Watch Intro Series

How to Put on a “Happy Face” and Really Mean It – Episode 218


How Do I Get a Podcast?

A Podcast is a like a radio/TV show but can be accessed via the internet any time you want. There are two ways to can get the Dentist Money Show.

  1. Watch/listen to it on our website via a web browser (Safari or Chrome) on your mobile device by visiting our podcast page.
  2. Download it automatically to your phone or tablet each week using one of the following apps.
    • For iPhones or iPads, use the Apple Podcasts app. You can get this app via the App Store (it comes pre-installed on newer devices). Once installed just search for "Dentist Money" and then click the "subscribe" button.
    • For Android phones and tablets, we suggest using the Stitcher app. You can get this app by visiting the Google Play Store. Once installed, search for "Dentist Money" and then click the plus icon (+) to add it to your favorites list.

If you need any help, feel free to contact us for support.


Improving the passion you bring to the office may change your world.

On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Reese interviews Dr. Brian Anderson, founder of the 5,500+ member Facebook group, Orthodontic Pearls. Brian is a popular speaker known for the sincerity he brings to his message of finding positive purpose in your work.

In talking with Reese, he shares how energizing your involvement and fully enjoying how your contributions help people live better can change the way you approach your work. In this show, get into the “flow” with Dr. Brian Anderson. 


Podcast Transcript

Reese Harper:
Hey Dentist Money Show listeners, it’s Reese Harper here. Today I dive into a great interview with Dr. Brian Anderson. Brian and I spend a lot of time talking about his experience growing his practice and building a community for orthodontists around the country called Ortho Pearls. Brian has a lot of insights into practice management, team culture, and just finding the right balance in life that allows you to pursue the practice of your dreams but also live in the present moment and enjoy each day. I really enjoy Brian’s perspective and know that you’ll find a lot of wisdom in a lot of the advice that he shares. Thanks so much for all your support and always tuning in. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.

Announcer:
Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money. Now here’s your host, Reese Harper.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to the Dentist Money Show where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host, Reese Harper, and today I’ve got a really special interview planned for you, someone who I got to know this year pretty well, Dr. Brian Anderson’s here in studio. He’s an orthodontist with a really unique practice and some cool personal history, a side hustle that he’s really built up over the years into something special.

Reese Harper:
For those of you who don’t know about Ortho Pearls, you can check that out on Facebook and kind of see how Brian has been able to balance a really successful practice with also doing some impactful things in the dental community. Today we’re going to be able to explore some of his most valuable lessons that he’s learned over the last handful of years growing his practice and Ortho Pearls. Brian, thanks for coming into the studio, man.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Well, good to be here, man. Thanks for having me.

Reese Harper:
It’s been a while of me wanting to get you here, and I’m glad we have a chance to do it today. You’re a busy man.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
You know what I love though? You invited me here just to chat, and I love that you said, “Hey man, let’s go, let’s do a podcast right now.”

Reese Harper:
Had to knock it out.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
You know what? It made me think like, “That’s what life’s all about,” is don’t get me wrong, preparation is super important, like it’s really important to be prepared, but sometimes you just have to go, and you just have to do something.

Reese Harper:
The most authentic content is usually just ready to go.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Well, it’s overcoming the inertia. As an orthodontist, I’ll go to a conference. I’ll learn about something, and I’ll think, “Wow, that’s so cool. I really want to implement that,” or a financial thing. If you tell me, “Hey Brian, you should do X, Y or Z,” man, I really want to do that. Then finding the time or the will or I don’t know, just the comfort level to say, “You know what? I’m actually going to do this.”

Reese Harper:
Knock it out.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Actually, I love that you just said, “Hey man, let’s just record one right now.”

Reese Harper:
You weren’t planning on it.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Dude, I think that’s a really cool thing. I think that’s awesome.

Reese Harper:
Well, I want people to start out by hearing a little bit about your background. Tell us about undergrad, tell us about graduate school, tell us about the residency, postdoc. I just want to hear a little bit about that.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah, grew up here and went down south to BYU.

Reese Harper:
For your undergrad?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
For undergrad, yeah.

Reese Harper:
Cool. What’d you study undergrad?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I initially was studying finance.

Reese Harper:
I knew I liked you. I studied music for my undergrad, and then I did finance for graduate school.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I love it, man.

