do I even find time for this? I'm a practicing dentist. I've got family, I've got all these things going on. What are some of the things you found and why do you prioritize that? How does that help you keep positive through the shake-up of who knows what the heck's happening next?

0:06:57.2 JP: Right. Now, and it's something that as you are practicing as a dentist or anyone in life, fitting in fitness can be very challenging and finding those moments to do it can feel overwhelming if you have a lot of other obligations, whether it's work or family, or things that need to be done, but for me, it was something that I've just always prioritized. So I grew up dancing. So throughout my life, I was always very, very active, and that was important to me. And then as I shifted into adulthood and I wasn't dancing at the dance studio anymore, I started to just find different outlets, and it's really the endorphins. It's an endorphin release. It's a dedication. When I'm working out, I don't check my emails, I don't go on social media. Maybe I'll post a picture before or after I'll do a workout and then film something, but it's really a me time kind of thing. I don't take calls, I try not to respond to text messages, although sometimes I do. But it's just a time that I can focus in on myself. And when you're working out, whether it's yoga or going to the gym, lifting weights, running, it's a dedication, and it's persistence, and I think it teaches you those skills of really committing to something, being persistent with it, being consistent.

0:08:25.3 KD: And those skills carry on over into life as well.

0:08:28.7 JP: For sure.

0:08:31.9 KD: Yoga specifically, sometimes, especially if people aren't daily practitioners or anything, or even me who loves to do yoga, and it's not uncomfortable just holding poses in a society where we're like, "Go, go, go, go, go and our attention spans are so low, to actually sit in a class and I hold a pose for a few breaths is mentally straining to many of us. So it teaches us to overcome our minds, and I think that's just working out in general. It's a constant battle, and I feel like everyone has this of your mind telling you to quit and then you telling your mind, "No, no, no, my body can lift that weight. My body can stay in that pose, I just have to overcome that voice inside of my head telling me, "Run, go sit on the couch." Run from the work out. Exit the work out, that's what I meant. Go sit on the couch, go put on some TV, go do something else other than moving your body. But the truth is, and I've always said this, is you'll never regret a workout, but you will regret not doing it.

0:09:45.1 JP: For sure.

0:09:45.4 KD: So even if you go and do five, 10, 15 minutes, that is great. To speak to finding time for it, I...

0:09:55.8 JP: Yeah, I was just say, walk us through your day, Jenny, how do you actually fit this in? 'cause people are like, "Well, how do you fit this in? You want me to work out for how long?" So how do you find time for it?

0:10:06.8 KD: So for a very, very, very long time, I would say years. I have been a morning workout person. So I would wake up super early and I would go either to the gym or... Now, we have a gym at our house, so I'll go into our garage and work out, and that was working for me for a really long time, and I loved it because it was like you couldn't have an excuse after work then, you couldn't get exhausted by the day and then be like, "Absolutely not. I need a just veg out situation." Now, I start my day a little bit earlier at work, so it's a little harder for me to work out in the morning, and so I've shifted to an afternoon, a night work out. I get off of work a little bit earlier. So now, I shifted to a night work out, and I'm really enjoying that. It's gonna probably shift for me, but that's something that's just become ingrained in my day. So we have 24 hours out of the day. How much time do we spend aimlessly scrolling social media? How often do we find ourselves... I call it the tick-tock hole, and I'll be scrolling and my fiance would be like, "Are you in a hole?" I'm like, "I am. Help me get out of this." So taking that time to just say, "Okay, instead of going on social media or watching that fifth episode of a show, I'm binging on Netflix, let me go to the gym or go for a walk or do some yoga and dedicate time to my mental health and my physical health.

0:11:44.2 KD: Have you guys heard, but really, have you heard? And are you the type of person that loves to take a massive action? Well, if you are, I would love to invite you to Dental A Team's virtual summit, April 22nd to 23rd. And yes, right now, guys, it's early bird, that means it's $200 off the normal ticket price. You guys are going to learn how to optimize your practice this year. We know it's been a rough year. People have quit, we've had COVID, we've had changes, so we wanna teach you guys how to optimize within your practice now and execute. Friday is full team, Saturday is all things leadership. So bring your team, get some CE, take massive action. Head on over to the dentalateam.com, coupon code is summitearlybird, and it's valid until March 31st. That's summitearlybird, all one word. And it's valid until March 31st. So guys, head on over. I can't wait to have you take massive action, optimize your practice and execute. Let's make 2022 your best year.

