Breaking the Silence: Dentistry, Mental Illness, and the Path to Authentic Living with Dr. Maggie Augustyn


Podcast Summary

In this podcast transcript, Shawn Zajas and Dr. Maggie Augustyn engage in a profound conversation about dentistry, mental health, authenticity, and personal growth. They discuss their struggles and the transformative power of sharing their stories with others. 

Maggie opens up about her experiences with mental illness and the challenges she faced in finding her identity and purpose. She talks about her journey of self-discovery, including her passion for writing and painting. Writing became her outlet for processing her life experiences and connecting with others who could relate to her struggles. 

Shawn acknowledges the societal pressure to appear “normal” and how it can hinder individuals from expressing their true feelings. He emphasizes the importance of supportive communities in dentistry and the need for individuals to reach out and connect with others who can offer understanding and encouragement. They mention various organizations and communities in dentistry that provide a space for dentists to come together and support each other. 

The conversation also delves into the challenges of comparison and self-worth. Both Shawn and Maggie share their experiences of comparing themselves to others and the detrimental effects it can have on mental well-being. They encourage listeners to embrace their uniqueness and not measure themselves against external standards. Shawn advises Maggie not to compare herself to others in terms of technical skills or delivery when speaking, but to focus on aligning her message with her heart and making an impact from a place of authenticity. 

Maggie shares her upcoming speaking engagements and writing projects. She discusses her talks on the destructive nature of comparison, the importance of celebrating achievements, and the challenges of finding balance amidst the constant drive to accomplish more. She expresses her passion for writing and her desire to write a book, highlighting the power of storytelling and the impact it can have on others. 

They touch on the philosophical aspects of life, consciousness, and the quest for meaning. Maggie reflects on her addiction to learning about the universe, consciousness, and the exploration of ideas beyond the surface of existence. She identifies herself as a philosopher in this sense, constantly seeking answers and understanding. 

Shawn concludes the conversation by expressing his admiration for Maggie’s courage and resilience. He assures her of his support and offers to help her with speaking engagements and writing endeavors. He emphasizes the value of her voice in dentistry and encourages her to continue sharing her message. 

In closing, the conversation reminds listeners that they are not alone in their struggles and that there are communities and resources available for support. It emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s journey, finding joy in the present moment, and appreciating the beauty that arises from overcoming challenges. The conversation between Shawn and Maggie serves as an inspiring reminder that vulnerability, authenticity, and connection have the power to transform lives and create positive change. 

Podcast Transcript

Shawn Zajas  00:00 

So I am just so excited today because I have the honor of interviewing Dr. Maggie Augusten. And honestly, when I met you, Maggie, I had no idea what you were known for. I didn’t know the impact you were making. I just met someone that looked at me with honesty and transparency. And there was just a connection. And of course, you somehow thought I look like cameras. But before we get into any of that, let me just welcome you. Thank you so much for being part of the show today. 


Maggie Augustyn  00:35 

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. Thank you for reaching out. And I really do appreciate connecting with you. One more time. 


Shawn Zajas  00:49 

Okay, so I don’t know. It actually did just freeze for like five seconds. So 


Maggie Augustyn  00:54 

yes, I froze. And you know what, hold on a second. Because I need to, I want to be able to put my this computer on Do Not Disturb because that’s really annoying when? 


Shawn Zajas  01:12 

It’s a no, no. Okay, so hopefully, it doesn’t happen. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again. But if it does, it’s not a big deal. So, Maggie, one of the things Sorry, I shouldn’t even call you Maggie. I should call you doctor. 


Maggie Augustyn  01:24 

No, no, no, please. Maggie is perfectly fine. That’s, that’s who I am. Unless I’m working inside your mouth. Yeah, it is. It’s Maggie. 


Shawn Zajas  01:31 

So what fascinates me, and why I even have this podcast is because I want to know, what is it about people’s mindsets and belief sets that even gives them that permission to pioneer positive change. You know, being a dentist is more than enough, being a hygienist or an office manager is more than enough. But for some of us, it’s just not who we are just that thing, we need to do something else. And I see the way that you write articles, I see what you get up and you’re leading, you’re onstage, and you are making such a positive change in dentistry. Did you know this was always going to be your story or when you were little, you just thought hey, I’m going to get a degree, I’m going to be a great dentist. And, and that’s enough. 