Reese Harper:
We both went totally different directions.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I love it. Well, so my idea was I knew that I wanted to be an orthodontist.

Reese Harper:
Cool. How’d you know that?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
When I was like 15 years old, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I had braces when I was a teenager, and my dad’s an ear, nose, and throat physician who’s retired now. When I was younger, like maybe in elementary and junior high, I thought, “Oh, I want to go into medicine,” because I had just idolized my dad. I respect him a lot. I thought there was something noble about helping people and restoring people to health and that kind of thing. Then I got braces when I was a teenager, and it’s actually in the practice that I’m now a co-owner in. The original orthodontist has retired, but I’m an owner in that practice now.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I just remember having just sort of this different feel that hey, this is healthcare. We’re helping people, but it was this different feel. It just felt more inviting. It was more interesting. I loved getting out of school to be honest with you.

Reese Harper:
Totally.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
In junior high when they pulled me out of school for my appointment, I was like, “Dude, score. This is awesome.”

Reese Harper:
I’m curious, like I’ve always wondered this. I mean I ask this to a lot of dentists and to orthodontists. How much did money ever play into the factor? When you were younger, money wasn’t part of the equation probably then.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Not so much, not so much.

Reese Harper:
When did you start noticing it? When did you start thinking like, “Well, I could make a good living doing this too”?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It was definitely when I was in high school that I knew that orthodontists-

Reese Harper:
Did well?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
… and dentists tended to do well. At the time, I really had no clue how well. It was kind of like, “They seem comfortable.” It’s a career that seems relatively stable. There’s a demand for the services.

Reese Harper:
Just seemed logical, it was a part of the equation.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right, it was a part of the equation, but at that point, it definitely wasn’t-

Reese Harper:
Like the main driver?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
… the central thing, yeah.

Reese Harper:
In the undergrad, finance undergrad, you’re like, “This might actually help connect these dots.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
That was the idea. The idea was hey, I want to do orthodontics. I want to be a business owner. I didn’t want to just be like a salaried associate and understanding finance and business. There were of course classes on entrepreneurship and things like that that I felt like that’s going to be really helpful. I do have to confess that was my initial major, and then as I looked at things to do on my pre-reqs, I thought, “Dude, this is going to take forever, man. I’m going to be in school way too long.” I switched my major to biology, and I completed the business minor. I finished in biology, but I had a business minor.

Reese Harper:
Just didn’t want to end up with like 300 undergrad credits. You’re like, “No, I’ve got to simplify this.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Dude, you got to move on to the next thing.

Reese Harper:
Got to get it done. It seemed cool until you started going to school, and then you’re like, “This takes a long time. I just got to get out of here. Move on.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I think I lasted like one year with that major, and I was like, “Okay, we’re going to change that.” I ended up studying biology and like I said, minored in business.

Reese Harper:
For those of you who are not in the studio, Brian’s, he’s one of those people that’s really ripped. He’s strong. He won’t fight you because he’s super nice. He works out a lot, good-looking guy.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Not ripped, more bulky.

Reese Harper:
Bulky, all right, 10-4. We’ll take that.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I don’t have the diet to be ripped.

Reese Harper:
All right.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I’ll just own that right now.

Reese Harper:
That’s one thing, you can’t out workout a bad diet, can you?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
No, I’m not shredded, but I do like to lift weights, but I also like my cheeseburgers.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, dude, it’s a balance. You lift weights so you can have one once in a while.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
That’s okay, that’s okay.

Reese Harper:
No shame in that. What about after? What about postdoctorate work?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I went to University of Minnesota. That was like a match program. That was the program that I liked the most, so I felt really fortunate to be able to match there.

Reese Harper:
Cool.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
That was a two-year program, and most residencies are two-and-a-half years or three years, and I just really liked the program director. The program chair is Brent Larson. He just finished as the AAO president. He finished his term in May of this year, so 2019. He was the one that organized the AAO meeting in Los Angeles in 2019 and in May. One of the most bright guys you’ll ever meet, so down to earth too, and very pragmatic. The thing that I loved about him is he wasn’t dogmatic. I think in dentistry and orthodontics in particular, we’re trying to move to more evidence-based dentistry, more evidence-based orthodontics, but a lot of it is an art.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Because there’s a lot of art, people tend to be very dogmatic. They kind of choose gurus to follow, and they almost become disciples of certain doctrines or ways of practicing. Brent was just really, like I said, really smart. He kind of wanted us exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking. He even had people come in that were sort of practicing in a way, like for TMD issues, so temporomandibular disorder issues. Their practice was based around orthodontics is going to fix patients’ TMD issues.

