Finding Inner Fulfillment: Letting Go of Traditional Definitions of Success with Dr. Laura Schwindt


Podcast Summary

Dr. Laura Schwindt, a former dentist turned life coach, is interviewed by Shawn Zajas in this podcast episode. The conversation revolves around Laura’s transformation from being a dentist to pursuing a coaching career and the mindset shifts she had to make along the way. 

Shawn commends Laura’s passion, curiosity, and intentionality in her coaching, affirming that she is following her true calling. They discuss how Laura’s journey as a coach is rooted in her ability to create a safe space for others to feel 100% themselves. Laura recalls a friend from high school who told her that she always felt completely authentic when she was with Laura. This comment had a lasting impact on her, fueling her desire to help people embrace their uniqueness and feel comfortable in their own skin. 

Laura shares her belief in the power of individual coaching sessions and the ability to unlock one’s true potential through deep listening and thought-provoking questions. She emphasizes the importance of dedicated time without distractions to have authentic conversations and explore one’s challenges, dreams, and personal growth. Laura highlights the significance of uncovering personal stories and the power of defining one’s own success. 

The conversation then delves into the challenges faced during the transition from dentistry to coaching. Laura opens up about shedding her identity as a dentist and the fear of disappointing her father, who had followed in the same profession. However, her father’s unwavering support and encouragement to pursue happiness rather than external validation played a crucial role in her journey. She realized that success is an inner job and started focusing on cultivating her own definition of success and fulfillment. 

Shawn and Laura discuss the fears and insecurities that come with making a career change and embracing one’s unique gifts. They acknowledge the lack of guarantees in pursuing a passion and the need to step out of one’s comfort zone to interact with the marketplace. Laura emphasizes the importance of balancing fear-based thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit to foster innovation and authenticity. 

The conversation shifts to the topic of burnout and the need for well-being in dentistry. Laura shares her experiences with burnout and the well-being practices she discovered to prevent it. She mentions her virtual well-being awareness program for dental teams, designed to help individuals prioritize their mental and emotional well-being, leading to greater productivity and fulfillment. 

Looking towards the future, Laura expresses her plans to write a book and create bridges to bring people together, particularly within the dental community. She aims to help individuals tap into their unique gifts and encourages them to shine those gifts into the world. Shawn applauds Laura’s vibrancy, curiosity, and zest for life, which are evident in her coaching and personal journey. 

In conclusion, Dr. Laura Schwindt’s story exemplifies the power of embracing one’s true calling and the transformational impact of coaching. Her journey from dentist to life coach showcases the importance of authenticity, deep listening, and self-discovery. With her passion for helping others and her commitment to personal growth, Laura is making a positive impact in the dental community and beyond. 

Connect with Dr. Laura Schwindt

FB: @ Laura Schwindt

IG: @ drlauraschwindt

LI: @ Laura Schwindt

YT: @ Laura Schwindt

Podcast Transcript

Shawn Zajas  00:00 

4321 It really doesn’t matter because my my team sees it. And we do all that editing. So nice 


Laura Schwindt  00:07 

to have a team. I’m jealous. 


Shawn Zajas  00:11 

So I am so excited today to have Dr. Laura. And I can’t just say Dr. Laura or else people start thinking like Dr. Laura Schlessinger, which also has a challenging last name. But your last name is not that challenging. It’s Dr. Laura. schwindt. How did I do on that one? 


Laura Schwindt  00:29 

You did? Fantastic. Perfect. 


Shawn Zajas  00:31 

So I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Laura, probably on two or three occasions now. And I am just inspired every single time I talk to you can 


Laura Schwindt  00:42 

Can I call you, Laura? Please call me, Laura. 


Shawn Zajas  00:45 

Okay, so first off, Lord, thank you so much for joining me today, it is an honor to have you. 


Laura Schwindt  00:50 

Thank you. And Shawn, I feel the same about you. Every time I’ve run into you, I just am attracted to your energy and your charisma. And I just want to talk to you more. So this is just a joy for me to get a chance to talk to you one on one without a bunch of people around. It’s just a joy. 


Shawn Zajas  01:05 

Well, Laura, so the thing that gets me fascinated, you know, I’m in this space and dentistry. And there are so many amazing dentists but I see that there are so many dentists and dental professionals that aren’t fine, just staying in the OP, they’re not fine. Just doing what they’re doing. Somehow they have a mindset that almost enables them or empowers them to feel that permission to step up to step out into pioneer. And that’s really the innovation that I’m talking about and fascinated by is what is it about that mindset that, again allows for what I think is what makes dentistry. Great. So you were a clinical dentist. Just tell me a little bit about your story and your journey and how you arrived at where you’re at today? 


