From Setbacks to Success: Navigating Dentistry with Dr. Vincent Buscemi


Podcast Summary

In this episode of the podcast, host Shawn Zajas welcomes Dr. Vincent Buscemi, a dentist with a remarkable journey in the field. The conversation dives deep into Vincent’s experiences, shedding light on his struggles, successes, and the invaluable lessons he’s learned along the way. 

Dr. Buscemi starts by sharing his early passion for dentistry and how it led him to dental school. However, he faced an unexpected setback when he was fired from his first job after only four days. This experience deeply impacted him, teaching him the value of resilience and the need to forge his own path. Rather than succumbing to discouragement, Vincent turned adversity into an opportunity. 

With determination, Vincent took a bold step by opening his own practice. The transition from being an associate to running his own clinic was challenging, marked by a steep learning curve. He recounts moments of self-doubt and acknowledges the importance of embracing imperfection and learning from failures. Vincent’s candidness in sharing his struggles paints a vivid picture of the resilience it takes to thrive in the demanding field of dentistry. 

As the conversation unfolds, Vincent reflects on the significance of family and personal connections. He emphasizes that the true value in life lies in cherishing loved ones and being present in their lives. This perspective has become the cornerstone of Vincent’s approach to both his personal and professional life. He shares how this mindset has not only enriched his relationships but also improved his overall well-being. 

Vincent’s commitment to authentic connections extends to his professional endeavors. He discusses the evolution of his practice and how word of mouth, coupled with targeted SEO marketing, contributed to its growth. Beyond clinical expertise, Vincent places high value on the human element, valuing his team as an extension of his family. 

Shawn highlights Vincent’s authentic and relatable approach, which resonates with many dentists and students alike. Vincent’s willingness to openly discuss the challenges of dentistry breaks down barriers, creating a more inclusive and supportive community within the field. 

The conversation turns towards Vincent’s venture into podcasting. He shares his journey, from earlier attempts to his current success with “The Vincent Buscemi Podcast: The Survival Guide for Dentists.” Vincent sees podcasting as a medium to connect with others, share experiences, and provide valuable insights to emerging dentists. 

Shawn commends Vincent’s high-level mindset and notes how some of the world’s most accomplished individuals took decades to arrive at a place of fearlessness and bold decision-making. He expresses admiration for Vincent’s authenticity and the positive impact he’s had on the field of dentistry. 

In closing, Vincent offers heartfelt advice to his younger self, emphasizing the importance of slowing down and appreciating life’s moments. Shawn expresses deep appreciation for Vincent’s work, thanking him for his courage and authenticity in making dentistry better. 

This podcast episode serves as an inspiring testament to Vincent Buscemi’s resilience, authenticity, and dedication to improving the field of dentistry. His journey from setbacks to success offers valuable lessons for anyone navigating their own professional path. 

Connect with Dr. Vincent Buscemi:
IG: @vincentdds
FB: @Vincent Buscemi

Podcast Transcript

Vincent Buscemi  00:00 

If there’s any new dentist listening or dental students, you have no idea how terrible of a condition you are when you graduate dental school. And it’s not because you’re bad or you’re stupid or you’re not trying hard. You just don’t have the reps and the hours and the experience in the handle anything coming your way. 


Shawn Zajas  00:22 

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? Okay, so super excited today, I get to be with Dr. Vincent, Buscemi. Dentist, and podcaster I absolutely love what you’re doing. But before I set you up, let me just say thank you so much for letting me interview you today. Oh, the 


Vincent Buscemi  01:07 

pleasure is all mine. Thank you for the opportunity. 


Shawn Zajas  01:10 

Okay, so Vincent, innovation, it can mean so many different things, right? There’s clinical innovation, there’s business model innovation, there’s there’s technological innovation that shapes dentistry. But before any of that happens, there’s some mindset or belief set in some crazy person that says, like, why not me? Like, why can’t I step up? And pioneer positive change? And that’s exactly what you’ve been doing. I am so curious. What was even your origin story getting into dentistry. 


Vincent Buscemi  01:44 

You know, I grew up very, very middle class. And if any of your audience grew up middle class, if you’re a business owner, or like any former doctor, you made it, some thinking like, if I can pull both off, I’m like king of the hill. And I really enjoyed my dentist as a kid. For me family’s everything. He had a good family, he didn’t have to travel, he owned a business. His patients loved him. And I was like, I could definitely do this job. And that was before I even knew what like science was I was like in fourth grade. So just seeing his life kind of put me in the direction of this may be a good career to go into. 