Maggie Augustyn  02:17 

Wow, you you really put me in a light that I definitely don’t see myself in. And thank you for that. So it’s interesting. I immigrated to this country when I was in seventh grade and started eighth grade here, okay. And at the end of eighth grade, I did really well in learning English, English as a second language. And my teacher put me on a on this stage, which I had never been on ever before. And to explain to other ESL teachers, what it was like for me to learn language or English at the speed that I did, okay. And I got a sense of high from being on stage and talking to people, I was nervous as anything, I didn’t really know how to speak English quite well, not as well as I do now. But there was there was this feedback loop that I think began in that moment, and, and my dad told me, he was incredibly proud of me. And that always stuck with me. And then my sister got married a few years ago, and she asked me to speak. And, and I did. And again, the same thing happened, where my dad’s like, wow, and my dad is a very hard person to impress. He’s like, you really have a talent for speaking in front of people. And I thought, well, you know, this was really fun. But no, none of it, none of it was ever planned. And it just, it happened very organically, and it continues to happen. And I really, honestly, I don’t have plans with it. And I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but I have a sense of restlessness. And I have an incredible thirst to learn and to grow and to be a better person tomorrow. And my my personal goal, my personal mission, okay, that I asked the universe to help me fulfill is that however, alone, I’ve had been growing up or running my business or learning to be a dentist, I never want anybody to feel that alone, ever, ever. And that’s what drives me. 


Shawn Zajas  04:25 

I love that because one of the things I share with people is that it’s in the moments of adversity, or challenge, that if you actually just yield to it, you can find some gold in that struggle. That can not just transform your life, but can be something that then you can use to transform others lives. But we’re so uncomfortable in the midst of that challenge, in the midst of that adversity, in the midst of that trauma. And we can either get really bitter by those challenges. or we can get better, and then step up and lead. And that’s exactly what I see you doing. But it’s fascinating to me that this seems like it’s all been happening. I don’t know. So over the last, what, 24 months, 36 months that this, this platform has emerged? 


Maggie Augustyn  05:15 

Yeah. So in 2020, and January of 2020, I published an article called dentistry made me hate people in dentistry today. And that was really probably the inception of this entire side hustle of this and that, but it’s my purpose. It’s my drive. And I’ll tell you, I struggle very, very much because I love clinical dentistry. I am high working on a tooth inside a mouth, doing an extraction, placing an implant, I love it, I can’t get enough of it. But I do find my purpose, my true purpose that comes from my heart that comes from my soul. I find that in writing, and in talking to people and getting to know them, and then listening to their story, and then making sure that they’re heard, and they feel relevant, and they feel important, and they feel like they matter. And they feel like they’re not alone. 


Shawn Zajas  06:13 

So to me, it seems like it’s this fusion of like everything that you’ve experienced in your life, that’s finally aligning. I was reading some of your writings. And I was like, wow, Maggie has this uncanny, transparency, authenticity. But yet, I also feel like she’s a philosopher. Like, I don’t know if anyone’s ever called you that before because there’s this this deep sense of your intellect. And you’re also like this artist, I don’t know, there’s just this. It’s beautiful to behold. And I’ve been accused of flattery before, and I always have to set the record straight. I love honoring people, it’s not flattery. I grew up with a brother and sister, they were 13 months older than me, they’re twins. They’re still healthy and amazing. And they were just gifted and talented at everything. Like literally, they were just they’re both models, popular. academics, athletics, everything in my parents still somehow loved me in a way that made me feel special. So I celebrate people’s strengths. And that’s where I bring my gifts to share where I genuinely love seeing people’s strengths. I love seeing people operate in the way that they’re meant to where they can just shine. And it’s so neat seeing you because your your light just keeps getting brighter. But let’s go let’s go back. When did you know you wanted to be a dentist? What was it something like really early on? Or how did you stumble into dentistry. 