Laura Schwindt  01:58 

Well, you know, it’s interesting, I think, you know, I love the fact that you’re looking into this innovation, and I think of anybody in our dental community, we are all innovators at heart. I mean, all day, every day, we have to innovate what we do to make it happen, and it changes every moment. And so, I think we’re all innovators in in on the inside and just figuring out ways to bring that out in ways that complement our unique strengths, our unique gifts, and then give it back to the world. Right. That’s that’s the whole purpose. But my story is, is an interesting one. I was a daughter of a dentist. So growing up, my dad loved dentistry. He loved his job. He taught at the local dental assisting school, his patients loved him. He practiced and into his 70s and then continued teaching at the high end or at the assisting school. So I kind of had an inkling I was the youngest of six, and I was the only one to give any interest in debt into dentistry. And so I took the bat and I did I didn’t tell him, I didn’t tell him at all. I took the bat and I did well. And so I said, Well, I think I’m gonna go to dental school and he was just so happy. Dental School was dental school. And I think it took a little piece of me every day. But then I got out and I practiced a practice for 21 years in different capacities. I was an associate in many different practices. My husband was getting his training in his emergency medicine physician. So he was doing all sorts of training and we were moving around the country to do that. So I learned a lot of different ways to practice dentistry. And eventually, we settled in my hometown in northern Minnesota. And I opened up my own practice based on everything that I had learned from all the practices that I had worked in. And it was an exciting time. And it was also the hardest time of my life had three little kids. When I opened my practice, I think they were three, five and seven. Oh my gosh, yeah, my husband was traveling he did local locum tenens so he was gone a lot. So there’s a lot of times I was a single parent. And so it was a joy. I loved loved loved my practice, but I burned out. And I recognize now looking back hindsight that had I had some skills, how to have some mindset, had I had some were about self awareness, I probably could have prevented my burnout. I’m 


Shawn Zajas  05:01 

so but because of what you went through, you ended up discovering those keys, those golden nuggets that now you’re able to help dentists with what was probably one of the pieces of gold that you discovered during that time. That maybe, I don’t know, it wasn’t so obvious then. But you realize later on, like, oh my gosh, that burnout really helped me. 


Laura Schwindt  05:26 

Yeah, yeah, you know, it made me realize that you can’t just go 110 All the time. And that was what I was doing. And I thought that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Like you give and give and give you give to your patients you give to your team you give to your kids you give to your family, you give, give give that is, you know, that’s the badge of honor you wear as a provider. And that if you don’t balance that with some techniques to give to yourself, that eventually you run out of steam. And so, and when I did I, you know, I went I was having all sorts of physical issues. And so I was going to doctors, like, what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with me? And I finally went to a functional medicine doctor. And she said, You’ve got to, you’ve got to have less stress in your life. And I just laughed at her. I’m like, Well, what do you want me to admit? I can’t there’s no option here. 


Shawn Zajas  06:26 

i My dentist. 


Laura Schwindt  06:29 

Um, but now looking back at that I’m like she was 100%. Right? And there are, it’s a story we tell ourselves that we can’t we completely Can we have the choice to rearrange things to do things differently. We always have that choice. And so I kind of realized that I was in this victim mentality. And I needed to create, I needed to get out and become a creator of my life instead of a victim of my life. 


Shawn Zajas  07:00 

So what what would have been a low in this season, though, like meaning? Was it that you couldn’t get out of bed because you’re like, depressed? Or was it just you felt that strain of the physical breakdown? 


Laura Schwindt  07:10 

Mm hmm. It was, it was a little bit of everything. Let me tell you, I was, I was not myself. I am a joyful, zesty person. I love life. And I had lost all joy and zest, I felt like I was trudging through darkness. I’m just faking it. I was faking it every day. And I lost all that one member of my team. One by one, they all turned in the resignation, which made me feel like a ginormous loser. And failure. Um, my husband, I remember the one of the really riveting arguments that we had. And he said, something’s got to change. Now, I was just like, oh, this the, this is affecting everything. So it was affecting relationships, it was affecting financials, it was affecting my health, it’s affecting my ability to be a good mother. And to enjoy life, which is, I guess, you know, like, what’s the point if we’re not enjoying life? So yeah, so that was the point where I hired my first life coach, and I credit her was saving my life. 


