Embracing Inner Peace for a Fulfilling Life


Podcast Summary

In this conversation between Shawn Zajas and Vanessa, they delve into Vanessa’s remarkable journey in dentistry and her pivotal role as a mentor and coach in the field. Vanessa candidly shares that she initially worked in general surgery but serendipitously transitioned to dentistry when she was hired by Catherine Belt, a highly regarded figure in dental speaking and consulting. Interestingly, Vanessa admits that she had no prior experience or knowledge of dentistry but was compelled to take on the job due to her admiration for Catherine as an individual. 

Over the course of 22 years, Vanessa absorbed knowledge about speaking and consulting in dentistry through her collaboration with Catherine. As their accomplishments grew, other professionals began taking notice and sought Vanessa’s guidance. Though initially hesitant, Vanessa reluctantly ventured into coaching and teaching others about marketing and speaker development. This unforeseen path ultimately led her to establish the Dental Speaker Institute, an institution dedicated to assisting speakers and consultants in the dental industry. 

Shawn highlights the tremendous impact Vanessa has had on others, revealing that several individuals he has interviewed attribute their growth and success to her influence. Vanessa humbly acknowledges the role of mentors in her own journey and expresses deep gratitude for the opportunities she has been afforded. She specifically mentions Linda Miles, a prominent figure in dental speaking and consulting, who reached out to Vanessa and enlisted her assistance during her transition into retirement. 

Vanessa passionately emphasizes her commitment to helping others and her genuine enjoyment of connecting people. She firmly believes in the power of referrals and views marketing as an integral component of business growth. While initially apprehensive about assuming coaching and marketing roles, Vanessa now wholeheartedly embraces these positions and derives immense fulfillment from witnessing individuals thrive under her guidance. 

Despite the recognition she has garnered as a leader and mentor, Vanessa remains remarkably humble and steadfastly focuses on enhancing her business while providing invaluable education and networking opportunities for others in the dental industry. She treasures the relationships she has cultivated and understands the profound impact she can make through her work. 

Overall, this conversation shines a light on Vanessa’s unexpected journey into dentistry, her unwavering dedication to empowering others, and the transformative influence she has had on numerous professionals in the field. It serves as a testament to the extraordinary power of mentorship and the immeasurable value of supporting others in their personal and professional growth. 

In the second part of the conversation, the speaker shares their personal experiences and beliefs concerning struggles, personal development, and spirituality. They acknowledge that everyone faces challenges and wrestles with negative thoughts but have discovered effective ways to overcome them. One crucial aspect they highlight is the importance of recognizing and intercepting negative thoughts early on, developing habits that prevent them from spiraling out of control. 

The speaker firmly believes that challenges are not roadblocks but rather opportunities for learning and growth. They emphasize the benefits of daily meditation and introspection, finding solace and guidance by turning inward. Additionally, they discuss the profound positive effects of breathwork and cite scientific evidence supporting its transformative benefits. 

Staying connected, centered, and aligned is presented as crucial for fostering innovation and making a positive impact in the world. The speaker encourages listeners to slow down, reconnect with themselves, and trust in a greater purpose. By doing so, individuals can tap into their inner wisdom, unlock their potential, and navigate life’s challenges with resilience and grace. 

In summary, this conversation encompasses Vanessa’s extraordinary journey into dentistry, her unwavering commitment to helping others, and the remarkable influence she has had on professionals in her field. It also touches upon the speaker’s personal experiences with struggles, personal development, and spirituality, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness, meditation, and maintaining alignment to foster personal growth and make a positive impact in the world. 

Podcast Transcript

Vanessa Emerson  00:00

I just say, Screw it. I’m going to try this. I don’t know if it’s going to work out or not. But I feel compelled to do this and when those little voices pop in, that’s what I say.


Shawn Zajas  00:11

The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry great? I could not be more excited, because today I get to interview Vanessa Emerson, Vanessa, you are a dear friend, but I just look up to you, and admire you for so much of what you’re doing in dentistry, including, but not limited to holding amazing events. So I’m going to tee you up in a moment. But before, let me just welcome you and say thank you so much for letting me interview you today.


Vanessa Emerson  01:07

I’m so honored to be honestly I mean, is this whatever he says, But truly, it’s an honor, it’s an honor to be asked. Thank you. Thank you for having me.


Shawn Zajas  01:14

So the reason why I think you’re perfect for this Vanessa, is because I tell people this all the time, I really am excited and really intrigued by all sorts of innovation, you know, clinical innovation, technological innovation, but it’s my belief that everything starts from some sort of a belief set or mindset innovation. First, like there is no clinical innovation without someone actually believing that they can step up that they can pioneer and someone that’s like almost like wild enough to be like why not? Why not me? And you lead, you are onstage you bring people together? You’re a speaker, you’re an author, and you are pioneering positive change? How in the world did you get into dentistry? And get to where you’re at today? And now and you don’t need to handle everything in this one? Because I’m going to have a lot more questions, but just kind of like, I don’t even know like, were you a dental professional at any point in time?