Maggie Augustyn  07:48 

I fell into it. I don’t have a romantic story for that. I I wanted to be a scientist, my dad is a scientist. He’s a PhD. He’s an organic chemist. And I loved science, science drove me when I was in college, I was a complete geek and nerd. And all I wanted was to learn more molecular biology and Immunology. And however, you know, this was 25 years ago, things were a little different. And when I talked to my dad about being a scientist, there was a sense of discouragement in that because women had not come far along in that. And in order for me to really be a scientist and make a difference, I would have to give up many other things including motherhood, which I don’t know that I was prepared to do. And then what layered on top of that, and became evident in my later years of of college is that I have a mood disorder. My providers hate it when I when I call it a disease but I have a mental disorder which prevents me from kind of living in a straight line, I’m constantly pushed into darkness and have to overcome it and, and so that complicated things, whereas I couldn’t just take a straight line and maybe become a scientist because my overall mental health probably would not permit me to deal with the ups and lows that is involved with being a scientist. Medicine was an option. Sometimes I regret not being a doctor. Interesting thing. I did not choose to take the MCAT because I hate I hated physics. And physics was on the MCAT and it was not on the DHT when I went into dental school and I got accepted to dental school I didn’t know what a root canal was. I didn’t know what a bridge was. I didn’t know what a deep cleaning was. I knew nothing. I just walked into dental school having been accepted based on what I had written. And they didn’t even have interviews when the grades and in the day at school. So I don’t have a romantic story. In terms of why I became a dentist I kind of just fell into it. I love science and I love I still do love working with my hands. And it just seemed like it was going to be a great career path for me as well. actually thinking that I could do more I could be a mom and, you know, drive my own career the way that I would have wanted to. 


Shawn Zajas  10:08 

Okay, so I’m really fascinated and I don’t mean to sound like, insensitive about this, but like, Isn’t dentistry more up and down than the route of a scientist? Like, I feel like I’ve heard about the suicide rates and the struggles in dentistry. My father in law, he’s a scientist, he works on, you know, vaccines and immunology and everything. And I, I see the stress that’s on, you know, him and his wife. They’re both in that area, you know, but I don’t I don’t know. I just feel like dentistry is equally as hard. Were you shocked when you realize like dentistry just sucks sometimes. 


Maggie Augustyn  10:47 

Oh, my God, dentistry is unforgiving. Absolutely unforgiving. For a human being that is a perfectionist that appears. I mean, that profession appears to attract us. It truly is unforgiving. We judge ourselves every single step of the way. Every filling every root canal. Every patient interaction, we somehow put ourselves into a loop where we use that to judge who we are and how good of a human we are. So yeah, so dentistry is unforgiving? I don’t think my dad knew that at it. At the time when he gave me that advice. I didn’t know that at the time. Certainly, I thought you just kind of worked on tooth on teeth and placed some fillings. I mean, I had no idea was going to be it is it is it is very challenging. Yes. 


Shawn Zajas  11:32 

So when did you discover this diagnosis? 


Maggie Augustyn  11:37 

The diagnosis 


Shawn Zajas  11:39 

of oh, sorry, of what you’re saying this mental disease? 


Maggie Augustyn  11:42 

Oh. So again, interesting, the first time that I had thoughts of not wanting to live, I was very, very young, I might have been 10 years old. And I’ve never talked about this publicly. But the moment that I understood what suicide was. I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you. The moment as a human being as a child, when I understood what suicide was. It was it became an option. In my life, it was something that could be an answer. And I was maybe 10. When I when I learned that. And since then it’s just been a fight. It’s just been a fight at keeping that darkness away. So I went undiagnosed. I mean, I grew up in Poland, where things like that weren’t talked about. And I sincerely thought that every child had those thoughts. I didn’t talk to anybody about it. But I really thought that everybody felt the same way that I did. And so I had some issues towards the end of high school, I had an eating disorder got a little bit of help for that. But really, my breakdown that led to a hospitalization happened in my third year of dental school where the pressure, applying to dental school, taking the DHT finishing all my coursework, working with a recommendation committee, it got to be too much. And, you know, the rug got pulled from under me and I just no longer could handle my life and ended up going to the hospital to be submitted voluntarily, for three days to be put on a three day hold, which that’s just another book that needs to be written because that was really quite a traumatic experience. And, and I came out and I maybe went to, like a day camp for people that were dealing with depression suicidality for about three months, and returned back to school and finished and graduated college on time. That was one of the most difficult times in my life. But so I guess I would say that, really the proper diagnosis and treatment began and towards a college. 