Shawn Zajas  08:33 

I mean, here you are. And I feel like with most people that end up struggling, it ends up being this slow fade, where you just keep telling yourself, you know, because then just are very resilient to be able to get through dental school to be able to handle what dentists have to handle your strong people. Right? And so part of it is like you’re saying this, like badge of honor of like, I can just work harder, do more, spread myself, like thinner and you’re almost just end up saying yes to the challenges of motherhood, yes to the challenges of the profession. And then next thing, you know, those people closest to you, thank God in your situation, your husband is looking and being like, Laura, this isn’t working, like, like, you’re an amazing person. But this isn’t working. And unfortunately, we know all the stories in dentistry about people that didn’t, didn’t get to take a step back, you know, burnout eventually led to their light getting put out. And that is the tragedy of dentistry. And I’m so thankful in this situation, that you made a decision to do something about it. So you go to this life coach, which is I mean, you you coach down to this probably has such a huge impact on why you do what you do today. And had you somehow dodged it or I don’t know not, not just step into it fully and said, okay, like, somehow I arrived here in my life. Somehow I got to a point where maybe I didn’t see the cautions, or I didn’t see the warning signs. And I’m here, but what can I do, but learn from it? And be the change that I want to see in dentistry? 


Laura Schwindt  10:21 

Yeah, you know, I, my original relationship with her was we had signed up for a year of coaching. And at the end of that year, I was thanking her just, you know, she had to take me on a journey that I had no idea. I mean, I was, in the beginning, I thought she was crazy. Like the things she was having me do. I was just like, how is this going to help? Can you just tell me what to do? Can’t you just tell me the next CEE to take, or the next piece of equipment divide and make my practice successful? You know what, come on, please. But she took me on a different type of journey. And at the end, I remember just thanking her and saying, I wish, I wish I could give this to another dentist, because I know there’s, there’s got to be someone out there like me. And I get teary eyed when I think about this conversation. Because she said, Who’s to say you can’t. And that was the seed, that tiny little sentence was the seed that propelled me into what I do today, and why I’m so passionate about it. 


Shawn Zajas  11:29 

I was gonna say that that is so profound, because so much of what I share with people is like, believing is one thing, but believing follows the ability to conceive, like the ability to even imagine something as possible, you have to conceive first, and then all of a sudden, you need to have that faith and belief and trust that you can start taking those steps. But if it’s not even on your grid of what’s possible, if you can’t even conceive of it yet, and that’s why I want people to hear these stories, because it is something as small as white like, why can’t that be you? What, why not? And all of a sudden, it’s like, Wait a second. Like, I guess I’m not stuck in this box of just being a clinical dentist. So from that moment, to when you actually, let’s say, stepped out? What was that timeframe? 


Laura Schwindt  12:21 

It was probably two and a half years. 


Shawn Zajas  12:25 

Okay, so what happened? Like, why? Why wasn’t it six months? And why wasn’t it? 10 years? 


Laura Schwindt  12:30 

Yeah, yeah, no, that’s great question. Um, so you know, when, after she said that, you know, like I said, it just planted the seed, it just went in there. And I didn’t really do anything with it, I, I redesigned my practice, to be a more holistic practice, rehired a team, they became my dream team. So, you know, I look back in that moment of despair, when I lost, everyone was actually the best thing that happened to me. Because the team that we built together was they, they’re still my best friends. You know, like, we don’t, we don’t have a lot of contact because of life. And because I moved, but I would, I would count them all as one of my best friends. I mean, they were there for me. And we built this happy, healthy, holistic practice. But then my son had a heart murmur that we explored. And by the urging of his doctor, and we found out that he had a genetic disorder of the smooth muscle tissue, and it was affecting his ascending aorta, it was larger than it needed to be. And so he had to go through all sorts of genetic testing. And he had all sorts of limitations put on physical things. He was 13 at the time. And so this was really challenging. And my husband and I, at that time, were both really busy with our our professional lives. And we we decided that we needed to slow down and because of this, it, like woke us up to the fact that we have these three young kids and we’re just seeing them on the weekends. Wow. And, and, you know, really, half of Friday, or half of Saturday, we’re so exhausted still that we’re missing half of Saturday, even and half a Sunday. We’re worried about Monday, so 


Shawn Zajas  14:35 

well, that takes courage to even have that like not just to have the awareness but to look at it and be like, something has to change 