Shawn Zajas  02:25 

I’m I think that’s amazing. So simply because of the way he modelled being a good person seeming like he had his life in order, right, he cared about his family care about his patients. to you as a fourth grader, you’re like, Man that? I don’t know. I mean, I mean, you know, how formative I don’t know moments, circumstances, whatever can can shape us so much. But it’s interesting that it was a dentist, right? It wasn’t, it wasn’t just like the firefighter down the street or the policeman, it happened to be a dentist. Now, when you were in high school, were like did anything ever shift where you’re thinking that that may not be the case, and then it had to come back full circle, or were you just always thinking from then on, I’m a dentist, 


Vincent Buscemi  03:10 

no, came back full circle. I mean, in 10th grade, I thought maybe I go to the Professional MBA that got squashed, I got dropped from varsity. So there’s plenty of different alternative career paths in there. None of them panned out. And then I kind of came back to it where it was between medical doctor and dentist towards the end of my undergraduate career. I just saw medicine going in direction where I was like, that’s kind of a BS. I don’t think I can handle. I feel like there’s more independence and autonomy in the field of dentistry. So it came full circle like 10/15 years later, and then I went into dentistry. 


Shawn Zajas  03:46 

Well, I think you’re right about the independence and the autonomy. What shocked you when you first got into dentistry? Like like, from what you kind of had pictured what you expected? And then all of a sudden, boom, you get dropped in now, are you an associate your first few years like what was that intro journey like into dentistry? 


Vincent Buscemi  04:05 

Well, my first associate ship I worked for my childhood dentist, no, that’s amazing. So here’s what shocked me. And if there’s any new dentist listening or dental students, you have no idea how terrible of a clinician you are. When you graduate dental school and it’s not because you’re bad or you’re stupid, or you’re not trying hard. You just don’t have the reps and the hours and the experience in to handle anything coming your way. And I’ll be fully transparent about this. My first boss, my, my dentist, fired me after 18 months and said I had the least amount of clinical skills he has ever seen in any dentist that worked in his office. 


Shawn Zajas  04:55 

Wow. So so he’s okay. So it’s not about the know how it’s about And I actually, physically with my dexterity, like, in a surgical way, perform these procedures at a high fidelity. Now, did you were you like a tinkerer? Like as a kid, were you actually very mechanical or mechanically inclined. 


Vincent Buscemi  05:16 

Never the only thing that I’ve always had going for me, I can talk to anyone anywhere and connect on anyone at any level. And I wrongly assumed that purely people skills, which are very important, would get me through it. But although you’re not a dentist, you’ve had pride dental work, like, the work has to be pristine too. And in the beginning, it wasn’t. And it was like you can only be so we added so much bad work to where patients are getting upset with you, too. 


Shawn Zajas  05:48 

Okay, so did you see the writing on the wall? Or did that conversation come as a surprise? 


Vincent Buscemi  05:54 

Well, he was, I guess he was unhappy. He was very, I guess, I’ll put it this way. Because I don’t want to speak poorly of him. He was upfront from the beginning, where my skills were not where he wanted it to be. But kind of the breaking point came where he actually wanted me to buy his practice. And I knew clinically, I wasn’t ready. financially. I wasn’t emotionally, I wasn’t ready, either. And then that’s when he fired me. And the reasoning was, that I’m not clinically ready. The worst he’d seen, and it really wasn’t, I said no to buying his practice, but I’m sure it was a combination of both. 


Shawn Zajas  06:29 

Where do you go from there? All right. I mean, like, you’re 18 months out of dental school. This is your first go at it. And then all of a sudden, you hear from someone you respect, that you’re the worst clinical dentist that they’ve seen, like, like, what do you I mean, you must have felt terrible. 


Vincent Buscemi  06:49 

Well, this is embarrassing to admit, I think I was 27 or 28, called my mom, my parents are still alive, call my mom and I cried. My mom was 30. And I was like, I think I just went into the wrong career. Like, it’s not like, I’m a marketing director, and so on. So fires may go to another marketing firm. It’s like, I trained for one specific job. And I was told by somebody who’s good at their job, I’m terrible at my job, I can’t go back to school, I can’t do dental school again. So I went to a job, where I don’t see the stakes are lower. But I went to a job in a lower socio economic environment, where maybe the patients have less expectations. And I just worked in kind of a mill that built my confidence back up from the ground up there. 


Shawn Zajas  07:40 

Now now, did you approach it differently? Like, okay, like, I am going to 100% become a great clinical dentist, and I’m going to give everything to this, like, I’m no longer going to think that I can get by because I know how to connect, I know how to be relatable. And that is 100% like gold, Vince, that you have that skill. Like that’s an amazing skill. But all of a sudden, having to face yeah, but I also need this, this has to be foundational. Was Was that like another 18 months of getting your confidence? Or did it come out quicker than that? 