0:12:42.1 KD: And I love that you brought that up because I really do think more than having the time, it's prioritizing it. We all can find time for anything we want. If I were saying, "Hey, if you can get out the store and get everything done, I'm taking you on a cruise to the Caribbean." You would probably find a way to bust a move, get everything done and you could have it done very, very quickly and easily, but yet if I'm a...

0:13:03.8 JP: 100%

0:13:06.6 KD: Hey, if you get everything done, we're gonna go work out, you're like, and I'll take some time. Let me just make these tasks take a little bit longer. So I have a sign up in our front room, I had it in my office for a while and decided just to move it into the living room. And this is Discipline Equals Freedom. And as much as I hated sitting there, it's so powerful because I'm like, Kiera this is a matter of discipline. And like you said, in our physical discipline, if you will, it does translate into our work discipline. People ask me, "Kiera, how are you able to do the podcast, and how are you able to run a team and travel all over the world? We see you everywhere." And I'm like, "Honest to goodness, it's freaking discipline. It is having that schedule dialed in, but more than that of just disciplining my time, it's what kind of a life do I wanna live?" And I think, like you said, that travels into how can I be positive through COVID? Things that come at me. Now, I'm like... My head is like, how do you deal with that? I'm like, "Honestly, it's just called being a business owner." Something bad is gonna happen, things are gonna come my way, people are going to quit, it's just a flavor of business and if I can see it that way, great.

0:14:06.7 KD: But like you said, I actually think a lot of it does come to the physical discipline. If I say, I bought a freaking Apple Watch because my friend challenged me to closing the rings 365 days. And I'm like, "Oh, I'm in." I have not missed a single day. I will not miss a single day. But those things are fun. So how has this helped you? What have you found through this? I would say everybody figure something out, do something for yourself, 10, 15 minutes a day. If you guys wanna take my challenge on, it's almost been a year, I did delete all of my social media apps, and it's shocking, one, how much I would go to find that app just out of habit, and two, how much more time I actually have in my life. I read a lot more, I work out a lot more, I hang out with my family, a lot more. I call people more because I don't have the distraction of social media. So I don't think it has to be forever, but even try it for a week, two weeks and just see how much more time you have in your life.

0:15:00.8 KD: So I'd say for sure that's a tangible. But Jenny, how are you finding... What are some of the ways you're staying positive with your team at the practice? 'cause honestly, I think it's important to rise there are cranky patients that come through, there are cranky people, and as clinicians and people in the dental field, we are taking on all that cranky energy. So what have you found that's working with your team? How are you guys handling it? What are some of the tactics to stay positive through this time that you've found?

0:15:25.5 JP: Well, I think that every situation is gonna be different.

0:15:29.2 KD: Totally.

0:15:30.9 JP: And we're in a very uncharted territory, and we're dealing with or managing with team and our patients for managing a lot of political scientific opinions and emotion and things that maybe we didn't really think we'd be struck with as small businesses and everything, but any time any challenge that I see that arises within a dental practice, the positivity and the leadership, it always stems from the leaders of the practice of how are you handling it and how are you going to communicate to your team and your patients to make everyone feel comfortable? For me, recently, some tools that I've taken on instead of working out in the morning, I still wake up early and I meditate and then I journal. And that has really, really... It's been something I've wanted to do for years, is meditate. And it is so hard to start.

0:16:36.7 JP: But I noticed a very, very, very noticeable shift in how I handled stress, how I had a clearer mindset, I said had. But that was when I started to have, more present tense 'cause I was still doing this practice, but I just have a clearer mindset, things don't bother me as much, stressors don't elicit a reaction as easily. I'm able to breathe and assess and strategize a little quicker at times. And I think that as leaders in the practice, and you and I have spoken about this so many times of anyone's a leader in the practice. So being able to stay calm, cool and collected, and from there, helping, guiding the team is really what we've done, and the practice owner of my office, he's really good at that, he has an open communication with everything.