Laura Schwindt  14:42 

something. Yeah. So we kind of started this the steps in place to changing things we were we were going to downsize everything work last all of that. What really did it though was then we had been focusing so much on on my son that we didn’t really and it was it’s silly, we’re both medical professionals that we didn’t think about this, but the genetics had to come from somewhere, right? We didn’t explore ourselves and ended up that my husband had this. And he needed an emergency heart surgery because his aorta was about to blow. So we spent about 10 days at Mayo Clinic and he had his his complete ascending aorta replaced. And in that moment, we just said, that’s it. We’re, we’re selling everything. And we’re moving to the mountains. Wow. Because we want to experience life. And we want to give our kids the experience of like, just exploring. And so yeah, we started, we started with garage sales. And then eventually, we sold our house. And then I sold my practice. And then my oldest graduated from high school, and we moved to the mountains, Oregon. And so here we are. 


Shawn Zajas  16:01 

Wow. I mean, what a story like just to think that, you know, the last person I actually interviewed, I asked them about the dark night of their soul and their like, it actually had to do with being, like their identity as a mom, not not as a professional. But as a mom. And it’s like, you know, for you, it’s like, not just a mom, but as a wife, you have your son, and then you have your husband, and both of them, they find out there’s something going on, that could be life threatening, especially for your husband at that point in time. And to be like, I don’t know, to just again, the impetus for why sometimes we make that leap, or we change. It’s so great that you honored like family and what matters in life, I think the tragedy of life is when you find yourself at the top of a mountain, and realize it was the wrong one. Or realize that you’re alone, and you’re actually not fulfilled because the people you love and care about aren’t there anymore. And, unfortunately, family oftentimes gets sacrificed on, you know, in that drive for success. So in the midst of that, Laura, what was some mindset that you identified, either that you had to shed, or a mindset that you embrace so that you could continue down that journey that you’re on? 


Laura Schwindt  17:26 

It’s great question. I think the identity piece was really a challenge. For so long, I had been a dentist, you know, and suddenly, I wasn’t, when we moved, I didn’t know if I was going to practice or you know what I was going to do, but that was right before COVID. And so COVID came and it kind of answered my question for me at that moment, I was like, you know, this isn’t the time to hop back in. But yeah, there was a lot of shedding that had to take place there with that identity. And that worse, that feeling of, Am I worth anything, if I’m not doing what I professionally trained to do you and spent so much time effort, investment, all of that. It was the conversation with my dad, I was so scared to tell him. I’m not gonna practice anymore. 


Shawn Zajas  18:32 

Because I’m sure there was such a sense of pride of like, Of the six kids, you were the one that kind of followed his footsteps, you know, and stayed in the profession. 


Laura Schwindt  18:44 

So, I have the most amazing dad, because when I told him, he was just like, whatever makes you happy. And that was another just one cent and seed that made me think you know, what I can, I can shed the story of who I am and what I can my worth to, I can shed that. I can do whatever I can create, you know, so again, it was it was steps of getting out of that victim story into let’s create, let’s create something and so but yes, had to shed traditional ways of working, going somewhere to work, how am I going to work now? How am I going to create something special? How am I going to get my message across and at first? I didn’t know if I wanted to share my story. I still felt like a little bit of a failure. Um, and so I didn’t know you know, people would say, you know, be vulnerable. Share your story. That’s that and I was just like, oh, I don’t want to be. I’ve been the dentist that has the answers. People come to me for the answers I figure things out. And to say I don’t have the answers, or to say, I’m figuring things out as I go. I’m building the ship as I sell it. 


Shawn Zajas  20:14 

And but that’s some of the crazy thing is that there’s no guarantees, you’re gonna step out, and no one could give you the guarantee, hey, you can sleep well at night, because this is going to be successful. This is somehow going to work. And there’s going to be provision money that flows so you can keep doing some passion project. Like, there’s that insecurity of like, what if I just fall on my face? What if I get insecure? Or what if I get vulnerable? And all of a sudden, it like backfires. And people are like, Oh, my gosh, she’s not the doctor, we thought she was like, you had to grapple with all these things. 


