Releasing the Dragons: Solutions for Overcoming Fear and Fostering Innovation with Dr. Eric Roman 


Podcast Summary

In this podcast episode, Eric Roman, a dental entrepreneur and thought leader, engages in a candid conversation with host Shawn Zajas. The discussion delves into Eric’s personal journey, philosophy on success, and the innovative approach he’s developed to help individuals find fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives. 

Eric begins by reflecting on two guiding principles that have shaped his outlook on life. The first principle centers around the idea of achieving long-term sustainable success, which extends beyond monetary gains. He emphasizes the importance of identifying one’s unique qualities and owning them, as they serve as a distinct differentiator that cannot be replicated. The second principle revolves around embracing challenges and difficulties, seeing them as opportunities for growth and learning. Eric shares a personal anecdote about a moment of crisis on a train, where he realized he needed to confront the life he was living rather than take an easy way out. 

As the conversation progresses, Eric and Shawn touch on the topic of parenting and trauma. They challenge the notion of shielding children from negative emotions, advocating instead for a more authentic and open approach to parenting. Eric acknowledges that trauma is an inevitable part of life, and it’s through these experiences that individuals develop resilience and strength. He introduces the concept of the “authentic trauma model for parenting,” where parents embrace their imperfections and allow their children to witness and navigate those complexities. 

Shawn emphasizes the value of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and actively participating in life, rather than remaining on the sidelines to avoid potential pain or disappointment. He encourages listeners to embrace challenges and see them as opportunities for growth and learning, emphasizing that true wisdom and resilience are cultivated through experience. 

Eric expands on his journey towards greater visibility and shares that he only recently ventured into social media platforms, overcoming initial fears of making mistakes or being judged. He highlights the importance of being true to oneself and delivering value to others without the need for external validation. 

In a pivotal moment, Eric introduces his latest endeavor, the “One Life Circle.” This program, set to launch in November, is designed for healthcare entrepreneurs seeking to integrate their personal and professional lives. It offers a structured approach to finding intentional outcomes in various aspects of life, from relationships to self-discovery. 

The episode concludes with Shawn playfully teasing Eric about a fictional award and commending him for his innovative thinking and intentionality in approaching life. Eric reciprocates the sentiment, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to share his insights. 

In summary, this podcast episode with Eric Roman provides a profound exploration of redefining success and fulfillment in dentistry and beyond. Through personal anecdotes and thoughtful reflections, Eric encourages listeners to embrace challenges, be authentic in their parenting and personal journeys, and find purpose in every moment. His innovative approach offers a pathway to holistic fulfillment, challenging conventional notions of success. The episode serves as an inspirational call to action for individuals seeking to lead more intentional, purpose-driven lives. 

Connect with Dr. Eric Roman:

Podcast Transcript

Eric Roman  00:00 

I never wanted to be at the will of somebody else’s system. You know, I didn’t want to be I didn’t want my career staked on seniority. I didn’t want my career staked on things that I couldn’t control. So that was a big piece for me, Sean is that, like Master master of my own domain? In a sense, 


Shawn Zajas  00:21 

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 I could not be more excited today I have the opportunity to interview Dr. Eric Roman. Eric, before I set you up. Let me just say, thank you so much for letting me interview you, 


Eric Roman  01:03 

Shawn. Do you know what, I’m just thankful we get to hang out for a little bit and just just do the thing? Isn’t that what life’s all about? 


Shawn Zajas  01:15 

It is it is. And innovation can mean so many different things. Eric, right. There’s like clinical innovation. There’s technological innovation, there’s business, model innovation, but at the heart of all of it. There’s some crazy person like you, that’s like, why not me? Why can’t I step up and lead? Why can’t I pioneer positive change? Activating 


Eric Roman  01:38 

myself, Shawn? Yeah, yes, motivating me? 


Shawn Zajas  01:43 

Well, I can’t wait to hear all about that. Because I did this podcast, Eric, because I believe that to the left, and to the right of me. There’s all these people that are with me and with you advancing dentistry. But there’s also these vacancies where people are still on the sideline, because they’re second guessing. They’re wondering if it’s the right time, they’re wondering what happens if all of a sudden they step out and look like an idiot. And because of that they’re not at that trade show. They’re not at the networking event. Or they’re not. They didn’t start their YouTube channel, you know, and we don’t know what synergy could happen yet, because they’re still playing it safe. And that’s why I have this podcast to share and activate them. Right, right. And stories, like yours that can encourage and inspire. So how the heck did you even get into dentistry? Eric, 