Vincent Buscemi  08:14 

I mean, I’m still getting my confidence. And I’m 10 years out of school, but it was like, I got fired from my job. I went home, my wife tells me she’s pregnant. And I’m like, Okay, this is like, the real world. Like, if I don’t get this straight, I gotta do something else. I have student debt. My wife’s an attorney, she had student debt. We weren’t rolling in the cash, the late 20s, we were rolling in debt. I thought to myself, like, you have to get in there and get really good, because I’ve always thought to myself, if other dentists can get good at this, I can too. Like, I’m not trying out for the MBA. I’m doing a technically advanced job that other people have also gotten good at. 


Shawn Zajas  08:55 

Yeah, I mean, I mean that that’s true. But I know like, there’s so much about the inner game. You know, whether it’s, you know, you’re on the playground, and you get picked last for for sports from your peers, or whether it’s the fifth or sixth girl you go up to and they find you like, like, just leave me alone. You know, that that sends signals to man, do I have enough? Do I have what it takes to you know, either be desirable to someone else or to be picked by my peers. And thankfully, I didn’t struggle in those areas. But for me it’s more like the sales side of things when I when it comes to actually like asking for someone to give me payment for my services. In my business. That’s been the biggest holdup in the last 15 years of my life. For you though it’s like yeah, clinical, clinical. I wouldn’t I wouldn’t even say excellence right? I would just say a standard of good clinical outcomes is what you were shooting for. And I think you realize that you couldn’t settle with not being good at that. What mindset? Do you feel like you learned in the process of going? Almost like to the ultimate low of being fired to all of a sudden, then to a place of like, did you How long did you stay in that mill? I guess? 


Vincent Buscemi  10:26 

About two years. And then I burnt out because it was, it was a Medicaid locations, all Medicaid, I don’t know how many patients you’ve seen a day, but you get enough reps in there. And basically, you said, how do you work on the internal game, you have to have enough wins in the external world, to give your internal world real confidence, because I can stand in front of the mirror and say, You’re the best dentists in the world. But it really doesn’t matter until I had good clinical outcomes. So basically, you have to be resilient enough to take the blows until those little small wins start piling up. And you have to record those wins. Okay, I hit every block today. No, we needed more numbing, or every crown I see did only need a couple adjustments, or every two they took out, only three route tips broke, you have to celebrate the tiniest wins. Not in a way of like everyone knows all about self care. It’s not what it’s about. What’s hard is recognizing that there are positive in your life that you’re probably passing up on, but you deserve to recognize them. 


Shawn Zajas  11:27 

Okay, so was that something that you kind of developed? Or do you think was always there, but you just tapped into it? 


Vincent Buscemi  11:33 

Always there because growing up as a kid, always positive, really never pessimistic. Didn’t really start until became a dentist. And then you’re really faced with objective reality. Because when you pull a tooth out, if only half the tooth comes out, and half the root tip is in their objective reality is telling you, you didn’t when you had to go back in there and get it out, then get that tiny little one right there. I think it’s always been inside me, 


Shawn Zajas  11:58 

man. Okay. Okay. So two years, you want out because you’re getting burnout. What’s your next step? What do you do? 


Vincent Buscemi  12:05 

Like a very, very lateral move, go to a corporation. That’s a PPL mill, burn out there. And then I land what I thought was the dream ideal partnership that’s going to set me up financially, emotionally, for the rest of my life. And I hit the jackpot. And it was a complete opposite. 


Shawn Zajas  12:28 

So it was working for with a what a private practice owner. 


Vincent Buscemi  12:34 

So it was me and two other private practice dentist, and we owned 1/3 of the practice each. And then I got to be very vague here, because this ended up in a huge lawsuit. They ended up doing things that weren’t on par with what how I wanted to do it. And I decided to leave the partnership. So this is a good piece of advice for all, anyone who goes into business. It doesn’t frickin matter what your contract says. What really matters is how much money do you have to enforce what your contract says? Yes, it’s very important to have a good contract. But you got to bring in a boatload of money to put that contract in front of a judge to get what you want. So they owed me a very large sum of money for my buyout. And when I told them, they owed me the money, they said, No. So I already have student debt. They owe me close to a million dollars. And then they said they were not going to pay me a dime. And then they kicked me out of the practice. So I have no income loans are coming in, mortgages coming in, I use basically liquidate all of my savings to fight them in the legal battle, just to get partial buyout out of the company. 