0:17:36.3 JP: Our team feels very... They feel heard, they feel safe, they feel protected, they understand that their health and well-being is very important to me and the practice owner, and that will always come first if they're ever feeling unsafe. You always want your team to feel safe and protected by the practice. And then when it comes to patients, you're just gonna get the gamut of it. Some people are going to love your protocols, and some people are gonna be POd that they have to wear a mask, and it's just coming down. Everything that I try to do comes down to communication and compassion and listening and understanding and validating when things need to be validated, but also just standing your ground and knowing you're not gonna be everyone's cup of tea. And for me, if a patient decides to leave because they have to wear a mask, that's just... No point in crying over it, you just move on. [chuckle]

0:18:47.7 KD: Yes, I agree. I agree so much. I love that you talked about meditation, because I remember... Gosh, this has been years ago, I was really struggling and my therapist had Kiera you... I would encourage you to start meditating. And I was like, This is ludicrous. I've tried Head Space, I've tried to calm. 10% happier is a new one. The Insight Timer is one. Jenny, do you have one that you're using or just kinda set this one.

0:19:12.8 JP: I went full in for the most boring meditation. [chuckle]

0:19:19.6 KD: Perfect.

0:19:20.9 JP: I just set a timer, I did a little build up. So I started with five or 10 minutes and I just sit in silence. And something that I think... I'm not a meditation guru just yet, I would say. It's still and probably will always be a practice because our minds will race and they'll try to pull us out of the meditation, but what I found is just sitting in silence without distraction and focusing on my breath, I'll do what I call box breathing, or I've heard of it referred to as box breathing, where you breathe in for four seconds, you hold it, and then you breathe out for four seconds and then you hold that and then you just do that. So I'll focus a lot on my breathing and then my mind will try to take me out of a relaxed space. And then I check myself and say, "Jenny, come back in, come to your breath." And I think that practice in itself of mind having racing thoughts or any thoughts, and me being able to pull it back to my breath has been the best for life stressors as well, being able to relate it to life stressors.

0:20:30.3 JP: All the apps that you mentioned, I've heard really, really good things about it, but I just chose to sit in silence and started a five, 10 minutes. Right now, what I try to do is 20 minutes every day and just sit in that silence without anyone being there and set a timer for it. And what I've noticed is that not every day, but some days when that timer goes off, I'm sad. 'cause I am in a very relaxed state. And I'm enjoying the meditation.

0:21:01.0 KD: Sure.

0:21:03.2 JP: So it's a really wonderful practice that so many people utilize and I'm happy I finally did it, but I would just say keep trying anyone out there, just... It's the same thing that we said, dedication, just keep sitting down, keep showing up for yourself and the things that you know are important, and I think meditation and journaling too have been just fantastic.

0:21:25.2 KD: I love that because I also think right now, more than ever with the... I call it the COVID crank. I really do feel like so many of us need to fill our buckets. And I think meditating journaling, that's giving self-care in a way that's very different than what we've done in the past. So I'd say for all of you guys listening, I really love that you talked about meditation because my therapist said it to me really well. She said, "Kiera, we work out our bodies and meditation's like working out our mind." And I feel like so much of what we're experiencing now is actually, like I said, mental stamina versus physical stamina. It's really us figuring this mental game out. So I would say guys, I love what Jenny's brought. Jenny's one of the most positive people I know. She also is one of the most active people I know. Check her out, she's got quite a few really cool workout clothing and shoes that she might be featured in. So check her out. She's kinda all over the place. I love seeing you in those magazines. I'm like, "It's Jenny Purna. Way to go, girl." But the reality is, guys, take these tips, do something for yourself because no one else is going to do it for you, no one else is going to give you that discipline, and I really, really, really love...