Shawn Zajas  14:02 

And I could understand why is a 10 year old. If this is what you know, and it’s your normal. You have no idea that someone else isn’t just thinking the same thoughts. Like this is just kind of what is normal to you. Right? So it wasn’t till later on that you’re probably thinking, oh my gosh, sorry, no one else feels this. Wait, no one else feels this impending darkness that keeps trying to draw them in. Now, I mean, I actually have not read the book. But as you’re sharing this, I just keep thinking about that title of the book. I’ve read a little bit the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene. Brown. 


Maggie Augustyn  14:39 

Absolutely. Yes. 


Shawn Zajas  14:40 

Like I as crazy as it is. It’s like Maggie, you are here in dentistry for a reason. And I mean, not to ruin the punch line but like you You didn’t give in to this suicidality you’re here. You are here right now. And that is such a gift that all the areas where you have struggled and overcome, can now be this, this gift that you get to give to other people. This is what I’ve learned, this is how I overcame. And who knows how many other people might be on the verge of something horrible. And they need to hear this message. There are so many books inside of you. And I love that you’re a writer, I mean, that that’s just so when did you realize you’re a writer? Have you always been? Like, did you journal a lot as a kid? 


Maggie Augustyn  15:33 

No. So when I was in college, I was in an honors program, and I was put on probation because I wasn’t writing well. And so I had to meet with a professor every Tuesday and Thursday for an entire semester to improve my writing skills. And I take a tremendous amount of pride in in how far I’ve come in, in learning how to write. I had a friend in college not to make this podcast so dark, but he had attempted suicide, and I was talking to another friend about it. And she said, What a coward. And again, this is something that in that moment, I was dealing with very much. And so I wrote an article about having to fight against yourself not to die. And I wrote it knowing my own experience, but I wrote it about him. And I gave it to our publication at Benedictine University, which is why I went to college. And without me knowing they ended up entering into contests and at one second place in Illinois. And so I think that kind of started that idea. Okay, well, maybe I don’t suck as a writer. And this is a way that I have of processing. And then when I wrote the article, many, many years later demonstrate made me hate people. It For Me writing is a way of processing what is going on in my life. And it just happens to be in a way where people can relate to it and understand it because they themselves are going through something similar. 


Shawn Zajas  17:03 

Have you always had that ability to just have, I guess, have that courage to share your story in such an open way? 


Maggie Augustyn  17:11 

God? No, no, I remember, I was in dental school. And I accidentally, I was adjusting a model and I accidentally stabbed myself in my hand. And I have to go across the street to the hospital to get stitches to the ER, and a colleague who went with me. And so when during the intake, they said, Well, you know, you got to tell me who you are, you got to tell me what medications you’re taking. And I was taking antidepressants, and I asked my colleague to leave the room, because I was so ashamed of letting her or anybody know that I was depressed. And it took me many, many, many years took me decades, it was in my 40s, probably before, I openly admitted to anybody that I had this, the actual thoughts of suicidality my entire life. So no, I, I, I hit it as best as I could, for most of my life, and I continue to do so. And I think people that struggle with mental disorders do the same thing. People expect us to be a certain way. Like, you know, I saw my dad, and again, I’m going through darkness, and he, you know, he looks at me, he’s like, but you just You seem so normal. Like looking at you, nobody would be able to tell that you’re struggling with this. Right? Because I have had to pretend that I’m not for the last 45 years. 30 years, however many years, so. Yeah, I mean, I talk about it openly. But you know, I gotta go and be with a patient whether or not I’m having those stats or not, right. So I gotta go and pretend like I’m not. So it’s still a cycle that continues. 


Shawn Zajas  18:57 

I’m just like, I’m just fascinated, because I get the sense, based off of your dad based off of talking to you. By the way, for our listeners, I don’t know your dad. I just mean like what I’ve heard about him in this episode, that it was almost probably easy also for you to hide behind the giftings and the excellence that you had, and because you were still high achieving. It’s like, well, people think well, Maggie is doing great. Like she’s climbing the ladder of what we would recognize is someone that’s healthy and whole. She’s being applauded, because she’s smart, she’s capable, but it doesn’t mean behind the eyes and on the inside. You’re not coping with the these like demons so to speak. Right. 