Shawn Zajas  13:55 

Oh my gosh, I mean, man, this is crazy talk about you. I mean, you can end up on the other side of this and not end up with resilience. Like I’m sure you had it before. But this is crazy. Like, what you’ve learned. With experience number one with you’re just not good enough, you know, experienced number two and three, which is I’m in a mill and this is not the patient care I really want to be giving. This is not the environment this is not really fulfilling for me. And then all of a sudden, this chance for the dream that turns nightmare really, really quick. Is everything wrapped up with that now or is it still in process? 


Vincent Buscemi  14:37 

It’s wrapped up now but it ended three years ago. Wow. And there’s a whole story that I can’t get into but yeah, it wrapped up and that was a mess. But later in my life, like worst things have happened. And a really puts a perspective on how minimal money is yeah, a million dollars is a lot. I don’t have a million dollars. But like, there’s money problems, and then there’s real problems. And most of my early phase of my career was this simple money problems. But I thought when I saw, I ended up losing around 200 to $250,000, which is a lot of money. And I thought, like, oh, man, life can’t get any lower than this. And that was dead. Wrong. And they got much worse. About a year later. 


Shawn Zajas  15:28 

Do you want to go there? I just I kind of just feel like, is it okay to go there? 


Vincent Buscemi  15:35 

Yeah, I’ve talked about it on my podcast before so it’s out there. If I tear up, I apologize. No, just so you, I get a, I get a phone call from my sister. And she’s crying. She’s crying. Say Maria, what’s wrong? She’s like, I have cancer. Oh, my gosh, shit. Okay. We’re young. She was stage four. I was like, how the hell do you have stage four cancer? Okay, what’s the next move? And she’s like, there is no next move its everywhere. And then my sister’s so. And I think right there. I’m like, Oh, my God. If I had 40 billion infinity dollars, I would lose all that to like, cure the cancer. And it really puts everything in perspective. And you think like, Oh, my God, you have these ups and downs. But like, there are real down you can experience. And that’s where the resilience comes from, where like all the other stuff is like such minor stuff. But that was like, that was a blow. And that was maybe 18 months ago. But the tears I have right now are actually Shawn, they’re tears of joy. Because two months ago, she was cancer free. And today, she is still cancer free. So by the grace of God, my sister beat stage four cancer. And all I could think of when she was going through the cancer was, I don’t care anything about money. Like you have five kids, I have four kids, if any of them got cancer or got sick, all that stuff is minor, you get fired from a job, who cares? You’re called the worst dentist, I don’t care if my kids are alive. So basically, what I learned and the like first eight to nine years of my career is the ups and downs don’t mean anything. Because what you really have in your life is the important stuff is still in place. That’s all that matters. So I’ve had some downs in my career. And I’ve built a shitload of resilience. But the biggest thing I built was, how to develop little bits of gratitude here and there that make everything worthwhile. 


Shawn Zajas  17:58 

What did you say your sister’s name was? Maria? Maria. I mean, some people get to the end of their life events. And they don’t ever get to live with that gratitude, because they don’t realize that lesson until the end. And by then it’s like, okay, so now you can just live in the shadow of regret knowing you missed out on the fact that you could have been enjoying your loved ones the entire time and cherishing them and recognizing that that that’s the plumb line right there. If you climb the mountains that you think are going to bring success, fame, fulfillment, and you get to the top and you look around and nobody’s there with you. So what? So what, you’re the richest man in the world, so what nobody cares, and no one’s with you. And there’s no one that gets to know you. And you can’t be known deeply. And if we’re not knowing others, and being known deeply by those that we care most about, like, yeah, what’s what’s the point? So the fact that you I’m sure you knew it, that’s why you you had a family. That’s why you have four kids. But for it to come front and center. I feel like that’s probably this unmovable, like foundation, that frees you up to just be like all the rest. It really doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. You know, you’re not, you’re not like a slave to money. Because you’re free. Whether you have a lot or not, you just get to now, probably move forward according to whatever dreams you have in your heart. 


Vincent Buscemi  19:30 

So true. I’ve always believed this, that the only thing in life that has intrinsic value is other people and yourself. But like it’s so easy to get blinded when you’re trying to climb, although it’s on a corporate ladder, the ladder of success because like you said, let’s say I finally get to the tip of the mountain, and nobody’s there, who cares? Or let’s say I make it to 50 and I’m worth $50 million. But the none of my kids want to talk to me. What a waste. So going through all that so funny. He immediately improved my marriage. It immediately improved, how mindful I am when I get home. So I’m on my laptop right now doing this podcast, I leave it at work. And when I go home, I only have one option. I go home, play with my kids, maybe change a few diapers, wipe their butts, and then hang out with my wife. I try to bring work home now as little as possible. And even with patients, I draw boundaries, they have my cell phone, but you really can only use it for emergencies. If you need something minor as eight at night, I’m not going to call you back. I’m with my family, and that’s the most important thing to me. 