Laura Schwindt  20:50 

Yeah, you know, it’s so interesting that for so long, I had set my sights of success on outward accomplishments, outward things, right. And there was a there, it just doesn’t happen overnight. I mean, it’s a process. But you come to the realization that success is an inner job. And having your own definition of success and pursuing that, so that when you put your head on your pillow at night, and you say, Hey, I worked hard today, I’m up, I’m a better person at the end of the day than I was at the beginning of the day. And, and it’s internal. It’s not, not external. Yeah, maybe someone didn’t say good job, or, gosh, you’re the best dentist ever. Thanks so much. I didn’t feel that injection at all. You know, no one, no one gave you anything externally to validate your hard work. But internally, you know, that you’re a better person at the end of the day than you were at the beginning. Because you did. The things that are successful mean successful to you. So I think that’s, that’s a cute that, I guess, shedding the stories, shedding the identity, shedding the finding worth from outside, to really cultivating that inner success and that inner work of doing the stuff that makes you fulfilled and happy. And ultimately, if you’re doing that, I mean, isn’t that ultimately what we’re supposed to do? We’re supposed to shine our unique gifts out into the world. And if we’re doing that, the rest of it will come. Think sometimes timeline, but it will come. 


Shawn Zajas  22:47 

But I think sometimes it’s like scary. Knowing. I don’t know, it’s like, even the discovery of trying to find out what, like, what is my gifting? Or what is my main unique gift? Or what is the light that I’m supposed to shine, you know, and I know starting off in any endeavor, we typically model right, we see, okay, here’s a hero, here’s someone that’s successful, this is what you do. And you start off by modeling. Even like as kids, you just look at your parents and okay, we model behavior, but at some point, to get to that place where you want to express, you want to really release something that’s authentically you into the world. And almost like I feel like everybody, like you were saying, everyone’s an innovator. I agree also that like everyone I feel like is an artist. And there’s like a portrait that only they can paint and I I’m obviously speaking metaphorically here. But the second I started viewing myself as an artist, it almost gave me that freedom of like, well, how do I want to express what’s uniquely me? And yes, they’re still grappling with like, well, what if I’m not enough? And what if it doesn’t work? And all those things, and that’s why I’m really amazed because Laura, like, the clinician hat, the dentist hat is very risk averse. It’s almost at odds with that visionary, entrepreneurial spirit of like, let’s, let’s play and see what happens. Let’s, let’s try this and iterate and be agile. And how, like, Was that something you had to wrestle with as you were like shifting? 


Laura Schwindt  24:36 

I love that you bring that up, because, um, yeah, my husband and I talk about that a lot, actually. That I mean, we were in for many, many, many, many years. We operated from a fear based mentality because, um, how much are you doing to prevent something bad from happening? like that all day, that’s what we’re doing. I mean, you know, and you’re constantly thinking that way, what if this happens? What if this happens? And it’s usually the what ifs or not the old? What if this great thing happens? 


Shawn Zajas  25:18 

Right? Because you’re trying to minimize liability, you’re trying to minimize bad outcomes. And yet, you don’t really get somewhere in the business entrepreneurial space by thinking, how do you minimize bad outcomes, you have to be unafraid to just interact with the marketplace. And that’s one of the life lessons that I learned that took for ever Laura was that I thought what I learned in the boardroom, in the realm of theory was was true. And then all of a sudden, I would launch something into the marketplace, or I wouldn’t, because I was, I was almost like, certain it was going to fail. But the market didn’t tell me it was gonna fail. I prematurely got scared, and thought it would fail. So I robbed myself of the actual lesson of finding out was this goal was was there going to be alignment? Because none of us can look into a crystal ball and say, hey, if we launch this thing, if we start this new podcast, if we start this new initiative, and if we’re going to serve dentistry in this way, we know exactly how dentistry is going to respond. We don’t because it’s made of people, right? It’s made of this, like, the market is like an organism that’s always shifting, always changing. And I feel like it’s less scientific, then the bone structure than the mouth structure then like, the, what has been revealed through, you know, what’s clinically best for someone’s oral health, you know, and I understand that’s evolving, too. But I feel like that’s more of a static organism, then our culture, you know, and everything like that. So you, you always talk about unique stories, and how it’s so good to just embrace what it is about ourselves, and own that. How do you help people discover that? 