Maggie Augustyn  19:44 

And the caveat of that is also how dare you have those thoughts when you are achieving when you are succeeding? What in the world is wrong with you? How could you possibly not want to live when you have the most perfect life? That that kind of 


Shawn Zajas  19:59 

adds you adds to the fact that he was you could a hide behind it and be get tormented by the fact that you shouldn’t feel this way. Because you, you know, yeah, man. So that’s just like on both sides, this assault coming at you. And then I just wonder Maggie because in dentistry, I’m imagining I was just talking to a good friend of mine, Dr. Allison House, who I podcast with separately, about how she was saying, like, you know, she’s a female dentist that got thrust into a very male dominated dentistry at the time. And in that same exact like, type of dentistry like, the male ego, it was all like, how are you doing? I’m crushing it, like, I’m doing great. It was not a very, we’re very open about our struggles. It’s like, No, there isn’t struggles, like, you know, as a dentist, you are successful. And you’re playing in this like, male dominated space. I’m just saying, Did that make it even more challenging for authenticity, for courage to be open? And 


Maggie Augustyn  21:02 

very much so I’d had mentors, mentors I’ve had I’d had, I suppose I don’t know if you can even call them male role models. I’d had male dentist in my life. That told me everything I was doing was wrong. Don’t you dare go into the room with a patient not wearing a lab coat? What kind of a doctor are you? Even when we built the website that we have right now? My happy When you go to the front page, you cannot tell who’s a dentist and who isn’t? We all look the same. We’re not wearing lab coats. The only distinction is everybody. We’re wearing blue jeans. I think that’s the only distinction. And, you know, this person called me said this is this is dumb. This website is terrible. You can’t tell who the doctor is, unless that’s precisely the point. I’m not better than anybody else. Because I’m a doctor, this is the team of people that is going to take care of you. So yes, there is that battle still, of living in this male dominated masculine energy type field, but it’s changing. And it’s there’s beauty in watching that change, however small it is, and being a part of beginning that change and keeping other people accountable for that, Jim, there’s so many incredible male dentists out there who support women in dentistry, and they want us to succeed. And that’s the beauty that’s been that’s been generated. But But yes, it was an uphill battle. For the first, you know, decade, decade and a half of my life fortunately, now, those people are no longer part of my people. I choose not to surround myself, with dentists that think that way. I surround myself with people that choose me that uplift me that celebrate me. 


Shawn Zajas  23:06 

So you said that this wasn’t a ways, I don’t know, a courage that you walked in with being open with just being transparent. What was either like a belief set or a mindset shift that helps you all of a sudden realize like, I can, I can be me, I can own my my skin, I can own my story. And I don’t need to have shame associated with it. I 


Maggie Augustyn  23:31 

always talk about having people around you that support you and having and having people help you. And I, my life was difficult. My career was difficult working was difficult. I was running a HTML publication, office, patients interactions were leading to burnout, there’s just too much and then at the end of all, I broke my leg and ended up having cancer and after the cancer, I woke up and I’m like, I’m not going back to that life. There’s no way I’d rather not have a job. I’d rather live in a tent and go back to that. And somehow I wrote an article called then all life coaches not for suckers anymore. And I described there my story of meeting my life coach, which again, was kismet, it was just kind of fell into it. And my conversations with her her name is Lonnie grass. My conversations with her led me to believe that I was worth living the kind of life that fulfilled me. I didn’t have to pretend to be the person that everybody else was telling me to be. And so she swung those doors open. In making it’s a once you become authentic, right once you become living the life and as a person that you are, it’s really hard to go back. You know you there’s so much love lightness and joy in it so much lightness, that it’s just impossible to go backwards. And I’ll tell you, I mean, I do have a lot of people criticizing me, for out how open I am. This, this is dirty laundry that you’re airing, you shouldn’t be talking about this, you should only be talking about the good. But I think at the end, the end of the day, again, part of the reason why I share is for my own process. But part of the reason the bigger reason share junk coming to find out is I am not the only one that feels this way. And if we all knew that we were in it together, right? If we just stopped pretending that our practices are incredibly successful, and we have the best teams and we have the best patients and our crown margins are perfect on every restoration, I think burnout would certainly be a different story than it is today. 