Shawn Zajas  20:36 

Okay, so I’m out of the boat wiping stage seven. So I just realized, okay, so you’re young. You’re still in the midst of it. 


Vincent Buscemi  20:43 

Oh, my oldest is six. Dang. 


Shawn Zajas  20:47 

Wow. Four beautiful girls six and under. You’re busy. 


Vincent Buscemi  20:53 

Yeah, the youngest, are twin. So 265. My twins are three. 


Shawn Zajas  21:02 

That’s amazing. So yeah, my oldest is what 14 And again, youngest is seven. So I had five and six years. Okay. But right now my youngest is seven we can do like anything in life. Because we’re not we’re not quite in that place where they’re as dependent my oldest can babysit. You’ll, you’ll get there, man. But what a gift that you have four beautiful kids. And thank you so much even for sharing that story about about your sister, and just having the courage to share that having the courage to share everything you’ve said so far. Which is just so so honest, like so, so vulnerable. Is this even? Is this your tone the entire time on your podcast where you just kind of shoot straight.  


Vincent Buscemi  21:47 

So, I have interviews, and I do solo podcasts like once a week, and the biggest compliments I get. And when I get these compliments, I like read it to my wife, like I’m reading my report card to my mom. And as younger dentists or students reaching out saying, they feel so connected with how real I am on my podcast. So I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m not saying I do full mouth rehabs every day, I’m not producing 50 billion a month. They just say like your regular real dentists. It makes us feel good. And connecting with other people. Shawn, it lights me up is what gets me going. 


Shawn Zajas  22:24 

Well, I love what you’re doing then. Because I think that’s exactly what this this whole context is about. Like I started a podcast five years ago, or so. Time flies, called the authentic dentist and I loved podcasting. And I still do with my great friend who’s a dentist, Dr. Alison house, like such an inspiration. She’s probably the reason I’m still in dentistry. Because I almost gave up on dentistry a few years back simply because it was hard for me to connect with other dentists a I’m not a dentist, and be it was this whole like, Hey, how you doing? And everything was like I’m fine. I’m crushing it. I was just like, I don’t know if you are but for some reason, there’s this like ego. Now this is a this was more prevalent 10 years ago. And it’s probably still there to some extent right now. But I love that your voice is coming out and so many of my other friends and it’s just being like, hey, look, we don’t need to pretend like everybody’s crushing it dentistry sucks sometimes, right? Dentistry is hard. It’s messy. And that’s also what makes me come alive is getting to connect with people getting you know, so much of it for me, Vince comes from just the way I saw my mom and dad care about other people. You know, I’m sure it’s similar with you, like, you know, it’s probably similar to the way you were raised some of the giftings and talents you have, where you are just a people first person that just genuinely cares about people. 


Vincent Buscemi  23:55 

So I might do not compete. I’m sure their lawyers are still listening to this. So I find this practice, that’s fee for service. And if you’re a dentist and you’re not fee for service, you hear that phrase you think like jackpot, I did it, I finally made it and the fee for service. And I buy it from a really nice dentist, he was a really good dentist. But he was close to like 75/80 when he sold it. And what I didn’t realize, because I didn’t do enough due diligence because I wasn’t working anywhere. So I kind of had to buy a place fast, which is always stupid. And I didn’t realize all those patients for like, close to 100. So by the time I bought the practice, I feel like half the patients died and it wasn’t doing any work. I did it from all it was from old age. And another thing about fee for service. There’s just my opinion or my guess, is harder to transfer goodwill because it’s a less business model than more of like an individual relationship with patients. So A lot of the patients actually left the practice when he sent the letter out that he was leaving. So by the time I get there, there’s like seven patients left in this practice. I’m exaggerating, but there’s so little patients left, in this fee for service practice, the best investment you’ve ever made, right? But and and what I didn’t say, because I was waiting so long for my ex partners to pay me back on my first loan, the banks weren’t willing to give me a second loan for the second practice. And it was in that period of time, where home values skyrocketed. So the value of my house was artificially, I repeat stuff artificially inflated. So don’t tell the banks this, I took out a home equity line of credit, to which the banks told me not to go promise, you’re not going to buy a business to buy my second practice. So when I buy my second practice, I am like, more than $2 million in debt. And there’s like seven patients, oh, my gosh, shit, I gotta get to work.  