Reese Harper:
That’s interesting.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
The research doesn’t really support that.

Reese Harper:
Support that, at least yet.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I mean, of course, there are bite issues like occlusion issues that may contribute, but he wanted us to have exposure to that way of thinking, right?

Reese Harper:
Great, it’s great.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
He was good. He didn’t hide things. He wanted us to be able to think and be able to form conclusions and see what was out there.

Ryan Isaac:
Hey Matt, what do you like to drink or snack on when we do our webinars every month?

Matt Mulcock:
That’s a good question. I’m usually hitting a Red Bull, but it’s hard because it’s an evening webinar.

Ryan Isaac:
These evening webinars taking place 6:30 PM Mountain Standard Time.

Matt Mulcock:
Mountain Time.

Ryan Isaac:
Once a month.

Matt Mulcock:
Where do you find it?

Ryan Isaac:
Well, if you’d like to find the webinar or you’d like to register for it, you go to dentistadvisors.com/webinar or just go to the website and click Webinars under the Education tab.

Matt Mulcock:
It’s a good time.

Ryan Isaac:
It’s a great time. What kind of things do we cover in our webinar, Matt?

Matt Mulcock:
Each month, we’re going to hit an element, right, so it’s going to be some component of your financial life. We’re going to dig a little bit deeper than we would like on the Dentist Money show, right. We get to drop picture. There’s live polls. You can ask questions.

Ryan Isaac:
It’s a great time.

Matt Mulcock:
It’s a good time.

Ryan Isaac:
Well, we’d love to see in attendance at one of our fantastic webinars. Just go to dentistadvisors.com. Sign up today for the next one. Thank you very much.

Reese Harper:
Well, let’s go into some of the thoughts and ideas I asked you to think through on some of the biggest issues that you’ve learned in your time as a practice owner. We’ll just kind of throw this in there, you did start one of the more influential Facebook groups for orthodontists called Ortho Pearls. You guys have an annual event, the MOCP event. It’s the Mother of Pearls Conference. This year it was in Scottsdale.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
California.

Reese Harper:
Oh, it’s in California. It was in Southern California, Newport, right?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Yup, [crosstalk 00:10:47] Newport.

Reese Harper:
This year it was in Newport. I should know because we were there. Shows how much I’ve been traveling.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It was warm weather.

Reese Harper:
It was warm.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It was warm weather.

Reese Harper:
It was like Scottsdale, right?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It was a resort.

Reese Harper:
Me and Ryan have been joking about that lately. I was in an airport the other day, and I was on a plane, right, and I didn’t know where I was at.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Where am I?

Reese Harper:
He’s like, “Where are you?” I’m like, “I literally don’t know right now. I think I’m in Arizona. I’m not sure.” Anyway, it’s funny. Then next year, that conference is going to be in Minneapolis.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Minneapolis, yes.

Reese Harper:
You’ve had to do a lot to get that going and build a practice, and you’ve continued. Have you dropped all your associate days? Remind me if you’re done on all your associate days now.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Yeah, so I still go out to Elko.

Reese Harper:
You still go out to Elko.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I still go to Elko.

Reese Harper:
You’re still grinding away. See, that’s what I like. I was hoping you hadn’t.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I love it there. I mean, I honestly like I love the relationships there, and I’m now treating parents of the kids. The kids are all out of treatment. I’ve been in there six-and-a-half years. I really enjoyed doing that. I’ve enjoyed going there.

Reese Harper:
Do you like the drive every once in a while?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I love the drive.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, man.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I have a self-driving car, and so I honestly get stuff done.

Reese Harper:
Pop a podcast in, pop an Audible book in.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I do.

Reese Harper:
Do some work, email, text.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I can do some Ortho Pearl stuff on the drive.

Reese Harper:
It’s like your quietest time of your life.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It’s not bad. I do not mind the drive at all.

Reese Harper:
Well, if we looked back at all this experience, I want to hit on a few things that you feel like are your biggest takeaways. What are some of the things that have helped you kind of carve out success in your career? Right now, your practice is doing really well. You guys are expanding. Since the time that you’ve joined, I mean the practice is obviously a lot larger now and continues to grow, but you’ve done Ortho Pearls. I don’t know how many members now of that group.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
5,500, somewhere.