Shawn Zajas  26:09 

Your message and your voice is so liberating. It’s empowering. It’s inspiring. And for those that would want to silence, subdue, or water it down, it’s like they’re probably well meaning. But thank God you don’t listen to them, Maggie. Because what yeah, like your, your message is so needed in dentistry. Like the more I find out about the dark side of dentistry, the more I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have thought this. But like, people are humans, just like I’m a human. I struggle in business to keep believing when I’m trying to get traction in an eye with an idea or a business. And at times, I feel foolish because it hasn’t taken off yet. And been as successful as like Mark Zuckerberg, you know, you compare yourself right with with the crazy stories. And you, I don’t know that that’s how I’m wired. It’s like I find ways to I don’t judge myself in ways that I don’t measure up. And then I’m always finding myself lacking. And that’s not a healthy, that’s not healthy self image. That’s not healthy identity. That doesn’t get me to be who I need to be. And my vision is very similar to yours, where I see everybody needing to like link arms. And in this beautiful, like synergy of people coming together to make dentistry better. Like we need everyone to be at their best. We need people to be fit that role that only they can fit. No one else can be Maggie, like, it’s it’s you. And you’re doing a great job. And I’m so thankful for that. So it seems like you’ve really known that you are capable writer. And now it seems like you’re finding yourself more on the stage and speaking. Where Where are you going from here? Like, I’m really curious, what do you think the next 510 years looks like for you, as this agent of change? 


Maggie Augustyn  28:13 

Winning, I wake up, not every morning, about four days out of the week, the week, get ready, I go to work really early, and I meditate. And I ask the universe, God, whatever you call your higher power, to put me where I belong, so that I can help the most people. I sincerely don’t know, there were times that I had ideas, you know, maybe I’ll work for another five years. So my practice, then start speaking, but I am like you, for example. I mean, there are some people that I kind of came up with, you know, some and some have become these incredible speakers. And I compare myself to them. And I’m like holy cow, like, look at her winning an award look at her winning an award. And here I am. And I am just like I’ve had three, three speaking engagements this year, right? And then, so then I had to calm down from that, and I needed to put things in perspective. I love my job. I am a clinician. I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going to happen with this. I do know that I will keep writing. I do know that if I am asked to speak I will continue speaking. They will continue being there for my patients. And I think the percentages of how much I do what are going to change over time. One of my greatest dreams is to write a book. I don’t know what’s going to be in that book. I don’t know if it’ll be my life story. I don’t know if it’ll be more specific to dentistry and constantly having thoughts about what I could write about it. I mean, I think writing is just I think it is my greatest passion. But I am open. I am open to being led in whatever direction I need to be at the same time understanding Knowing that the darkness that I have around me, will hinder. And will throw me for a loop wherever it is that I’m meant to be, I know I’m going to have to work that much harder, because I’m going to have to get around the darkness, and it’s going to take me longer to get there. And you know, and it’s, and it’s okay. It’s it’s just this is the life that I have been given this is the life that I am eternally grateful for experiencing this is, these are the moments that I am trying to understand and overcome. And the darkness lends itself to light. And I would never experience joy if it wasn’t for the sadness, although those are some of the difficult things to keep in perspective, when that dark cloud is over you. But you know, all in all, and like I said, I am going through a dark time right now. But I, I am so grateful for this moment. And that’s what I tried to focus on, I am just open to experiencing life as a human being, and inviting others to feel freedom from whatever is bringing their minds down, knowing that we truly are together and you do not have to experiment, experience those moments alone. 