Vanessa Emerson  02:10

No. It was honestly, it was divine intervention. I thought Well, to start there. We got to divine the capital D. But it really was I had worked in general surgery for many years and had my surgeon that I worked with Dr. Hyatt has he not retired for the second time. In this 70s His wife kicked him out of her kitchen the first time around, she said Get back to work. And I figured he probably wasn’t coming back to work again this so I went ahead and looked for other employment. And that’s what I ran across Catherine I tell belt, who probably I would anticipate many in your audience will know Catherine her Lyons speak, programs and she hired me, you know what is so funny. We’re recording this early into June. And that’s actually literally like the week I was hired June 3 of 2001. And everything shifted. For me though I didn’t know what at that time I came out in general surgery where I was lucky enough in a small community to be able to hold them the laparoscope and belly surgeries and help, you know, with all sorts of in office procedures as well as be office manager and do the billing and get patients into the room as like, you know, we’re all the hats and those small offices. And I would still be there. So I came out of that into speaking consulting, dentistry. It’s like, what is that even? What is it though? The reason I wanted to work with Katherine was because I liked her. It wasn’t that I knew anything about dentistry, or speaking and consulting. And so over the last 22 years now, it’s not nuts how fast it goes. I’ve learned a few things about speaking and consulting. A little bit.


Shawn Zajas  03:59

So, June 3 2001, you said, wow, okay. So what I love about this is that you’re basically saying like, you didn’t have to strive or make something happen, you just followed, almost like the way that you are wired or created. And there was something in you that just liked her as a person. So you’re like a people first person, and you were attracted to? I don’t know. I mean, Catherine, it’s so easy to be attracted to her like, she is such an amazing woman. And I did have the pleasure of interviewing her. And she actually spoke highly, incredibly, highly of you. No surprise. So it’s so neat to have such amazing people that all regard each other in such high esteem. So But there you were, you were in dentistry. More on the, you know, administrative coordinate of Yeah.


Vanessa Emerson  04:57

Like, I would get my teeth cleaned. You know, I mean, I felt like that was all I knew about dentistry.


Shawn Zajas  05:02

But I mean, how did you even end up in dentistry? Like to begin with, because I feel like it’s a really strange and glorious field.


Vanessa Emerson  05:11

It really is. And I, I really do believe that it was my dharma. I believe it was life path. I never in a million years would have chosen dentistry. I appreciate so many people that do enjoy working with patients in dentistry, like I worked in total surgery, they were asleep. What worked for them? It’s a whole different thing, right? I just never would have chosen dentistry and then come to find out that the I really think it attracts the very best people in the whole world. Just the biggest like servant minded, big centered, heart centered, wonderful people in dentistry, it’s a great place to be I’m so excited. But I think at the core, what you’re asking me is like, well, how? Why? Like, what, what brought me here? It was yes, when she opened the door there was like, Oh my gosh, I like her. Like, I think this would be a fascinating job. I think I would learn a lot. But I’m just gonna go there. Because I feel like her questions are already going there. I really believe in my gut that it was the right next step for me. For me, you know, not like with some idea of becoming a leader. And it’s so interesting that you call me that because I don’t see myself that way. But I also see that often leaders don’t write because we’re just like out there trying to accomplish certain things. And so I really feel like when I walked away from that first interview, I felt cold I felt pulled to and I didn’t know why. And you know, to continue that story. Katherine and I worked together for about 12 years. And as we got a couple of years into it, we were finding success with getting her book to speak more to get more consulting clients and her colleagues took notice and started asking, well, how are you guys doing that? And so she asked if I would mind sharing with them what we were doing. And that’s really how my business started was just like telling people, here’s how we’d created her speaker packet. And here’s how we’re reaching out to meeting planners. And here’s how we’re finding Dells offices to consult with. And then they would tell me, Well, you know, you should really coach you should really, I’m like, No, I don’t want to be a coach. I don’t want to teach people how to do marketing. Well, you know, that’s where it all went.


Shawn Zajas  07:29

I think that’s I think that’s crazy. Because like, so many of the people that I talked to, I don’t know, Vanessa, they almost feel incomplete. And they have this like incessant drive to somehow get to some mountaintop. And here, I feel like you got pulled. Like, I’m not saying people pulled it. I’m just saying like, yeah, call it God, like, you got, like, brought into that place where you were called, almost like, I don’t know, the light that you’re meant to shine. You were able to shine it. And and I’m sure there were some struggle along the way. And I’m actually going to dig into that. But it also seems like there’s just a lot of grace on on this 22 years.