Shawn Zajas  26:08 

Seriously, this is like, crazy. This is your story. Now, this isn’t that long ago, right? No, that 


Vincent Buscemi  26:15 

was probably three, two and a half years ago. 


Shawn Zajas  26:19 

Okay, and when do when does something start? When does the sun come out and shine on your path? And you’re like, Oh, this is a great decision. I’m now consistently and profitably growing my practice. 


Vincent Buscemi  26:32 

So looking for that? No, I would say after about like, two years, what really starts to take effect is word of mouth. And I had really targeted SEO Marketing, on biomimetic dentistry. And those two things together. Now I’m really starting to see my new patient numbers monthly increase. 


Shawn Zajas  27:00 

Okay, so do you like the business side of dentistry? Or is it primarily the people relationships and clinical side? 


Vincent Buscemi  27:10 

If I had to rank all of it, I would say people first, business side second, and the actual clinical drilling fill last. 


Shawn Zajas  27:20 

Okay, so how is it? Because it seems like it seems like you’d be amazing to work for. So not just do you care about people that are patients? I’m sure you like run a rockstar team? Has that always been something where your I don’t know your kind of gift has translated that you’re also just great to work for? 


Vincent Buscemi  27:39 

Yes. And not like coming off arrogant. So no, no, no, just own it. Oh, all of my employees I have now are from other places. I’ve worked all unsolicited. But as soon as they found out, I set up shop, they all came in. So my hygienist who I’ve been with now for three years in my location I’ve known for a decade. And my assistants couple years are known for five, six years. So my staff is like my family. There’s pros and cons of that. But I have been so fortunate to have such Golden Heart well meaning hard working girls that work for me. 


Shawn Zajas  28:22 

Yeah, I know what you mean about the pros and cons. I run my business in a similar way where if you work for me, it just ends up feeling like family, like we even do some of our family traditions when we celebrate our employees birthdays, which is that we go around the table and we all say what we like about that person. And it’s something that started as a family tradition with my parents. And that’s just the way that we sew into our people. And the drawback is, you know, sometimes it’s harder to let someone go, if it’s the right time, or if it makes sense, because there is such a such a connection, you know, it becomes like almost personal. But to me the benefit is I have so many people that love the vision and they love the fact that we’re connected, building this thing together. And they feel that connection instead of simply an employee. So yeah, I have people that like poured their heart into it and ended up doing doing stuff off the clock simply because they’re just trying to help out maybe at night because something happened or the site broke and they stay up extra late trying to help out. Like, I just feel like you get people giving their best when they’re connected to the mission, the vision, the values, the leadership. And that all that all starts from just like Hey, I see you I acknowledge you as a human and I care about you and I feel like that’s probably exactly the type of leader you are. 


Vincent Buscemi  29:47 

It is and my staff always says that they will follow me and walk into the fire right behind me because they don’t know where we’re going. But they trust it wherever I take them will be safe and profitable and valuable and good for everyone. And honestly, they have the type of power or influence or positive influence over people that aren’t your kids. It’s a really good feeling. 


Shawn Zajas  30:13 

So, Vince, when the podcast went in this journey, were you like, Hey, I should podcast.  


Vincent Buscemi  30:19 

I started two and a half years ago. So I had a podcast with my brother in law’s like, three years ago. It was about like video games and comics, it was stupid. But it was so much fun. But yeah, we started, we started having kid they started and we just couldn’t do it. And I, there’s something about and I always talk about this on my podcast, there was something about interviewing, and doing a solo podcast, that like helps me piece the world together. It’s almost like when people meditate, or they do something that like, it almost like, reduces my internal stress. And I used to only do in person podcasts. So I’d invite people into my office, and we sit down to have a podcast, but that was getting too constraining. So we switched over to online, and then just kind of taken off from there. 


Shawn Zajas  31:09 

No, seriously, like, congratulations, even just taking that step. And recognizing I think that’s part of what I’m seeing in you is that you recognize who you are and the strengths that you have, and you play to your strengths, you know, what’s going to bring fulfillment, and what’s going to bring fulfillment for you, is authentic connections with other people. So instead of just trying to stay behind the scenes in the closet, just working on your dentistry, I think putting yourself out there in the industry just makes so much sense. And I could see why. If I was a dentist, I would love to follow what you’re doing simply. Here’s someone that’s not how not not trying to sell the best life now completely crushing it fake. You know, I’m the best dentist in the world, but more of like, Hey, I’m in the trenches. And chances are, you might struggle on some of the same ways that I do. And I think that makes you incredibly influential. And I think you have the heart to wield that power and influence for good. And I just I love that. That’s what you’re doing, like so what is next for events like Where? Where are you going? Up five years? 10 years? Like if there was a chapter of your book that is yet to be written? What would that chapter be called? 