Shawn Zajas  31:30 

That deserves a pause like 100% You aren’t alone in you don’t have to stay alone. And dentistry is a really interesting industry. But there’s beautiful communities, there are beautiful communities in dentistry. And if people don’t know where they are, it’s like, reach out to Maggie. Like, you know, we were even talking about off camera just about, you know, productive dentist Academy PDA and that that community, like there’s so many life giving, supportive and encouraging communities. And I just going to speak for myself, but like, I want to know when you write that book, because I, I want to, to read the book, I like it, and I don’t think it’s just one. But also, I do want you to know any way that I can help you. With what I’ve learned or resources that I have, for you speaking or writing, just please let me know, I’m 100% like in the Dr. Maggie fan club. And I just genuinely mean that because I know how difficult dentistry can be. I know how refreshing though, a cup of cold water is in the message that you have is that refreshing? Human, relatable. Oh my gosh, someone gets me, someone gets my struggle. And someone’s telling me that in the midst of my struggle, there’s hope, you know, and what I would, what I would say to you about speaking, is don’t ever measure yourself compared to someone else. When it comes to the technical side of the professional, you know, the tonality and the delivery. 


Maggie Augustyn  33:11 

If you connect to your heart in you 


Shawn Zajas  33:16 

align your message to that 1,000% You are going to move people and drive impact. Even if you stumble over your words, even if you don’t matter haven’t mastered yet, the techniques of it. You belong on the stage simply because of the life that you’ve lived in the way that you’ve overcome. Sorry, this isn’t normal, I can’t say I always just go off like that. It’s just that I have such a clear picture of the struggle. And I’m just so honored at the way that you have over come. And that tension you talk about with that, that like looming darkness. And I see the way that you appreciate your you’re grateful you’ve accepted like all the different ways in which you’re trying to find the best ways to overcome. I don’t know one of the ways I just described like, my, my struggles is that I need to learn how to dance and that tension of them. You know, to still be able to be free to be me and being me is like joy, and play. And almost like fun. Like that’s one of the things that makes me come alive when I play and when I get to be on podcast and interview people like you to me this is like playtime. I just come alive. 


Maggie Augustyn  34:32 

I can see that in you. 


Shawn Zajas  34:35 

I love what makes humans different. And I can so appreciate Maggie the little that I know about your story, again, the giftings that you have and how those giftings have been, they’ve opened up doors for you and at the same exact time they’ve mocked you. Like, right like you are so gifted you you know. Um, so what would you want to bring attention to? That you’re working on? Right now, or maybe it’s an event that you’re going to go into now keep in mind, this episode will launch June 7, so it needs to be something after that. 


Maggie Augustyn  35:12 

I am speaking at the AEGD. In July, with a talk called lie to me the destructive nature of comparison, it is one of my favorite things to talk about, about how we make up stories about ourselves and how it’s the thing that you talked about yourself, we just, we just come up with this impossible way of measuring. And we feel like we’re never good enough. And, and so I talk about the science behind it and why it’s happening. And then later, and then I’m going to the nacho boost camp, which I’m very excited about. And at that one, I’m going to be speaking about the article that I recently published, which is called I’ve arrived from $100 in the bank to generational wealth in less than three years. And that article has been circulated quite a bit. And I that might be the reason why you ended up reaching out to me, I don’t know. But that was not what I thought I was going to be known for. Like, I thought that it’ll be something entirely different would have been publicized. And then the third talk that I have this year is for do dentists, intrapreneur woman, which is an incredible organization of women in dentistry. And that one is called enough with the humble. And it talks about how we just simply don’t celebrate enough by constantly. By constantly focusing on how we don’t measure up, we create circuits in our brain that do not allow us to feel the positive feedback of all that of all the good that we have created. And then, you know, just constantly writing for dentistry today, and ultimately, for moments. So those are, those are some of the things that I’m working on. Yeah, one day somewhere in there. I’d like to write a book and my life coach and islanding grass are working on a podcast that we’re hoping to launch sometime this year called untangle me. So it’s just constantly a ton of stuff on my plate. And it’s funny because I don’t know if you feel that way too. And I don’t know how many other listeners feel that way it feels like the more things land on our plate, the more we feel needed. You know, if I have to be all things to all people the night that that must mean that I have some value some worth. That’s something that I’m personally working on to I got to I got to gain my value my worth Brent, something other than over overstepping my plate. 