Laura Schwindt  27:07 

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think it’s, it’s one that really lends itself to life coaching. Because the whole premise of life coaching is that as a coach, we help you unlock, uncover, unleash the potential that you already have, through great questions. And so being able to have one on one time with someone that’s devoted just to you, that’s there to talk just about you. doesn’t happen very often in the real world. And it’s shocking to a lot of people who have never had a coach and then get a true coach, you know, maybe they’ve had consultants. And so they, they feel like they know what coaching is, but then when they get a true coach, they’re sort of surprised. And I remember being so surprised, because I wanted to know about my coach, I would ask her questions about her. She’s like, No, no, no, this is this is your time. Hmm. But, you know, so often we, you know, with our friends, or people that we really care about family members, we get into conversations, and we spend so much time talking about like, the weather, the kids, the business, the, you know, challenges that we’d never get to the authentic piece. Like, what’s going on with you? What’s your challenge right now? What’s the real challenge about that challenge? What do you want? What do you dream about? You know, and then just going with that flow. And so I think that helping people uncover their stories, really comes with just really good listening. Really good, dedicated time with no distractions, and really good questions. And given that, and then you know, some time for them to reflect on those, those moments. So they can then bring out those true stories that they have inside of them. And 


Shawn Zajas  29:41 

so the main thing that’s been driving you, I’m guessing is still so connected to that moment, where your life coach helped change your life and you’re like, Man, I didn’t know this sort of transformation was possible. Is this something where I can offer the same to transformation to others. How did you feel the first time and I don’t know if it was your first client or your fifth client. But like, when all of a sudden, you felt like, I did it, like I’m able to do what I wanted to do way back when, like, what was that experience like for you? 


Laura Schwindt  30:21 

There’s nothing like it. Um, when you witness the aha moment in somebody else, or just that clicking. It’s, it’s like, it’s like, the greatest gift is like someone when I get to experience that with someone, it’s like, they just wrapped up the most beautiful present and handed it to me. I mean, it’s, you know, people that are golfers talk about that. The last, the last hit, that’s perfect. Gets them back on the course. Right? Yeah, you know, it’s always that it’s always like off. If I could do this all day, every day, I would. Wow. 


Shawn Zajas  31:10 

Now tell me. So with people that are coming to you? Are there certain like, tells that you can see were based off of what they’re saying? That they either have a, like a limiting belief or mindset where they may not yet be ready for coaching? Or do you just kind of understand, Okay, we’re gonna have to do a lot more work? Like, do you feel like everybody is ready for coaching? What What have you seen in your experience? 


Laura Schwindt  31:37 

Yeah, that’s, that’s such a good question, too. I think, you know, ultimately, everybody’s ready for coaching. However, there is sometimes some things that need to get worked out first. And so, so there may be some things from the past that need to get addressed. And that might be better served with a counselor or a therapist. And so sometimes we pause, and we say, hey, let’s, let’s work through some of this first, and, and then come back to this. Other people are just that they they’ve done that work, or they’re ready, they’re ready for a transformation. They’ve, they’ve gotten to their rock bottom, and they’re, they’re sick and tired of it, they’re ready, let’s go. And so it is so individual. And that’s why we really focus on custom coaching. There’s no package, like, you know, I’m not going to offer you a package that this is the steps and these are exactly what’s going to happen each session. It’s it’s 100% custom. So and that’s really fun, too. I mean, I think back to dentistry, and what I did love about dentistry, was that connection with the patient. And it was always genuine, an individual. I mean, they were like no one else, I might be doing the same crown on them that I did on somebody else, but it’s going to be totally unique for them and their situation. And the end, I think that’s coaching too. 


Shawn Zajas  33:16 

You know, in the whole, like, people having that permission to pioneer like how many of the people that you’re coaching, are wanting simply to be better dentist versus like, I actually want to explore something else. And I don’t know how to get there. Like, our most of the people that come to you like, Oh, I just need a better practice. I need to be more aligned in who I am, or are a lot of them. Like, I think dentistry is not completely fulfilling for me. And there’s something in me, whether it’s a book or a message or something else, can you help me actualize that? 


Laura Schwindt  33:57 

Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of both. And I think really, usually what it is, is that that the person feels some sort of emptiness and they’re not quite sure why. And so going through that process, you know, it might reveal that they just need to practice differently. Or maybe there’s a different area of dentistry that really lights them up than what they’re doing. Or that going through their process may reveal that they have other gifts that they want to bring to life outside of dentistry. Um, sometimes that may mean not doing dentistry anymore. Sometimes it may mean doing it in addition to dentistry. And so, it it really reveals itself as we work. And so it’s interesting, you know, like, the mind at the beginning of the sessions can be thinking one this is where I want to go But as as paths get revealed, and it’s like the remember those books were choose your own adventure. Yeah, yeah, it’s like a choose your own adventure because you, you get to a door that you thought you wanted to open and call, it’s really stuck, you can’t quite get it to open. And so you start looking around because you’re like maybe there’s a key or maybe there’s something that can help me kind of wedge it. And then all of a sudden you see another door and you’re like, Oh, that one looks open. Maybe I’ll go see what what’s on the other side of that door. 