Reese Harper:
You’re almost 6,000 now. The country only has just north of 10,000 orthodontists. You’ve got like half the market listening to your content. I just want to kind of have you share some of your thoughts that I think we’ll apply both to GPs and specialists across the board.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Well, first of all, I think just having a passion for what you do is so important. I absolutely love orthodontics. I think about orthodontics. It reminds me of a time when I was in residency, and one of my business partners in Ortho Pearls is Chris Teeters, and he and I went to residency together. A couple times a year, you go to a meeting where you get to go as a whole group, and it’s usually a continuing education type meeting. That’s kind of like your vacation in residency because you’re poor. You don’t have any money.

Reese Harper:
Exactly.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Especially as a non-resident of the state, so from Utah in Minnesota, when you have vacation time, you go back home to visit family. Vacations are few and far between. We would go to these conferences, and we’d be out having dinner, whatever, as a group. My friend Chris Teeters and I would be talking about orthodontics at dinner on “vacation.” I remember one of my buddies, Shawn, who is still a really good friend, but he’s like, “Dude, guys, we’re out of the clinic right now.

Reese Harper:
Don’t you want to do something besides talk about …

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Why are you guys talking about this?” We’re like, “Dude, we just love it. It’s just awesome. It’s fascinating.” Number one, I’m kind of a nerd, and I like what I do. I think that’s huge and having the energy to propel you to do things in your field that are maybe extracurricular type things like Orthodontic Pearls.

Reese Harper:
What do you think stops some people? Because I think it’s easy to say, “You got to love what you do, and you got to embrace this thing,” but you’re naturally that way. I think a lot of people that know me really well would say, “Dude.” Last week, I paused on the side of the road and pulled over to record a Facebook Live video to answer a question in our Facebook group about how to calculate average fee waivers on the expense ratios on mutual funds because someone asked.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Well, you kind of feel that need, don’t you? You feel that need.

Reese Harper:
Dude, really?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
You want to answer that question.

Reese Harper:
It was making me smile. It was interesting. I was like, “This is cool.” What if somebody is listening and they’re like, “I’m in the middle here”?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Sure, sure.

Reese Harper:
I’ve got some thoughts on this, but I want you to respond to that. What if I’m not naturally interested and I’m kind of just here functionally? Because obviously it’s better to enjoy what you’re doing and really embrace it. Your patients are going to notice. Your career’s going to be better. How do I move the needle a little bit if I’m not loving it?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I think probably number one is to develop some really good relationships in your industry. I think having people that you look forward to seeing when you go to meetings is huge. That kind of gets you to the meeting, number one, is having some relationships, having something to look forward to and kind of having a buddy to sort of follow up with after the meeting, that you can be like, “Hey, I thought this was really cool. I’m implementing this. What are you doing?” Right?

Reese Harper:
Find relationships that kind of help you get outside of your own little sphere, which can be kind of lonely and not get a lot of feedback and socialize but more get inspired, you’re saying.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Yeah, right. I think that’s one thing. Another thing I think is trying to find purpose in what you do that’s not clinical.

Reese Harper:
Looking past this like, “I put braces on people.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right, right.

Reese Harper:
Right?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Having a sense of purpose. I can’t remember, I saw some podcast or something in the last several years ago that talked about what keeps a team or employees motivated. Of course, pay is one of those things, but another one is having a sense of purpose. I think beyond clinical, looking at what we do, having interactions with patients, having interactions with our team members. How can we put more purpose into those interactions? How can we drive that? As an orthodontist, I try and connect with my patients in a meaningful way. I mean, I view this as like you know what? Here’s an opportunity.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Rather than just diving right into the clinical and sometimes we’re kind of running behind and my assistant, who’s trying to be efficient, will sort of talk over me at the beginning to the point where I’m just saying, “Hey man. Jack, how are you doing today, man? How’s it going?” She’ll want to start talking about what wires are in. I’m like, “Hold on a second. No, how are you doing, man? How’s school going?”

Reese Harper:
Let’s connect.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Just to connect. Even if it’s just pretty basic stuff, but where you actually care about it, where it’s actually energizing to you, right, where you’re trying to connect in that way where you’re sharing positive energy. I think that’s another thing is trying to find some purpose in what you do other than just like, “This is drudgery, the business, doing this MOD prep for a dentist or putting this crown for me. Ugh, I got to fix this broken bracket,” or whatever.