Eric Roman  02:33 

who, you know, you know, Shawn, I did not want to be a dentist originally. My my general dentist, when I was a kid, every time I went in there, he was always like, Eric, you should be a dentist. And I look up and I’d be like, no, no, I shouldn’t. I thought I was going to be a doctor. Or for some reason. I don’t know why I thought I was going to be like, a psychologist. Maybe because I was crazy. Um, but then all of a sudden, I’m like, 17 years old getting ready to go to college. And the dentist says, Hey, man, you gotta get your wisdom teeth out. Thinking No, no, this doesn’t sound right. I don’t have a whole lot of dental needs. Wisdom teeth that wasn’t on my agenda. And yet, I did, and had an awesome experience. And I said to the oral surgeon, I was like, hey, this was pretty cool. Like, that was my way of telling him. Thank you. This was cool. He’s like, Oh, why don’t you come work for me this summer. And I thought it sounds better than racking shoes at footlocker, which is what I was currently doing. And so I did, and the rest was history. Turns out I didn’t know it, but I loved like, nasty surgery type stuff. I liked like fun. Teeth flying everywhere going into OR. I loved all that stuff. And, and I realized, well, well, maybe this dentistry thing can work out pretty good for me, because these guys seem pretty content in general. And so that was it. And that kind of charted the course. And yet, didn’t look anything like I thought it would. 


Shawn Zajas  04:25 

So for those that don’t know you, Eric, I had the pleasure of seeing you speak on stage at the DEO. What was it this past July? 


Eric Roman  04:33 

I think that was the do. That was the 2023 DEO growth summit in San Diego, California at the Hyatt grand 


Shawn Zajas  04:42 

and hearing a little bit about your story. I feel like you are not cut from the same cloth of as most dentists that may be are little bit more timid about going for things or may not embrace even the entrepreneurial visionary type stuff with us. much ease. And it seems like you are just that pioneer and innovator that that doesn’t. I don’t know. Like, did you know that growing up that that you had that entrepreneurial bug? Like, was that something that you just grew up in? You’re like, Okay, this is me, and I’m going to express that in dentistry, or did you discover that later? 


Eric Roman  05:17 

That’s it. That’s a really good question. I, as I look back at, you know, first, the way that you just described to me, like sound very sound very cool. I was like, wow, I want to hang out with that guy. And 


Shawn Zajas  05:31 

me, too. I do too. So I’m just happy I get to, 


Eric Roman  05:35 

like, Dude, you’re describing now I was like, Oh, he’s describing you. And I was like, Well, you know, what’s funny, Shawn is how different the guy is that the guy or the gal that we see in the mirror? You know? And when you said that, like, I was looking at the proofs for your points there. And as I looked at it, I was like, oh, yeah, that kind of matches up pretty well to my life. But then I just looked in the mirror and I was like, but is that really you work? So first, I have had a very different journey. My entire I have been kind of aggressively entrepreneurial. I did not appear that way. As a kid. I but I was outside the box. I was like, I had an inventor or innovators mindset. Like, I’d say it another way, like, total freakin dreamer, dude. Like my head spent 24 hours a day in the clouds. And then when I went to like, I was in the clouds all day. And when I went to bed, I went back into the clouds, you know, so there was a piece of it there the imagination side of things, which isn’t, isn’t a requisite for being a visionary or anything like that. But I had that big. I had a big vision for life. Do you know another thing, Shawn? Boxes were not built for me. Like, I’ve had this thing in my entire life where I break boxes. And the most functional place for me to operate is one foot in the box and one foot out. But at the end of the day, I don’t like feeling like I’ve been put in a box. Maybe there’s I was an only child. Maybe that had something to do with it. Because I had to like I had nobody to play with. So it’s like, Hey, what are you doing? Wow, no way I can think of some really fun stuff. Well, let’s jam out and do some cool. So maybe my imagination got fueled by some of my like alone time, I’m really at peace thinking, like, I’m really in a good spot there. And so I imagined a bunch of crazy crap for my life. And I was pretty bent on achieving it, you know, if anything was there, I was bent on bent on accomplishing some of these grandiose ideas, these column moonshots, or massive transformational purposes, or whatever they are. But I had no idea where this little journey would lead me my entire career has been group practice. Everything about me as group practice, or DSO and my essence relative to the dental industry. And honestly, I only practiced full time clinical dentistry for about five or six years. Wow, I truthfully, I cut back the first time, at year three, my third year of private practice, I cut back. But that didn’t turn out so well on my profit and loss statement. So I had to go back in and that practice a little bit more full time to like, help things go, but then I have effectively cut back and I was completely non clinical at in 2013, which was, that was effectively six years. So six years, I was no no, I’m sorry. 2018. So I practiced I practice part time for about four years. And then I became a non clinical CEO for a while, so not the most, not if you had told the little dude that was saying, Hey, I’m going to be a dentist. You told him Yeah, but you’re barely going to practice as a dentist, you’re going to be more in depth, like building multi locations and educating other dentists how to be great and all that I never would have known. So I didn’t come from an entrepreneur family. That’s a question that you should have asked Shawn, you should have said, 