Vanessa Emerson  08:14

Well, I think to what hasn’t been said that should be said. And I guess so I get makes me think about I get emotional, right? When I start thinking about how lucky was I to be able to work with Katherine. I mean, honestly, because I see her as such a incredible leader and speak in consulting dentistry for gosh, she’s probably over 30 years now in the field. And so I feel like how lucky was I to be able to learn from her. She has so many examples of grace and leadership as well. So I feel like you know, I think we’re, it was just part of what was yet to unfold down the road. I didn’t set out to create dental speaker Institute or, you know, do the different things that we have done through the years. So to help speakers and consultants, it’s just naturally unfolded. And I think that partly that’s because I’m a connector. I some of my, I guess so excited about connecting people. I just I just love it. When you tell me you’re interested in you’re getting in front of more people with your product. It’s like okay, well who can we connect you with? It’s like, it’s just so fun to be able to connect people with people and people solutions.


Shawn Zajas  09:32

So, Vanessa, like I as I’m listening to you now, it’s fascinating because it’s like I’m putting the dots together. Like two people I’ve interviewed already have mentioned you and how you were such a pivotal part of how they got to the platform that they have, how their their influence got maximized and how they were able to level up. And here you are sharing that Catherine was able to do that for you. Like here. There was a mentor, there was someone in your life that was able to like, yes, Vanessa, I see something in you. And I’m able to cultivate and nurture it, and talk about how she was able to raise you up. And then you I mean, yes through through your actual, you know, Institute, but just relationships, one on one. There’s other young women, and I’m sure it’s not just women, but young women that you’ve already raised up that are like, Man, I wouldn’t be here, where I’m at right now, if Vanessa didn’t just believe in me and say, you’ve got this, this is a strength that you have. So I know you’re you don’t know I’m connecting the dots because you don’t know who I’ve talked to. But Vanessa, that is amazing. Like, like, it’s such a legacy for Katherine. It’s almost like in football, there’s coaching trees. You know, there’s like Bill Parcells, and he’s responsible for Bill Belichick, who then is responsible for Nick Saban. And there’s all these like, people are fascinated by who learned from who and how greatness just continues. And in the same exact way, because Katherine and you, you know, had such a great thing going, all of a sudden now your reach and the message and just the way you’re able to elevate and speak in other women’s life. Like, I’m sure you knew that. But I don’t know. How is that just hearing that right now?


Vanessa Emerson  11:14

Yeah, thank you. I know what I want to acknowledge is I feel like Katherine and I are both giving back. Because there were others that came before us that reached down and pulled us off. You know, so when I finally decided, okay, I’ll start coaching. But I don’t really want to teach speakers how to be speakers. I don’t really want to teach them marketing. I want to teach them. I want to be a life coach. I like I I kind of kicked and fought against what obviously had to happen at some point. But I put together an advertisement and put out send out an email. And within an hour, I had received an email back from Lincoln miles. Do you know who Linda Miles is?


Shawn Zajas  11:56

I have also heard her name a few times. And I’ve still not had the pleasure of meeting her. I know she’s not quite as active as she’s been in the past. But I heard she’s like the OG speaking in dentistry.


Vanessa Emerson  12:08

She really is. And, you know, Linda has paved the way and open doors for I would probably guess 1000s not exaggerating. I’m sure. It’s many, many, many, many hundreds of speakers and consultants, because she did come first is so she reached out to me. And it was at the time where she was just starting to get ready to retire. And she said, I’d like to hire you to help me with this transition. And you and I both know, I didn’t know diddly. At that point, I just found out a sign. I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna, I’ll be a coach. I’m really passionate about like philosophy and spirituality and things like that, because I’ve been a student of self development for probably 30 years now. And so I’m like, well, I’ll take some of what I’ve learned with all these different teachers. And I’ll you know, I’ll be a life coach, you know, that was back in the day before, it was really easy to get certainly like, now there’s certifications everywhere. But those years ago, it wasn’t. And so I just kind of shook my head and shook my head like, boy, she’s really helping me out here. And she did and, and Linda would tell people, yeah, Vanessa help, even though we, you know, she opened doors for me by doing that. And I feel that it feels good to help others. It feels real, feels really good. And I just know that there have been so many others that have come before me that have reached out and said, Sure, come on, be a part of this organization. Or let me let me introduce you. You know, one of the best ways we can grow our businesses, no matter what business we’re in, is going to be with referrals. And so those introductions, you know, like right now, Shawn, you’re introducing me to your community, you’re helping me out, you’re connecting me and it’s really not hard to do, we just need to look for opportunities. What I found out along the way is actually I am a marketer, and actually, I love marketing. And instead of kicking and fighting about oh, no, it’s like, too hard to figure out. Eventually, you know, figure some things out and but also recognize that marketing is everywhere. It’s in you telling your kid to eat their vegetables, you know, What’s eating you getting your husband to take out the garbage? You know, marketing is everywhere. And so then we turn around this shine of on our businesses that lights me up to I love seeing individuals be able to put the puzzle pieces together and then start booking engagements that bring in the clients. It’s just, it’s fulfilling. It doesn’t make me special. I really don’t think it does. I think I’m still doing I’m still doing my job is still running my business. I don’t even I honestly never look at it like I’m leading. Like even at our annual session where we had such great comments about our revolution meeting we just had, it always kind of surprises me a little bit because I don’t go in looking for that. I’m not even thinking about that. I’m more thinking about how can we up our game on education Hueco Bring in this year that’s gonna dial it down even further, how can we help them network more, you know, and I think if there’s anything about the way I’m wired for, you know, it’s interesting how other people see you. But knowing by taking different assessments like I’m wired as an achiever, like I could have told you that even when I was probably in third grade, that like have to be the one that reads all the books in the class, right? So like, I remember a teacher put a some kind of a symbol at the top, all the way around the corners of the room for how many books you’ve read, and I had to be all the way out in front of others. And I it’s not even a competition about doing more than others. It’s just more like I want to achieve. And I think, if anything, if I’m being really transparent, that drives me. And then just the idea to have helping others really does drive me and so if that’s what keeps me working long hours and into the weekend, because it’s fun.


