Why I Love Hankey Pankey
There are 2 types of people in this world: those that talk the talk, and those that walk the walk.
I’ve met a lot of both types in my life, and I’d be oversimplifying things if I said each person is entirely one or the other type. There certainly were times in my life when I’ve just talked and taken no action to back the bull$#!+ that I was spouting. Heck, I’m probably doing it right now and don’t even know it! And I’m sure there were other times when my actions were right in line with my values and beliefs.
I’ve known some “Pankey Dentists” (and non-Pankey dentists too) that really are just elitist snobs that think that they are better than everyone else, even though they pretend to be something else. These people are just talking the talk because that is not what Pankey is about.
I’ll give you an example of someone who does walk the walk. When I wrote my “10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too” post, a few people astutely cashed in on the buzz. I came across a post on Tao of Dentistry titled, “10 Reasons Why My Patients Love Me.” When I read Dr. Barry Polansky’s post, I was impressed by his ability to add his 2 cents, empathize with me, and critique the situation without judgement. He heard my opinion, acknowledged it, laughed with me, and made a very thoughtful response. In addition to the dentistry, this is what Pankey teaches dentists to do in life and in practice: show kindness and empathy, listen to others, and share his/her expertise without judgement. (It’s a lot of warm fuzzies, you know.) I contacted him to thank him, and I found out that we had actually met several years ago through a friend! And he is the author of a great book called The Art of the Examination.
This is what Pankey is about.
Now I’ll turn to a response I saw on the Spear Education website. Let me preface this by saying that I have heard wonderful things about Spear, and had even thought about attending these courses in the future. This is not a commentary on Spear Education or Mr Manji, the author of the post. I also don’t know what interpersonal skills Spear teaches philosophically, so I can’t comment on whether he is walking the walk or not. I’ll also point out that maybe I’m guilty of reacting defensively to this post the same way “the patients I hate” reacted to my original post. But I’m just sayin’…
This post was titled, “You’ve Gotta Love It,” which I agree is the crux of it all. When I first read the post, I thought, “yes, he gets it!” Then I read it more closely, and noticed some subtleties that I missed the first time around. I can’t imagine the author intended to be smug and judgmental, but somehow, hints of that became apparent to me. He said:
I’m sure her point is that if she didn’t have all these issues with patients, she would love being a dentist.
Did I say that anywhere? How can he be sure that was my point? That was exactly the opposite of my point. My point was the title of his own post… you’ve gotta love it, and I didn’t. His assessment of me would have been much more accurate had he quit at the title. He then goes on to say what he thinks:
you have to start from a mindset of loving what you do, and that is what gives you the motivation to deal with these issues in a positive way. That’s what gives you the patience to deal with the recurring nuisance problems, and that’s what gives you the inspiration and energy to tackle the bigger value-creation issues that we see in her list. If you truly love what you do, these problems are not deal-breakers. Oh, and we can teach you how to do all that and more at Spear Education. Just kidding– I added that last sentence. (Maybe I should specifically say when I am trying to be funny, just to avoid being misunderstood.)
How does he know what I think? He’s making assumptions about what I think based on what he thinks he knows about what I think he should think about me. Huh? (Just kidding, again.) He then goes on to explain that the mindset of a successful dentist should be similar to that of a parent. I’ll let you read about that for yourself, but I’ll just say that it’s a good thing I’m not a parent. I just don’t know how to love, so I constantly tally pros and cons about the people in all of my relationships. (Joking again– sarcasm.)
He finishes it off with:
Any profession worth being a part of is going to come with its own set of challenges, as I suspect this former dentist is going to find with her next endeavor. As I always say, wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
Um… where do I start with this one? And… enter judgement!
He may think this profession is worth being a part of, but I do not– not for me. I respect his passion for his career, and I admire dentists who love what they do. I know it’s hard for them to imagine, but many of us do not love it. He warns me that I will find new challenges in my new career. Wow, I’m so glad to have that heads-up. I hadn’t thought of that before I took 5 years to select a new career. And, since I’m taking myself with me wherever I go, I’m sad to hear that I will be doomed to hate my next career, because how could anyone not love dentistry?
If you hate dentistry, it must be you.
And I will be much too immature to be able to deal with the new set of challenges that follow me because I couldn’t do it in dentistry. Maybe I should have stayed in dentistry because at least they were old challenges and not new ones. And will I not have the self-awareness? Will I just jump from career to career, constantly searching for a getaway from myself ?
Me– defensive and even judgmental myself? Probably.
Him– judgmental and condescending? Definitely.
Now we’re even. Because I’m keeping tally, you know. (I’m kidding again!!!)
You’ve Gotta Laugh at It.