Shawn Zajas  35:37 

Just interviewing you right now. Your your pace, your curiosity, you bring such an intense intentionality to how you’re sharing. Like, I just I love seeing the process of how you like, this is what you were meant to do. Like, I can just see it now. Knowing that now do you? Do you ever look back to times in your youth where you’re like, Oh, I saw that in some relationships or in high school? There were some seeds of that, and I just didn’t connect it. That meant that I be a good coach someday. 


Laura Schwindt  36:14 

Yeah, yeah, completely. I you know, I was always that person that people came to. And, um, you know, I remember one friend in particular, in high school, saying to me, I always just feel 100% me when I’m with you. And that that’s okay. And I remember, like, it was just like, Oh, whatever. But that stuck with me, obviously, because I remember it. But I was like, I want everyone to feel that. From me. I want everyone to feel 100% them. And that it’s okay. And if I can, if I can just if I can be that for people? Because so often, I mean, how do you sometimes you have a conversation with someone and you’re just like, Oh, I feel like I need to act this way. Or I need to bring this piece of me to this conversation. Because if I don’t, I’m going to be looked at differently. Well, that’s exhausting. Like, I just want people to come to me and and feel like they, you know, they’re beautiful. And let’s, let’s untap that and bring it to life because that’s what the world needs, man. 


Shawn Zajas  37:41 

Preach it seriously. 100%. Now, have you written a book yet? Because I feel like there’s there’s a message in you that needs to get released. And I’m not saying you’re not doing that with maybe the speaking opportunities. And you’re coaching but like, I’m so curious, like, what’s next for Laura? 


Laura Schwindt  38:01 

Yeah, you know, I do have a book and me. i Yeah. And there’s also some other creative things that I love to partake in. I also just love creating bridges to bringing people together. And so it in any way that I can do that in the specially in the community that I love, dentistry, bringing people together. And knowing that together, we can do so much more. And so whether that’s through a book, whether that’s through retreats workshops, there’s lots on the horizon, for sure. And I’m kind of going down that my own path, you know, with my own coach, as far as exploring those doors. And so, yeah, that will definitely be bringing a book to light one day. 


Shawn Zajas  39:04 

Amen. So is there anything you’re working on right now that you’d like our listeners to know about anything you’d like to bring attention to? Yeah. 


Laura Schwindt  39:11 

So I’m my business partner who happens to be my best friend and I we operate them indoor. And we have lots going on with that. But one of the the things that we’re most proud of right now is we have a virtual well being aware program for dental teams. And it’s something that they can do in pockets of their time during the day and earn a well being aware award, and earn CPE for and it deals with some of these well being practices that helped me get out of burnout. And now that I see how to use those would have prevented my burnout. And so it’s something that we’re super passionate about. It’s a Our mission to bring this to as many people as possible, because when you feel good when you’re, when you’re working from a place of well being, you can do more good. And not just for the practice, but for your families for the community. It’s a ripple effect. Um, 


Shawn Zajas  40:23 

where can they specifically find out about that? Is there like a website or Facebook page? 


Laura Schwindt  40:27 

Yeah, just the mint door dotnet. It’s all everything we do is there. But yeah, so that’s really exciting. We have what we call an oscillation experiment going on right now, where we’re helping practices really tap into the fact that when you operate from a high intensity, high productive state, you got to balance that with low intensity rest. And if if we’re not doing that, we’re, we’re we’re actually fading our productivity throughout the day. And so that’s a fun, that’s 100% free, just an experiment that you’re on at your practice for a week and see how it works. So those are just some of the little techniques that we are infusing to help bring awareness, especially Maine Mental Health Awareness Month, just bringing that awareness to the fact that our emotional and mental well being or mindset is really at the core of how successful and fulfilled and happy we are. 


Shawn Zajas  41:26 

Oh, my gosh, one 100%. So I love asking this in the spirit of honor, who has helped you in your journey that you’d like to recognize as like an innovator or pioneer. 