Shawn Zajas  15:59

Okay, so you just said a lot. No, no, no, no, it was amazing. So there’s, there’s something I want to point out before we head into direction. And that is that, like, I got into dentistry, just because my dad started a dental supply company when I was 14. So I wasn’t like in dentistry, but meaning I’m going to like Chicago midwinter as a 14 year old. And I had some really early, like, formative kind of ideas on what Dentistry was. Yeah. And one of the things that was peculiar to me was how, how difficult it was to connect with a lot of the dentist, because it’s like, oh, how are you doing? How are things going and everyone was just crushing it. Everyone was doing, you know, amazing. And I’m mainly talking about male dentists here, and I’m not trying to throw them under the rug. But Vanessa, I’m, I’m so intrigued, because I really feel like the women in dentistry have really elevated the profession over the last decade. Because I feel you’re the ability that the women have, and and you’re talking about Linda miles, you know, there’s, there’s yourself there’s Catherine Idabel, there’s Ann Duffy. And there’s these courageous in slightly crazy in like that good way of like, I we’re going to do something so beautiful in the industry, by by serving, by honoring by a steaming and I don’t feel I feel like you guys are lightyears ahead of the men not to make it a gender thing. That’s not the point. I’m just saying I want to honor that. Like, it has been amazing the way that you collectively have pioneered. And as a, as a man, I’m just wanted, like, honor that and be like, wow, like I love that Elijah is is an occluder Elijah is the pioneer like that. But I can’t name quite nearly as many, um, you know, on my hand, on the male side, and I’m just I’m just wanting to acknowledge that. So


Vanessa Emerson  17:56

it’s interesting, too, because things are always changing, right and always in the world. And, and I think maybe part of that is just like in general in the world, or see we see shifts, as well. And thank you for that for that acknowledgement. And I think it comes down to heart centered beyond what we learn, oh, that’s a female thing, or that’s a male thing as your kids like, I’m almost 60. Right. So like, lots of years, we’ve got that ingrained. But I think it comes more down. Like another really heart centered person I’m thinking of is Paul Goodman is definitely an occluder. And I connect or like, there’s definitely as you start thinking about Allen Stern, you know, you start thinking about different people in our communities that are in what I think what do they have in common, and Duffy heart centered, she’s the queen of heart centered. Yeah.


Shawn Zajas  18:50

Well, so, Vanessa, thank you for sharing that. So the direction I did want to head in was a lot of the audience that is listening. My whole thing is, I think the future of dentistry is going to be great. Like, I know, it’s going to be great in the next 10 years. My whole question is, like, is the listener going to be part of what makes it great? Or are they just going to be an observer watching the people that are in the game, you know, not on the sidelines, but the people that are in the game? And I think one of the fears sometimes of getting in the game is like, well, what if it doesn’t work? Like you started dental speaker Institute? What if that didn’t work? Like, there was no guarantees that you’d be able to have the meeting that you just had with evolution, which was a complete success, like, overwhelming, like the community you’ve created is beautiful. But you know, I’m guessing in the humanity of it, when you’re about to start something and you start having self doubts. What like, am I am I enough? Like, is there inadequacy? Am I going to look foolish if I feel like I’m really good, maybe as a clinician, but maybe I’m not quite as good in this area as an entrepreneur as a visionary. And I think that’s where a lot of people are like, scared to take that step, or to maybe fail in a public way, did you encounter any of that sort of resistance? And what mindset did you have to either shed or embrace, to overcome that?