Vincent Buscemi  32:28 

Public speaking. So right now, I graduated from University of Michigan, like bottom of my class, but some of the students talk Tom Brady. Exactly, minus the billions of dollars and good hair and everything. So one of the students there, she is a really popular podcast, I’m gonna say it wrong. These are the Dental Digest Podcast, or Download Dental podcast, her name’s Haley Schultz. Anyway, I was on her podcast, and we were talking back and forth. And I asked her if there’s any opportunities for me to speak at University of Michigan to the students. And she’s like, Yeah, so actually, later in September, I’m going to speak to the dental students at University of Michigan. And what I would love to do is kind of take this on the road and speak to younger dentist or students about my initial experience, because not that I’m unique. But I feel like my initial years of dentistry were kind of bumpy. And if I can tell people the story and touch them just a little bit, and make their life a little bit easier. That would be like my dream. You know, that new song that just came out by I think it’s either Oliver Anthony or Anthony Oliver, Rich Men North of Richmond. No. Okay. It says country singer, and he talks about how the government’s bringing us down. It’s so hard to achieve in America taxes too high. But like both sides of the aisle, love that song because it’s about how hard life is now, and everyone just wants to be heard. So if I can, like, tell people my story and they feel heard, that would be the next chapter of my book. 


Shawn Zajas  34:09 

Okay, so are you familiar with voices at dentistry? 


Vincent Buscemi  34:15 

Is that Elijah Desmond’s? 


Shawn Zajas  34:17 

Oh, no, no, that smiles to see voices dentistry. I don’t know if it’s still happening. Actually. I think they might have stopped but hopefully not. It’s it was a podcasters event every January where you actually bring your gear and you podcast live with other podcasters. So that that kind of just helps as far as like bringing the show on the road. The dental speaker Institute Vanessa Emerson, she helps anyone that really wants to get involved more with speaking in dentistry. There’s Sen which is speaker and consultant network network. Ryan vet that also helps for those that want to be more involved with speaking in dentistry. It’s clear you have a message and it’s clear that young for emerging dentists need to hear the voice that you have. Simply because it’s like, I feel like you’ve, you’ve walked a certain path. And it just makes so much more sense. If, like the value in that path is that other people don’t have to make the same mistakes, or maybe they could just learn a little bit quicker. And I think the person that learns the most the quickest wins, and I’m just so proud of you for just being out there and not being afraid of failure. Like the whole reason why I have this podcast events. So that my listeners that might be on the sidelines somewhere in their life, maybe they’re a dentist, but they know there’s more like, they know that you have another dream in between the lines of what mean, you’re saying they, they, they’re wondering like, Okay, well, is now the time because maybe they’ve been waiting for the perfect time, or maybe they’ve been waiting for when they’re ready. Or when their preparation is I don’t know what magical thing they’re waiting for. And my whole thing is like, hey, just start now, like take a step out now. Because failure isn’t truly a failure unless you give up if you keep moving and you keep going. Like no one that I’ve interviewed has ever said, I knew exactly that I was gonna get here today. They all said, I just knew enough to take a step. And I trusted that. And I never thought it would take me to where I’ve gone. And I love it. Like that’s the cool thing is just trusting. And just kind of having the courage to take the step from what clarity you have in front of you right now. I think you are going to rock it speaking. I mean already. Your podcast is amazing. I love the way you communicate. For me, it’s not that I’m Italian. I wish I was 


Vincent Buscemi  36:46 

 never too late. 


Shawn Zajas  36:49 

My mom 100% Hispanic so for me, it’s probably more the Hispanic side, my dad is some mix of Anglo Saxon European something. But yeah, the Italian part of you comes out and it is just a gift. It’s a gift to build. Okay, so tell me main main mindset over the last decade that you had to shed in order to get to where you’re at today. 


Vincent Buscemi  37:19 

The main mindset I had to shed has to be has to be perfect the first time? Or do you have to be perfect the 100th time, like you said, What’s preventing people from doing it. Like, you gotta know you’re in a sock in the beginning. But you’re solaces if you’re in the game, you’re winning. If you’re out of the game, you lose. And there’s so many people you hear this all the time. So the people in the stands, criticizing you. But then the stands for a reason, right in the game. If you’re in the game, you’re getting dirty, even if your first 1000 sock. If you’re still alive, that’s the best if you’re still alive, you can still have a chance to win. So they want to have to shout as you’re not going to be perfect for a very long time. And that’s okay, maybe we’ll never get there. But just keep trying. 