Reese Harper:
I think it’s important to keep that in mind. Sometimes you are the most positive. You might be the most positive interaction someone has had all day.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
That whole day.

Reese Harper:
Maybe it could me one of the most positive interactions people have had. Think about the monotony of some of the work that dentists and orthodontists do, right? Patients know that that work is difficult.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right.

Reese Harper:
They know that it’s a grind.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right.

Reese Harper:
You’re bent over. You’re moving from person to person. You’re getting spit on. People generally don’t come with a positive attitude to the appointment because it’s a scary, intimidating place to be. If you can turn that kind of interaction or that kind of context into a positive experience for them that makes them go, “Man, even in all of this challenging, kind of crazy stuff that these guys have to do, I’m still getting really positive energy back from them, like almost more than anyone I’m interacting with.”

Reese Harper:
That does send a very deep message, I think, to people about how to carry yourself and the power that positive energy does have on other people’s lives because it’s a difficult place to have positive energy. It’s not an easy job, especially as an orthodontist, when you’re moving 100 miles an hour in between patients. It can be really difficult. I think that’s really good.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
One thing on that, it made me think, one thing that I’ve really enjoyed trying to tap into is being vulnerable in those very mundane interactions because we have many of those per day. “Hey, how are you doing? How was school?” Right? If that becomes routine, you lose the sense of purpose. When you’re vulnerable in that and you actually care, you actually are trying to get to know someone better and it’s not just for business and it’s not just to be courteous, it’s because you actually care. Like you mentioned, you’re trying to actually make that person feel seen, make that person feel important.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It kind of changes. The way you approach that sort of changes and being vulnerable in your communication. Last week or a couple weeks ago, it was Thanksgiving, and I talked with our team and just said, “Hey, this is Thanksgiving week. I would really like to see if we can thank every single patient this week for being a patient of ours and the family.” I tried to do that myself and just connecting and just saying at the end of each appointment, connecting with the patient or the parent, right, there and just say, “Hey, you know what? We really appreciate you guys. We love that you guys chose us as your orthodontic provider. Thank you so much for being one of our patients. We’re really happy that you’re here.”

Reese Harper:
That’s cool.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Some of them, I felt like, were kind of a little bit surprised like, “Oh, well, yeah. You’re welcome,” right?

Reese Harper:
Dude, on one other highlighted note that might be more obvious to people, I’m going to show you this Facebook post I did a couple of days ago. You might’ve seen it.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Yes, I saw that, dude. I like this Facebook post. I loved it.

Reese Harper:
This is me, it’s my overbite. When I was an adult, I started noticing some crowding in my teeth. My bite was off, and I started noticing how that was changing, and I’ve never really been a person that’s been super self-conscious, but I started noticing that my bite, it was causing me to have a little lack of confidence especially when I was speaking more. I was starting to get to a situation where I mean, I was in dentistry as a financial advisor, and all these dentists are looking at me. It was really interesting. One of my closest friends, Bryan Horsley, did me the huge honor of helping straighten out my bite and straighten my teeth. It was just cool to see him and a good combination of people, Christian Nielsen, a really talented oral surgeon, Bryan, my brother-in-law who placed my implant.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I know Bryan and Christian, both really amazing guys.

Reese Harper:
Talented people. The confidence level that I came away with after that experience was really positive, and it really affected my life in a way that few people really have. I mean because it affects how your self-perception in a significant way and your confidence level and how you’re going to be able to execute your entire job. Everyone’s job requires some level. If you can think about it, if every person in the U.S. could actually have that opportunity, if the cost of orthodontics, like imagine the opportunity that everyone has to really make orthodontic care more accessible to even more people through improving your practice efficiencies, driving down your cost structure, improving your capacity to where you can deliver more care to more people.

Reese Harper:
In the past, orthodontics has really been one of those things that was a premium service for a really select group of people who could afford it, and I think it’s a cool opportunity to look out in the future, whether you’re a GP, whether you’re an endodontist, a pediatric dentist, you’re having a huge influence on these procedures both some functional and some cosmetic. Both have a lot of value, right?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Oh, huge. By the way, I’ve always actually thought your smile is pretty killer. I’m serious, man. I’ve always thought, “Dude, you got a great looking smile.” Bryan and Christian, if you’re out there …

Reese Harper:
Shout out.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
… you guys did great, man.