Vanessa Emerson  20:15

So there’s the inner resistance, and there’s the outer resistance, right? So there’s our mindset, or there’s the way an industry could see change. And there could be some that are more scarcity minded and are maybe resistant to seeing. And I think we see examples of that throughout the industry and different times where there’s a little friction created, once someone starts something new and different. I would tell you, for me, I, I don’t, I’m being honest, I don’t really think about that much. And I don’t know if it’s just because of the way I’m wired. I believe that our environment, in our experience shape us. And so I grew up in a small community where everybody knew everybody, and I was not a popular kid. You know what I mean? It wasn’t like, so I think that shaped me early on, to find your find your path, you know, when you weren’t like necessarily in the in group. And Brene, brown talks about this, and I think very greatly are one of her amazing books, about kind of always being like an outlier. And I don’t know if that’s the way I made where I don’t think about it that much. But I just feel like, early on, I learned that you kind of can’t worry about what other people think. You know, as long as you’re not hurting somebody, you don’t you’re doing something for you feel like it’s for the greater good. It’s like, but for me, I really, I don’t know how to better advise those who are listening other than saying that for me, I just don’t really give a space. In my head. You’ll notice you might notice there’s a push back or somebody might say something, but I think we we control what we put our mind on. And so I instead I look to how good it’s gonna feel. When when you see people coming out of your meeting, you know, being able to do more than they could before. Are you like you look at those down the line goals. That’s what I tend to think on. And you know, what, honestly, I think I’m a little uncomfortable. This question is because I feel like I don’t have a lot of teaching to like, tell, but I would tell you, if I’m if I’m being authentic about this, i The people I hang with are the bomb. So I think in a lot of ways, I just really got lucky. No, no, I mean to say that I really do believe it was intended for me to be in this community. Because I feel like is it okay, if I just let go kind of Whoo.


Shawn Zajas  22:54

Yeah, you, you be you 1,000% right now.


Vanessa Emerson  22:59

I’m so so if I was going to talk like non non-mainstream, I would say I really believe that it flows through us. I believe that there is more than this world. And so when I look at my life, I feel like I’m here for this. There’s a purpose. And I 1,000% believe that I’m where I was supposed to be. It’s just been too easy. For me not to for this to be the right way. Not that it’s been super easy, but I haven’t just met with obstacle after obstacle. And I would think if I was going to share anything to anyone, I would say that I think I feel like we have an inner GPS that one of my favorite quotes is Do you know Abraham Hicks? No, Esther Hicks. It’s a law of attraction person and she one of our favorite quote my favorite quotes of hers was you check in when you’re you have a such a decision before you check in with your with your gut with your your core with that energy PS and if for right now. It’s not a hell yes. That consider it a hell no. And I just love that because when I met Catherine and I started working with her, it was definitely a yes. And there have been times over the years for something doesn’t quite sit right in your gut. And then it’s probably a maybe let it sit for now. And I know this is what others have already heard. This is not shocking, neuroscience or anything, but we don’t always pay attention to that. And I feel like when we do listen to our gut, we’re going to be guided. I mean, I mean really like listen and act on our gut instinct. I knew dental speaker Institute needed to be born. I knew it. I knew that dental speakers I would benefit from having help with their marketing because I knew too many. They were like, well, how do I get meeting planners to find me? I mean, over the last 20 years, things have changed a lot in how we market and everything. But back in the day, it was like, if you weren’t, like a certain set of people that were already well known, it was really hard to be noticed. And so, you know, I just, I knew that there were outcomes that needed to happen in order to help people. And so when you feel like you can connect an action with this desired outcome? I guess that’s fine. don’t really worry about what others might think, or might the meeting not work out? Well, because I feel like I’m working with such a great group of people that all bring such amazing knowledge and skill to what they have to offer that it just it just clicks. This probably isn’t what,


Shawn Zajas  25:57

Vanessa, that is such a great just example of what like mature, aligned, thinking can look like where you don’t have to live with anxiety. You don’t have to, I don’t don’t second, guess what you’re doing. You can just kind of have this inner peace, and just be excited and aligned with the fulfillment of like what you’re doing, instead of just this inner angst. A lot of people live with inner angst all the time, because they’re never feeling like they’re enough. Or they’re measuring up, you know, my own my own struggles with work. And with with birthing something is just like, I get scared when I launch something into the marketplace. I don’t know if that comes from some deep insecurity, it probably does. Which is so crazy. Because I was I knew I was loved when I was a kid, like my parents were amazing. And yet, still, there’s always some for me, there’s always some, like, new horizon of was a challenge, but like, have some area where I’m where growth is happening, you know, and oftentimes growth like or hypertrophy. Is that, that straining, right, that stretching? I’m curious, have you had like a dark night of the soul in the last 22 years where it was either hard to get up? Or? I don’t know, maybe you just had more doubt than you’ve ever had before. And I only asked Vanessa, because when we look at like the worst case scenario, and we think of like, like, I love Elijah stories, you know, when all of a sudden COVID happened. And he’s in the dental industry, and he’s in a company that, boom, boom, yes, and cruises. And everything shut down. It’s like, when you find out how amazing people that have their back against the wall, figure out how to continue to rise above it or get back up or be resilient. And again, if that’s not your story, you don’t