0:22:29.8 KD: For me, I love mastery of self, I love where I can say I can sit in silence for five, 10, 15 minutes. No, it's not the point. I'm not having my thoughts race, they will always race, but it's channeling them in more and more, being more mindful of those distractions and those things that try to pull me out and being able to decide How do I wanna react to this versus being reactionary. And so Jenny, I love what you said, I love that you said your team feels safe, you feel heard. Also some of those patients, guys, they're just angry too, and they just needed space and you happen to be in their way today. So I think my takeaways from today are number one, find a workout routine that works for you. If it's five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, check out of social media for that amount of time, also strengthen your mind, really get that mental stamina in play that way you guys are more prepared for the all the world in that comes at you. 'cause then I think you get to choose to live in a beautiful state more than you do to just having people be reactionary to you.

0:23:29.8 KD: So Jenny, I love it. I feel so much empowerment from this. I'm like, alright, got it. I'm gonna try this ramping up my meditation time. I've been doing more guided meditation, but it's been a while since I've done just the silent meditation. So I'm excited. Thanks for spurring me on that way, but any last thoughts you've got, any other things to how to stay positive during these... That could be challenging or opportunity of times. It depends on what you wanna do. You choose your own adventure, but any last thoughts you've got today?

0:23:56.8 JP: I always love talking to you, and I love that the podcast takes kinda its own space and we just talk about the things that we're passionate about. And for me, I hope that I inspire. That's really a passion of mine is to always try to elevate people to their best selves. And I can just share my experiences and what's worked for me, and it's a practice, every day it is a practice to be the best versions of ourselves and we don't always show up as we should or as we want to, and I think the important thing is to continue practicing at it and set those intentions, whether it's working out or meditating or leading a team in a better space. And COVID, no one really predicted this, that it would be here. And I could tell you, I laugh about it. When COVID first hit, I was gonna start planning my wedding and I was like, "There's no way COVID is gonna be here in a year." And now we're two years later. So it's just another thing in life, even though it's on a much, much bigger scale, and it's much more serious than maybe some of our other life challenges, it's just one more thing in life that's gonna challenge us and it's gonna...

0:25:10.4 JP: Like you said, it's giving us an opportunity to grow through it and to be our best selves, and to really look it in the face and see how can I overcome this, how can I keep a strong team? There's challenges with that, there's challenges with hiring right now, there's challenges with team members leaving, there's going to be a bunch of challenges, but anything in life, there's always another side of it, there will be a moment in time where we look back on this. And I think if we can look back and see who we were and how we showed up as people and leaders, that's going to be incredible. So just keep on going, guys. We got it, we've got this. We can get through this and life will hopefully return to some sort of normalcy and our businesses can thrive and everyone can be happy and patients can be happy, and all of that.

0:26:10.3 KD: Agree, I love it, Jenny. And I really just hope you guys take this as... This is an opportunity. There will always be something that comes up always. That's what's called life. Guys, it's not supposed to be roses, and if you can learn to take the roses and the thorns and find the beauty in both, life is magical. So Jenny, thanks for just being here, thanks for being who you are. Guys, if you have not checked her out, check her out on Yogi dentist. Jenny tells, you have so many great dental things out there, you've created manuals, you are just an inspiration. So if people wanna connect with you, how can they connect with you?

0:26:41.8 JP: Probably the easiest is Instagram. I'm pretty good at responding to DMs, my email is on there too. I have a website that kinda tells a little bit more about myself. I do virtual consults on that as well for patients. And then I also have my manuals that I sell there too, but I'm just always trying to challenge myself and continue to grow and think of new entrepreneurial things to do that just light my fire. But yeah, I would say Instagram's probably the easiest space to find me, Yogi_dentist.

0:27:18.2 KD: I love it. Well, Jenny, thank you for just being one of my dearest friends, somebody that I love, we just chatted we're gonna end up living in the same place. I'm committing to that. It's gonna be awesome. Who knows what day? Maybe we'll be 90 year old, but that's fine, we'll still take that. But I just love your goodness. And guys, I really help you take this and you don't just think this is Kiera and Jenny and I can't be them. Bottom line is this is not how I was born. This is not how Jenny was born, this is who we've created ourselves to be. So you can create yourself to be this way as well. And as always, guys, keep going. I'm cheering you on, Jenny's hearing you on and as always, thanks for listening. I'll catch next time on the Dental A Team podcast. And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.



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