Shawn Zajas  38:09 

I seriously feel like you have such a high level elite mindset. And it’s amazing. I feel like some some of the world’s greatest. It took decades to arrive at that place of not not being afraid of overcoming perfectionism, rejection and just being willing to make bold moves and you’ve made some bold moves Vince, like some bold moves. I don’t know I just You have such an inspiring story. Okay, so right now if someone wants to connect to what it is that you’re doing and be part of your tribe, where do you want their eyeballs to go? 


Vincent Buscemi  38:45 

My Instagram is at Vince DDS. Or check out the podcast, the Vincent Buscemi podcast, the survival guide for dentist. It’s on everything. Spotify, YouTube, Apple, Google Play. 


Shawn Zajas  38:58 

So when are you coming out with a book? I feel like there’s a book in you. I mean, it couldn’t even just be your story of like, Yeah, from from like getting fired to getting sued. I guess you didn’t get sued. You sued them. Right? Correct. 


Vincent Buscemi  39:12 

But even suing them I felt like I was being sued. I lost so much money. 


Shawn Zajas  39:20 

I mean, because there’s a from lawsuit to getting fired. You know, I’m just what a story arc that you’ve had. And yet you have this smile on your face of like, I don’t know it. Everyone has a choice. You know, you can get better, or you can get better and I feel like that’s you’ve just chose to get better every time. 


Vincent Buscemi  39:37 

Thank you. And you said before, the reason why people might be attracted to me is because I don’t ask I’m living the perfect life. But the reason why I am smiling, because I am living the perfect life. After this podcast. I’m gonna go home, kiss my wife, kiss my girls. Probably have a steak. That’s the perfect life. So I am killing it. I am. And that’s why I’m smiling because, like, today’s perfect, I get to talk to you. This is such an awesome podcast. So I’m living the perfect life and anyone out there that’s still alive and is still doing it. You’re also living the perfect life. So we should all be smiling. 


Shawn Zajas  40:17 

Okay, so I just have to be honest right there. Like that convicts me so much. Because for so long, Vince, I’m like, Okay, God gave me this amazing wife, this amazing family. But I need to get to some destination where I can be crushing it so I can take care of them the right way. And I keep putting that off into this. This distance of like, when when I’m finally like, I don’t know, what what do I have to be making in order to feel like I’ve arrived so that I can finally just take care of them? Well, instead of just giving them the best I can now and appreciating them in like, every moment like I have a 14 year old. Do you know crazy? Do Time flies? What do they say the days are long, but the years fly by? 


Vincent Buscemi  41:03 

Yeah. Oh my gosh. 


Shawn Zajas  41:06 

And that’s true. Like it is exhausting. Some days are, it seems like they never end. But all of a sudden you blink an eye and you’re like, oh my gosh, like because your oldest is six right now. Yep. Yeah, before you know it, she’s gonna be 16. And I oh my god, I’m just so in awe of the fact that you’ve just distilled you have such a grounding in you to know, hey, this is what matters most. I am ridiculously successful, I have arrived. I have everything that I need. And then everything else along the way. It’s just gonna be gonna be a joy. It’s extra, you know, it goes on top. I completely receive that. So like getting the interview is just been a gift to me. Because I feel like it helps. Everything I feel like I should be doing or I should know. But sometimes I just let I don’t know. I don’t hold on to it as much. Man, like, Thank you. Thank you so much. Okay, so do you know what the last question is? 


Vincent Buscemi  42:03 

No, I do not. 


Shawn Zajas  42:05 

Okay, so events, you’re walking down the street. And off in the distance you see 18 year old events. And you know, you just have one moment to communicate a sentiment to him. What do you share? 


Vincent Buscemi  42:21 

Dan, that’s such a good question. It would be slow down. To slow down because at events, his only concern was, I need to be a millionaire by 30. And like, what a wrong way to direct yourself. If I saw him, I’d say listen, man. You’re gonna have some ups and downs. But in the end, you’re gonna when you slow down, kiss your family. It will be okay. 


Shawn Zajas  43:02 

You’re a baller. You’re a boss, you’re a rock star. Like it isn’t so easy to honor you, as an innovator as a pioneer. I love what you’re doing. It’s because you have this heart. That’s just, it’s true. It’s real. And when you break it open and live from that place, it moves people and you let people know that that they matter. So like seriously, thank you for having the courage to be you. And thank you for using just those gifts that you’ve been given to just make dentistry better. I I’m such a fan of you, man. I’m in your corner. 100% Thank you so much for letting me interview you today. 


Vincent Buscemi  43:43 

Thank you so much. I had a good time. Thank you. 


Shawn Zajas  43:48 

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