Vanessa Emerson  27:55

know I got something to share. But it’s okay. Yeah. So, um, I don’t have anything that’s like, super tragic, thankfully. But I think it’s, all of us. Have times we would struggle. And I, I really believe what’s helped me the most. Partly, I think partly the way I am wired tends to be more Pollyanna more, I tend to lean to the positive. It’s just, it’s just how I build even when I was a little kid. So I think I’ve gotten that that helps me but the self development work I’ve done over the years where I just lean into, like, early on Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, you know, Tony Robbins, that kind of stuff. And that over the years, it’s been many, many, many dozens of philosophers and teachers that have come before us that help us with exactly this. How can we recognize that we have we all have those automatic negative thoughts? And what can we do to recognize them and stop them sooner? And how do we learn those habits to help us not spiral out some of the things that have helped me the most? Because, I mean, yes, I’ve had challenges. We’ve all had challenges. Some that weren’t did from a personal side, you know, just cut me down to the core. What brought me through was my belief in what’s going on here. Meaning on this planet, meaning me being a spiritual, being in a physical body, what’s going on here and what is there for me to learn my my deep belief is that in all things, especially the challenges, I attract that, I really believe that I believe there’s something there for me to learn even those things that I would say are the most most challenging. I mean, that’s where our learning occurs. Not in the the feathered nest and comfort. So for me, you know, it’s a Um, what really helps me at this point, there’s a couple things. So like if I go more mainstream? Well we talk about would be like business coaching, like I’ve had some exceptional business coaching over the years, which taught me like you, you pivot quickly, you like fill the bowl. So you know, like certain things you do, but things like COVID happen. But from a more personal and a spiritual side, one of the very best things I’ve ever done is become a daily meditator. Because when you first thing, I steal this RPM from David G, with Chopra, center, rise, P, meditate, rise, P meditate your RPM, when you get up, get out of bed, but not, don’t turn the light on, you know, go the bathroom, come back, sit down, you’re awake, but you’re not in the day, don’t turn, don’t look at the phone. Don’t wait on the phone, because you lost it. But when you’re still in that Twilight feeling. Prayer would be very similar. My meditations could go 15 to 30 minutes. If somebody prays that long, that’s fabulous. But with a meditation, you’re sitting there when you actually with breath work. And I have certain mantras that can just bring me it’s an intended for me to bring me internally. It’s intended to set up my day. I have habitual ways I start and end my meditation. And the one of the last things I always say, if I as I get ready to come, as I’m coming back out, and ready to be back in this reality, I give thanks for those that I give thanks to source SandRidge energy for helping to connect us with those who seek the services we offer and that are ready to engage is one of the last things not please send me clients. It’s Thank you. Because they always do find their way. And I find that then I get up, I come to my email later. And I’m like, oh, somebody wants to sponsor the meeting, or Oh, someone’s referred someone. It’s like, what I learned a long time ago. You know, my, my, one of my other passions is business advisory. And so my, my I always tend to go there. But one of the things I learned a long time ago about our our businesses and like trying to facilitate an older business and facilitate this, this multi profit center thing we created here, with the personal life. Oh, yeah. And by the way, we have a Cat Sanctuary and a whole bunch of cats, we take care of everything. Like there’s all these things that can be overwhelming. So even if it’s not a big tragedy or something, it’s more like just the day to the day that the day, I find that if I can start my day and end my day by going inward however you do that, focus on your breathing, pray, meditate, whatever you do, but go inward, all the health benefits are there. Definitely the health benefits, you’ll sleep better, you’ll probably lose weight, you probably like all these things. But the very best thing I think for me is the mindset of keeps my brain channel or like the channel like tuned in to where I mentally know I want to go so when like right now I’m in the middle of this big computer switch over you can’t see the mess I’ve got here I’ve got four monitors, I got three keypads, I’ve got dongles hanging off everything. That’s why we got I’m like what, tell me help me with this microphone and this webcam. So even in like the craziness of life, you can still stop and you’ve trained your brain to be able to go internal and find that like oh my gosh, that’s the million dollar thought right there. If for if anybody takes anything from this, it’s just learning how to train yourself, train your breathing, train your mind to be able to find the peace. Because all those other things we talked about, just fall into place. Because the truth is, there is something bigger going on here. And if you just get quiet enough, you’ll be you’ll figure it out, you’ll you’ll know you’ll feel where to go you’ll feel the way you’ll be guided whatever your belief system is. It will unfold and we just have to trust and I don’t trust blindly I trust off of almost 60 years of seeing how it works every time How can do Yeah,


Shawn Zajas  34:24

I was good. I was gonna say if you keep going I’m gonna have to charge you because this is turning into like a spiritual session where you’re advising me. I don’t know who that was for. I don’t know if it was for anyone else. But it was absolutely for me Vanessa because I’m a deeply spiritual person. And I’ve gone through seasons of my life where as I am not very mature about how I’m handling, what’s on my plate, I get into this. I need to do more. And in doing more I actually lose. Like I lose my foundation of inward connection. I lose feel that sense of being wholehearted. And I keep like syncing, I need to slow it down at the foundation, like you’re saying in the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, in the foundation of my life where I can control, I need to slow things down. And he’s not feel like I have to do to do because he actually comes out, like, when I’m with you, Vanessa, you are such an aligned person that is centered, that is present. And, like, from my perspective, you know, the word that I would use would be like, there’s such a beautiful fragrance that just comes comes out of you. Because I feel like you are connected. So I sense that I pick up on that, like, it is 100% Beautiful, it’s inspiring. And at the same time, I feel like that. Okay, like, I know, I’ve been hearing this, but I just need to slow things down for my own health, like, I feel like things are starting to get out of control, or, or have and that’s just confirmation that, that I need, I need to do that. And that’s so like, countercultural and you know, I think it’s the message that everyone listening to this needs to hear. Yes, you have like, Vanessa, it’s coming from you who just said, you have ambition, like wild ambition. And you’ve had it since you were little. So it’s like to our listeners


Vanessa Emerson  36:14

and a learner. Right, right. I’m in the middle of two massive certification programs on top of all the other things too, right.