Shawn Zajas  37:54 

That is, again, fascinating. But again, something you wrote about how you struggle with being idle. Like there’s this incessant drive. And it probably is because you are ambitious, you are excellent. And there’s so many things that you can do with this short amount of time that we’re all given. But at the same exact time. How do you go extreme in a countercultural way and just be not toward an aim, but just be and being you knowing that you’re enough without what you’re doing right without this output because you can create wonderful output. You know, you know how to write an amazing article, you know how to do great dentistry, you know, how to inspire dentists, you know how to lead. And yet, you’re enough just being when you’re there in nature, you know, I saw I don’t know what post it was this beautiful picture, like the mountains, and there you are, I don’t know, what the journal or something. And it was just like, oh, and I find myself when I’m trying to be still, in my mind. I’m trying to connect to something, some something efficient or productive that I’m doing and being like, my mind needs to know what you’re, you’re somehow getting ahead by doing this. And it’s like, just, like, be quiet. Like, 


Maggie Augustyn  39:14 

I’m just being 


Shawn Zajas  39:16 

right now. And entering into some sort of rest for my soul. And I don’t have to figure out why this is beneficial. I don’t have to figure out why this is productive, or why I’m getting ahead right now, you know, so I don’t know maybe maybe that encourages you, Maggie, do you see yourself as an artist? 


Maggie Augustyn  39:34 

Um, I don’t know that. You know, I do paint. I have from from when I was from when I was young, I do create art. I guess I’d never thought about it beyond that. But writing is my art as well. Yes. So I suppose I do. I am a little wacky, a little Crazy, like an 


Shawn Zajas  40:03 

  1. That’s what I’m saying, I see you as that creative as that artist. And again, maybe in the later stages of your life leaning more into even that, like philosopher, maybe that sounds weird, but I’m just saying I can see the way that you’re making sense of the world in a way that you ask questions a lot of people don’t ask,


Maggie Augustyn  40:23 

I think, yeah, I think incessantly it everything that you’re saying, I want to have a return on investment on every single thought in my head. Right? It that’s kind of exactly what you’re saying. That’s what prevents us from being it’s like, wait, I have three seconds. Let me let me write down my to do list. But yeah, I am addicted to listening to books that try to explain the universe to try to explain consciousness. Do deprivation, chamber tank therapy, I, I am addicted to all of those things that lie outside of the skin. In that, and so I suppose that makes me philosopher but that also throws me for a loop because here I am. And I’m like, Wait, do I pay attention to the actual life? Or do I pay attention to where my consciousness is coming from? Like, here’s another thing that’s just going to mess me up. So um, so I you know, when you say philosopher, I that is something that I very much connect to. 


Shawn Zajas  41:37 

Maggie, I really mean this. Like, I think there’s probably a nother episode in the future, just because there’s so much and there’s not enough time. But I do want to close with this question. So Maggie of today, is walking past 18 year old Maggie. And it’s just really brief, but you have one sentiment that you can express to her. What is that? 


Maggie Augustyn  42:05 

This is really hard. I wish you would have given me this question. Three days ago. 


Shawn Zajas  42:12 

No philosopher knew is like, I’m not I can’t I can’t arrive at what that truth is. It’s too big. Okay. So just say you’re gonna walk by her again in a day. But right now you just have a moment. 


Maggie Augustyn  42:26 

Sure. So, you know, thinking about where I was at the age of 18. And how lost I was and how, you know, my mental illness was, was really starting to rear its ugly head, I think I would have tried to convince myself that you can step away from the darkness. You know, find comfort in the uncomfortable moment, because there’s going to be more of them. And that’s okay. But if you learn to get through the uncomfortable moments, if you will learn to get through the difficult moments. It’s going to be that much easier. I’m not saying they’re going to be at those moments aren’t going to be easier. But it’s, it’s just going to put you on an entirely different trajectory. 


Shawn Zajas  43:19 

That is incredibly profound and incredibly beautiful. Thank you. Honestly, it has been an honor. It has been a joy. I see you again, as an innovator, as a leader as someone that’s pioneering positive change in the industry. And again, any way that I can come alongside and help get your message out there, please let me know. But again, thank you so much for joining me today. 


Maggie Augustyn  43:43 

I sincerely appreciate the invitation. It was great connecting with you and you weren’t getting making sure that you’re making them feel appreciated all the time. Thank you, Maggie. Okay, you are 

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