Reese Harper:
That’s good.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
You guys did great.

Reese Harper:
Well, in the practice over the last four to five years, and you’ve had to deal with Ortho Pearls and expanding that. You’ve had to deal with work-life balance issues. I want to know just some of the top two or three takeaways. You say like, “This is something I’ve learned. I’ve learned this the hard way,” or “I’ve learned this the easy way, and I just happened to learn it easy.” You might be that guy.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
A lot of it’s come the hard way, and a lot of it has come the hard way. First of all, I would say mindset. Learning about mindset has been huge. I read the book by Carol Dweck called Mindset. She talks about growth mindset and fixed mindset, kind of similar to abundance mindset and scarcity mindset but not quite the same. The take home is that we each have elements of growth mindset and fixed mindset within us. There’s no one person that has all growth mindset and all fixed mindset.

Reese Harper:
Could you define those for us a little bit? What does fixed mindset mean? What’s growth mindset mean?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Yeah, so growth mindset is essentially when you view a challenge, something that’s difficult, as an opportunity to grow and to learn, and that excites you. You get energy from that problem, right? Rather than the fixed mindset would view a challenging task or a trial or some kind of difficulty as measuring their ability, and they almost shut down because they think, “Well gosh, if I don’t succeed here, then that says something about my character. That says something about my intelligence. That says something about me as a person that I failed. I’m a failure. I’m not smart. I’m not good.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Those challenges are rather than being able to say, “Gosh, you know what? I took this test. Man, I got a C on it. What can I do better there? It hurts. I’m not happy about it. It kind of stings. It sucks, but what can I do the next time so I can do better?” or, “Hey, you know what? Maybe I’m learning that I’m not that great at chemistry, and that’s okay. I’ll view this as an opportunity to grow in some other way. I’ll go down some other different path.” The fixed mindset would say, “Yeah, man, I got a bad grade. I’m just not that smart. I’m not that smart. What am I doing wasting my time? I’m never going to amount to anything. Frankly, I don’t even want to try that hard in the next one because if I try really hard and then I get a C again, that says something about me.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It’s almost like, “I’d rather just kind of coast, and then I can at least have an excuse.” Fixed mindset’s more about excuses. I can at least have an excuse say, “Hey, I got a C. Dude, I didn’t even try. I didn’t even try. If I wanted to, I could’ve done well, but I didn’t try, so I didn’t.” It’s all about excuses. Mindset’s been huge.

Reese Harper:
Do you feel like you’ve had to break through that yourself?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Oh, yeah.

Reese Harper:
Do you feel like you’ve always had a growth mindset?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
No.

Reese Harper:
How did you learn? I guess, at what point did you feel like that was something you started having to work on?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I remember in dental school, I wanted to be an orthodontist, and so I studied really hard. I knew that was challenging and stuff, but I’ve always been kind of a bookworm. I kind of like studying. I’ve always done well in school. I remember being so anxious about achieving. Every grade was so important to me because every grade was going to be put in the books, and that was going to determine if I could be an orthodontist, right?

Reese Harper:
Totally.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
There was so much pressure, and I remember one of my friends telling me, he said, “You know, Brian, my father-in-law,” he’s like a urologist, I think, “my father-in-law says, ‘Perfection is often the enemy of good.'” That really struck me because I started viewing perfectionism as not necessarily a good trait at that point. Previously, I had thought, “I am a perfectionist. I’m really good at art.” I’d been a gallery-featured sculptor before dental school. In high school, I was decent at sports. The kind of things that I had put my mind to, I had tended to do fairly well at.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I viewed that because I’m a perfectionist, I care so much about my craft, about what I do that I invest so much into it, and the results are great. I realized that that was not a healthy mindset. That put a lot of anxiety on me. I had had a couple periods in undergrad and one in dental school where I went into the doctor because at that point, I didn’t even know really what depression and anxiety was. I went in because I thought, “I think I’m having heart palpitations or something.” I thought something was wrong with my heart.

Reese Harper:
Heart, yeah.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right? He looked at me. He did a quick examination, and my blood pressure was fine. My pulse was normal. He said, “Your heart’s healthy. Let me talk to you about some other things.” All of a sudden, I thought, “Dude, he thinks I maybe have some anxiety or something.” I had never considered it.