Shawn Zajas  36:23

I love that. So it’s like, if people are listening today, it’s like, you’re ambitious, you have desires to be part of what makes dentistry Great. Yeah. And hear Vanessa is kind of challenging all of us to like, just slow it down. Like, don’t lose track of your heart, in, in, to stay connected. And I don’t mean slow it down in the pace of your day. I mean, take the time to get connected and get centered first, and then let your life flow out of that.


Vanessa Emerson  36:52

This is the most important thing we could talk about. You know, and I’m just I’m on a journey like everyone else. And people frequently tell me Oh, you’re so calming. And that’s awesome. Except that I don’t always feel that way internally, you know what I mean? So like, I’m just saying, like, I’m on that path, too. And I, I believe that it’s a daily, it’s a daily exercise, just like we brush our teeth, just like we showered. It’s like we do all our vitamins, all the things we do. This is another thing we do daily to maintain because it’s easy to get out of the habit and then get out of the habit. But when we make it a habit to I mean, just because I recognize that whoever’s listening to this is probably coming from a wide range of backgrounds. And some people might be like, Yeah, that’s a little too low for me, you know, there’s gonna be like, yeah, give me more. And so what I would say is like, right there in the middle science or so right now doing one of the Chopra center, you know, Deepak Chopra, she’ll percenter certification, I’ve done the total health and well being certification, I’m working on their meditation certification, then they’ll do their coaching, certification. And so in the process of going through all of this, there’s just, I mean, literally dozens and dozens and dozens of articles written by doctors and scientists who have studied the effects of just breath work, just focusing on our breath, and what that does to our overall body, all the studies that show how we can lower the inflammation in our body by you don’t have to be a 30 minute morning and night meditator. You know, you can just find maybe set an alarm on your phone for every couple of hours to go off, where you just stop it for a couple of minutes. You just focus on your breathing. Like it doesn’t have to be Whoo, it doesn’t have to be like to some people would be like, Oh, I don’t know about that. But this is more this is mainstream. This is fact this is science. And so you can take it with a spiritual edge or not. I mean, a lot of people meditate what the meditation is not a spiritual act. It’s not right. It’s just it’s just quieting. I choose to use it to touch into that inner being. But you don’t you don’t have to look at it that way. I think I really do think it’s the same with praying. I really do when we when someone prays with intent and belief. I feel like we’re dealing with that same energetic truth. Do you know I, I hope it’s okay, that this whole thing has gone off the rails from business office.


Shawn Zajas  39:37

No, I innovation begins with the person that gets out of their own way and can become connected, aligned and centered so that they can actually believe that the message that’s in them, the idea that’s in them, the solution that they’re meant to bring into dentistry. If they don’t make those connections, they stay on the sideline, and I don’t want them on the sideline, you and me are telling them join us, like get in the game, you know, we want to be shoulder to shoulder because I feel like we’re, it’s almost like, I want to say we’re in an army, but we’re all on the same side. And there’s some people that haven’t taken their place yet. So there’s some, like, there’s some empty areas where there, there isn’t that person’s energy. And because of that, we’re actually missing this energy that we could get. So it’s like, even in a selfish way, I want everyone to step up into the fullness of who they can be, because it doesn’t compete with me and you, we’re all completely unique. It just enhances the value that we can bring, when people just own who they are. So that’s my message. So what you’re saying is, right at the center of that, Vanessa, like, this is, this is amazing.