Laura Schwindt  41:39 

So I’m, I owe so much to the certification program that I did my life coaching through, which is heroic public benefit corporation, and the founder of heroic is Brian Johnson. And I look up to him and his ideals and his teaching every single day, still very active in my coaching community. And right now, there is just a plethora of material that they provide, actually for free. But just in living your, your true best self. He, he models it. And so like you say, you we model people, you know, like, that’s, that’s somebody that I look up to every day. And it really infuses me really inspires me to bring that into my day. And so that that’s somebody that I looked up to, more personally, my daughter, my daughter is an amazing human. And there’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I think, Wow, she’s so self aware. She’s so passionate, she’s a she’s a changer mover and a shaker. And I learned something from her every day. And so I’m so grateful that she chose me to be her mother, you know, way back when she was, you know, just some start as she because I have taken so much from her. So I encourage people to really learn from from the people right around them. There’s so much wisdom, there’s so much beauty that we can just from, you know, an interaction with somebody on your walk. You know, the other day I was I took a walk and there is an old guy taking care of his yard. And I was curious about what in the plants. So I said, you know, I stopped and talked to him about this plant. And I learned so much about him and his life. And he, I you know, gave me a few pearls to walk away with and wow, you know, so there’s, there’s always somebody that you can learn from, and 


Shawn Zajas  44:07 

I was gonna say like, I’m seeing you and I just see such a vibrancy. And people that are experiencing burnout or close to burnout. They don’t have vibrancy. They don’t have a curiosity. They don’t take the moments to lean in to like, Wait a second. Like I’m surrounded by humans in this line, you know, as I’m waiting for Chick fil A or something like that. And it seems like the person next to me. I don’t know if there’s this connection like you don’t lean into those moments that are what life is all about that discovery that almost like beginner’s brain of just kind of having that curiosity to explore, to discover and to get that zest out of life. Because everything’s lost its color. When you’re burned out, like the smells aren’t as vivid The tastes aren’t as vivid. And that’s probably a good tell that you’re experiencing burnout or close to it, when all of a sudden, it’s like, you’re not connected to the beauty around you. And I just see that in you, there’s such a vibrancy. Okay, so someone’s listening, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, I love Laura. I just want to get her as a coach, where do they go? Like, what’s the best step for them? To find out how they can take the next steps with you? 


Laura Schwindt  45:30 

Yeah, thank you. And, um, in light of that burnout, I think that you bring up a really good point, they’re like queue into that stuff, your your, your body and your soul are sending you messages all the time. queue into that queue into when the color goes away. Because that’s, that’s a great, that’s a great hint that there’s an opportunity to change. So good. I love that. I love that you brought that up. I’m working with me just the and that’s where you’ll find all my contact information. And any and multiple ways I love genuine authentic conversation. So always open to connecting for a conversation. No, no strings attached. Just let’s let’s get to know each other and and go from there. 


Shawn Zajas  46:29 

That is awesome. Okay, so here it is. This is my closing question. Let’s take Laura. Okay. When did you? When did you finish with dental school? How old are you? 


Laura Schwindt  46:41 

i Oh, gosh, I think I was 2626 27. Something like that. 


Shawn Zajas  46:47 

Okay, so you’re walking down the street. And you see 26 year old Laura. And you know, you’re only going to have a brief moment to communicate one sentiment to her. What do you share with her? 


Laura Schwindt  47:06 

Listen, listen to your intuition. 


Shawn Zajas  47:16 

Wow, wow. That is so cool that Laura, the coach would have the word listen to Laura, have you know 26 That young Laura of like hate. It comes not just from like your gift is the ability to listen and draw out the depths that’s in somebody else and connect those dots. But it’s so neat that that’s also the gift that you could have given yourself even earlier, is just trusting your intuition and aligning yourself. So you could I don’t almost have that freedom to just explore wherever it led you. And I think you followed a beautiful path. And I thank you so much for honoring that path and for saying yes, when it was like left turn, right turn instead of just being like stubborn. I’m just going to stay in dentistry and do what I’ve always done. Because you are shining so bright right now. And it’s so easy to honor you as an innovator, as a leader as a pioneer. And I love the impact you’re making in dentistry. So Laura, thank you so much. Thanks for joining me today. Thanks for sharing so many tidbits of inspiration and just honestly sharing your story. It has been beautiful. So thank you so much. 


Laura Schwindt  48:36 

Thank you, Shawn, for having this, this wonderful conversation and really highlighting and allowing me to, to just share because like I said, How often do you get a chance to have a one on one uninterrupted conversation and it’s a beautiful thing. So what you’re doing is really special, and I want you to keep doing it. Keep on this is going to be great. 


Shawn Zajas  49:06 

Hey, thank you so much. I appreciate the encouragement. Thank you, Laura. 


Laura Schwindt  49:10 

Thank you Okay, 

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