Reese Harper:
Considered that.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I had never considered it. I realized that being a perfectionist, while that can help you achieve results and stuff, there is a healthy relationship with that, and there’s an unhealthy one. I had previously had an unhealthy relationship. There was that breakthrough in dental school where I thought, “You know what? I have to manage this better where I can get the most out of those tendencies but not have those things drag me down.” You asked me, “Have you always been that way?” I remember when I read the book, Mindset, she talked about the author, Carol Dweck, I think she was talking about herself.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It’s been a while since I read the book, but she mentioned how she was really good at spelling when she was in junior high or high school or something. She was the best in her school, and she got invited to spelling bees at like the regional level or at the state level or something. She rejected it. She said no. She said, “The reason I said no is because I was already viewed as the best, and exposing myself to a higher level of competition, I felt like rather than rising to the occasion, it would only expose me to you’re not the best anymore. You can fail.” There was a potential failure, and so she rejected those things.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
It made me think of when I was growing up, one of my best buddies, Brad Curtis and I, we were on the tennis team together. We played a lot of tennis individually, and I tended to beat him. I think I had beaten him every single time I had ever played him. He would always still want to play, and he’d want to play a match. I remember admiring him for it. I thought, “Dude, even though I beat him every time, he wants to get better. He still wants to play.” He was totally cool about it. He never threw his racquet. He didn’t pout about it. He actually just wanted to get better.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I remember for me thinking, “Well, if I play him, like if I win, that doesn’t help me because I’ve already won every time, and if I lose, then now I have a marred record.” That was fixed mindset, dude. That was fixed mindset, like definition.

Reese Harper:
Fixed mindset versus growth mindset, it’s related to some other concepts in finance that we talk about a lot. One of those is we talk about pressure that you feel in your life as it relates to risks that you have to take, both in your practice and your personal finances. Sometimes the fixed mindset type of financial investor or person will just be so conservative that they don’t want to hire an associate. They don’t want to put their money in an investment that might cause it to have volatility or a lot of movement. They won’t invest in the stock market. Let’s say they invest in CDs or the bond market.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Because there’s an opportunity for failure.

Reese Harper:
There’s just this opportunity for uncertainty.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right.

Reese Harper:
Right? The ambiguity they have to live with is uncomfortable. They don’t want to live in this like-

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Scary.

Reese Harper:
… it’s a scary place to go because you have certainty if you just play it safe.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Right.

Reese Harper:
Right? I think there is a point in your life where you don’t want to push yourself. I’ve pushed myself often too hard too fast. That can be also dangerous when you’re not being tolerant of your own capacity or your own risk level. Right? I think that the opposite of that is when you just don’t ever push yourself enough. I think there’s a happy medium there that each person has to find on where they’re at on the spectrum of growth and learning how to push yourself a little further than you were the previous year as opposed to just defending the status quo.

Reese Harper:
Booking a free consultation is super easy, so why haven’t you don’t it yet? Just call 833-DDS-PLAN or go to dentistadvisors.com and click Book a Free Consultation. You can find a time on your calendar that works best for you, so why hesitate? We can help you take control of your financial future and find out how by going to dentistadvisors.com today.

Reese Harper:
I think it’s a critical topic and something that people should. This has been a valuable discussion around that. What’s something else that kind of comes to mind, another topic that you feel like has been an important one for you to learn over the last few years of doing all these different things?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I think authenticity and vulnerability, being able to talk about things. I just recently saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Have you seen it?

Reese Harper:
Yeah, dude.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Have you seen it?

Reese Harper:
Tom Hanks, yeah.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Dude, it’s so good, so good.

Reese Harper:
Me and my wife and my in-laws took all of the nieces and nephews and grandkids because I thought it would be a little bit more like good for the kids.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
[crosstalk 00:33:45] happy.

Reese Harper:
They were like, “What the crap?” It’s way too serious and it was way too slow. I dug it because I’m way into art.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Did you cry?

Reese Harper:
It was solid. I don’t know. I got emotional for sure.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I had some tears roll down the cheeks.