Vanessa Emerson  40:47

I love this conversation. And also love talking about growing businesses, and I feel like it’s hand in hand. And I And for me, you know, to kind of put a period on that whole sentence there of earlier is really, when we can sit back and kind of be an observer in our life. And you know, I do think it’s more of a retreating in. And that’s maybe what you sense when, like, people say how old I’m so calling, it’s like I’m trying to, I try to listen, as I’m coaching or as I’m doing, you know, in a conversation like this, I tried to I try to listen to the guidance. And I think that if we can just starting to kind of sit back into ourselves and pay this I heard somebody say, I think was Dr. Sue mortar years ago say the best thing our mind can do is pay attention to how our gut feels like this would be the most important activity for it is how are we feeling in our gut? Do I really need to eat that? Should I get up and move? It should have talked that way? How could I talk? Like if we could just lean in our answers are always internal. So whether it’s the vagus nerve, no matter, you know what, whatever it is, is helping us to feel that way. I don’t know that answer. But I can tell you that it will never steer you wrong. You’ve never heard someone say, you know, I listen to my gut. And boy, when I wish I would have done that. They never say that. When they truly listen to their gut, and I really believe it’s the answer. For everything. The answer for everything, I feel like we weren’t sent here to this life without a direct connection back to where we came from and to where we’re going. I do feel like there’s the those those mediums of communication, whether it be this internal GPS, whether it’s the prayer, whether it’s the whatever rituals or whatever, I really believe that there is a connection, it’s just challenging for us while we’re here on this planet, doing our human things to stay in the day to day, like yesterday morning, you know how hot it is your shots like 103 here to do that. So yesterday, we’re out there in the heat putting up an umbrella, you know, in the heat, and it’s like, it’s sometimes it’s challenging. So like, remember, like, okay, to turn inward, but the more we can practice it, I just really believe that it all comes together relationships, money, the money’s everywhere. The money is all around us. It’s us that blocks it, you know, the more we can be quiet and inward, the more we’re going to be listen to the invitations like you reaching out to saying, Hey, would you like to be on my podcast or someone else referring you to someone else like you more, the more you can go in where you can pay attention to what’s coming away. Follow those paths or doors, follow those paths, you know, me wrapping it back to where we started. Me decided I would be a life coach all those years ago and thought well, how do I get started wanting to create an email campaign? Well, the only person that hired me was Linda miles. And then Linda started telling so many people how I was their coach, her coach and then that was a doorway, there was a path that was a doorway that was me listening to how should I market this? What I what I would leave you with this thought on this is this, we make it harder than has to be and if you listener are a person of faith. Lean into that. lean into it. And I’m not I’m not religious I have no no religious affiliation. This is not what this is. It’s more of it’s just feels obvious to me. There’s something more going on here than me out in the heat NodeRED race putting up an umbrella is like what what’s the purpose of that? The purpose I fulfill is that we’re here to learn to get to know each other to connect to how relationships we’re going to learn through those relationships. Business is no different. I would encourage, I’m just like on a ramp rampage here.


Shawn Zajas  45:06

I’m letting you go. I’m letting you guys.


Vanessa Emerson  45:09

I would encourage your listener to just say, Screw it. I’m going to try this. I don’t know if it’s going to work out or not. But I feel compelled to do this. And when those little voices pop in, that’s what I say. I am, I am so not, I am just a farm girl from Northeastern Arizona, like, I don’t even have a college degree, Sean. I’m just a regular. I’m your neighbor. I’m just a person. I’m not like somebody to put on a pedestal. I’m just somebody who likes to work. I really do like to work and I really do like to achieve and I really do enjoy the community I’m in and helping serve them. And that that’s like just authentic. Not like, Oh, look at me, it’s not truly like, this is what I like, this is what I enjoy doing. So I would encourage each of your listeners to what is it for you? Where do you feel pulled? I felt pulled toward Katherine and speak in consulting even though I remember going I don’t know what the heck a speaker consultant does. I remember feeling like I have no idea what to do here. Just keep taking that next step in a direction that feels like more I think I should do I think I should because I promise you I just got goosebumps. Head to Toe goosebumps. I promise you, that’s where all the juices, that’s where all the joy is.


Shawn Zajas  46:32

Okay, so Vanessa, I like to a lot before this podcast. I don’t know how we’re both in the same like, town, city, whatever you want to call it each other. And I’ve still never actually like hung out or connected. But our time is due. This has just


Vanessa Emerson  46:50

come to expansion in January, Shawn because we’re going to be doing we’re going to be doing more of this expansion.


Shawn Zajas  46:55

Okay, but I’m not going to wait till January to hang out with you. Let me take you out to lunch something anyway. Okay, let me end with this. Back. Let’s see. You said June, you said in 2001. June 3. Okay. So Vanessa of today is walking past Vanessa of June 3 2001. And you have one sentiment that you can communicate to her What do you say?


Vanessa Emerson  47:23

One sentiment to her though is walking up to the door to come in and open it to door to a new life. All this makes me emotional. Grab it go. This is this is where you need to be. At that time. I realized I was just about to take a job working as in a surgical center as a practice manager for a surgical surgical center. It was a risk that I felt I was like this more I felt like this is where I need to be. I think what I would say to her is Yes, go. You know that you need to listen to your gut.


Shawn Zajas  48:06

Okay, well, I’m not supposed to I’m not supposed to tear up. So you got me. Let me just say, it has been such an honor. I love where this went. It is a gift to dentistry. It’s a gift to our listeners. I am so on your side, whatever you need, however, I can help amplify what you’re doing. I am just for you. And I’m thankful that I’m even in your community. So Vanessa, thank you so much for letting me interview you today.


Vanessa Emerson  48:39

Oh, it was really a pleasure. It’s always a delight to spend time with you. And we’re going to be doing more of that. Thank you for this opportunity.


Shawn Zajas  48:47

Thank you. Thanks for listening, and be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. To learn more about what’s going on in dentistry. Check out innovation in dentistry.com

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