Reese Harper:
Powerful, definitely.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I had some tears roll the cheeks. In that movie, he says something like, “Whatever is human is mentionable, and whatever is mentionable is manageable.” I’ve learned this has been a year for me where there’s been a lot of growth and there have been some challenges, and I feel like understanding about mindset was really good because I’m viewing that as an opportunity to be better in ways that I haven’t been and also to be able to talk about things that are challenging. I’ve realized that there are some things that I’m not very good at, and I’m okay to say that. Maybe I didn’t even know that I was not very good at them.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
In relationships or in managing a team, there are some things that I want to be better at, that I want to improve in, but also to be okay with being who you are. I think in our culture here, it’s a very strong culture, which is great. I love that, but there tend to be sort of ways of thinking of how you should be or how you should do things, and if you do things a little differently, how’s that going to look or how are people going to think about you? I’ve learned to just be more okay with who I am and not worry so much about what people are going to think, not in a way that’s flippant or not in a way that’s like, “I don’t care about you or what you think,” but more in a way that’s like, “You know what? I care about what you think, but I have to be true to who I am.”

Dr. Brian Anderson:
In the end, if a relationship doesn’t work or if chemistry doesn’t work or if energies don’t work, whether it’s somebody in your office not the right team member or whether it’s a partnership or whatever it is, that’s a part of life for all of us. I think that we too often feel like we don’t want to discuss those hard things or if we’ve had failures that those are things that are embarrassing. You know what? I’ve learned like, dude, we all have those things, man. It’s okay. We just need to be better. We need to learn to be better. Learn where we’re weak, and learn where we can improve. When you are vulnerable, you establish deeper connections.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I feel like you and I in a relatively short time have become close, good friends because we’ve been able to have some really, I think, meaningful conversations, and as you mentioned, that builds trust. I would say everyone should find people that they can really trust with those difficult things, whether that’s a counselor, whether that’s a friend, a parent or whatever. We’re all starving for connection, and we are all interdependent, like the human race. We need those things, and I think in our culture, we’ve become so individualistic about autonomy and self-actualization. I’m reading this book right now called The Second Mountain by David Brooks. He touches on this.

Reese Harper:
That is a great book.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
You read it?

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Way good, way good, but he talks about how our culture is all about climbing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so that you can achieve your best self.

Reese Harper:
Self, yeah.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
He says that he had this awakening that I’m having right now where he says, “Gosh, you do that, and you realize that it’s kind of lonely, and you don’t have the connections that you want.” It’s been really amazing, I would say, over this last year to be able to find those people who can help and who that you can trust, friends, mentors or whatever, and really feel connected in a way that they can help you see things that you can’t see yourself. They can help you do things that you can’t do yourself. That’s really amazing to be able to feel more connected and to be able to acknowledge your own vulnerabilities and your own weaknesses.

Reese Harper:
Well, Brian, it’s been super helpful, man. I appreciate it. Time’s gone by really quickly here, and we’ll have to schedule another one. I just want to thank you for all that you’ve shared, for all that you’re doing in the community. Thanks so much for taking the time. Any parting thoughts do you want to leave with anybody?

Dr. Brian Anderson:
Trust Reese. He’s the man.

Reese Harper:
Well, that’s very generous. I will take that compliment and say thank you very much. You’re a great person.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I’ve loved getting to know you and like I said, building a relationship of trust. What you’ve said about me, having passion and doing side hustles and doing things, I’ve been really impressed with you, the dedication you have to your craft, and the dedication you have to your clients. I personally have felt like you actually care about each individual. It’s not just a spreadsheet. It’s not just numbers. You actually care about what’s happening. That’s rare. I think that’s a pretty special relationship. Thank you.

Reese Harper:
All right, thanks, Brian.

Dr. Brian Anderson:
I appreciate you, I appreciate you.

Reese Harper:
I appreciate it. I look forward to having another great conversation again. Thanks so much. I look forward to talking to all our listeners again soon. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll hear from everyone over the next few weeks. Carry on.

Reese Harper:
Thanks again to Brian today for taking time to put down a great interview. For all of you who want to have your questions answered on one of our upcoming episodes, make sure and go to dentistadvisors.com/group to submit your questions. Also, if you have a personal question you want to get answered by one of our dental-specific advisors, just make sure and schedule a consult on our website at dentistadvisors.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and carry on.

Practice Management, Work Life Balance
Share

Get Our Latest Content

Sign-up to receive email notifications when we publish new articles, podcasts, courses, eGuides, and videos in our education library.

Subscribe Now

Related Resources