Shawn Zajas  09:23 

I was gonna interrupt you. I was gonna say So did your mom or your dad, right? Because like, my dad is an entrepreneur, left corporate job, and then all of a sudden, I got to see him in action. Again, breaking boxes not being defined going against norms, causing disruption. And I was just like, I thought models were you. It sounds like your parents never took those risks. And yet, 


Eric Roman  09:48 

we’re in the box. They were actually they were beaten down by the box, both in the airline industry a pilot and a flight attendant if you know what those careers are like. It’s all seniority based, my dad could have been the best pilot on earth. And he could have been the worst pilot on Earth. And nobody gave a crap except what people flying in his plane that day. Right. And so his future was based solely on the day he joined an airline. And honestly, he got screwed his entire career, like literally, at every opportunity where when two airlines would merge, it could go good, or it could go bad. It went like worst. And so his entire career was like, getting hosed by the man. Oh, regulation kind of screwed us here. Oh, the CEO, the company made a bad decision. Ah, and that was what I saw. And so even though I didn’t have entrepreneurship, modeled for me, and by the way, my grandparents were the same way. My My grandfather was a was a pilot, my grandmother was like, was a flight attendant. And in truth, I just realized, I don’t even know what my other grandfather my other grandfather built houses, you know, and, and so. 


Shawn Zajas  11:02 

So Eric, you were meant to fly, though. You were meant to soar? 


Eric Roman  11:05 

I was. I was. I was supposed to fly. Yeah, that was it. So I took the best part of it. And I’m supposed to fly at something and go high. Maybe get high. Is that what No, we shouldn’t go. But I was supposed to. I was supposed to do something. And, and yet, I learned this lesson of I never wanted to be at the will of somebody else’s system. You know, I didn’t want to be I didn’t want my career staked on seniority. I didn’t want my career staked on things that I couldn’t control. So that was a big piece for me, Shawn, is that like, Master master of my own domain In a sense 


Shawn Zajas  11:46 

Okay, so but it sounds like you’re the one foot in one foot out, break the box, have these big dreams? But like, when did that actually crystallize more? Because to me, dentistry, is the establishment in some way. So I’m just saying if like young Eric’s going into dentistry, were you able to see early on? Man, I can I can pioneer something different? Or did you think that you had to stay in the box early until you saw that, that spot for you to all of a sudden go for it. 


Eric Roman  12:17 

When I when I went into when I said I was going to be a dentist, I didn’t really know what I was saying. And so I was like, Well, I better figure out what this career is like. So I started working in more dental practices. And I started ordering magazines like dental economics, and all these magazines are written about all this stuff. And while let’s say I wasn’t perhaps the most decorated dental student. But I mean, I wasn’t bad, I recognize that there was a portion of the material that was actually really important for my patients, I needed to understand what I was doing and be good at it. But past that, it was about getting a better grade not about being more effective, in a sense. And I took all that extra time while everybody else was studying. And I was like learning about the world of dentistry. I was, it was exciting. For me, that was one of my first forays into like private business. And I’m like, I was learning about entrepreneurship. I ended up doing a whole minor in you know, in business when I was in college. And so I’m like really falling into this and thinking, there’s some really cool stuff that’s not about dentistry, it’s not about teeth. And so, when I was getting to the point of graduation, I had a really deep set of knowledge about like the innovations of the industry where the industry was going. I was kind of into that stuff that was exciting to me. It was more exciting. Listen, do you think changing that much? You know, like, it’s not like it’s not like there’s and yeah, there’s there’s some innovation in our technology, but honestly, here I am. I graduated what 15 years ago from dental school. I look back like dentistry still pretty close to the same like, oh, you know, CAD CAM, oh, well, it was getting started when I graduated. Now a lot of people are doing it, but still not everybody. That’s the innovation cycle. And so I was looking at innovation more so in practice delivery, the type of practice things like that, and then I had like, I had a moment Shawn really, really small, you know, small world story. There’s this guy people have heard of in dentistry. His name was Scott Luna, right like breakaway practice breakaway. And but back then, he was just a dude on dental town. He was a dude on dental town and there was another guy. Ryan Swain, who started six months smiles back in the day. And they decided, hey, we both done things outside the box. We’re going to start a little seminar. It was the very first breakaway practice seminar. They did it in Tampa, Florida. And like six people showed up and I was one of those six people. And so I showed up there like, I mean, just from some posts on dental town, I’m like, I don’t know I’ll go do it. And you know what they Did they took my head? That was and it wasn’t intentional, but I know that they’ve done for a lot of people. My head was like, I don’t want to be in the box. And they kind of said, you don’t have to be in the box little fella. Like 


Shawn Zajas  15:14 

they gave you permission to be you. 


Eric Roman  15:18 

Yep. And so I came out of there with like, a whole firecracker in my butt of all the things I’m going to do, and it never turned off. And so that was like my tipping point moment. I think I was in residency at the time, it was like, it was like,  06/07, I was in a residency program. And and yeah, and I flew down there. And I didn’t even know what my future was going to look like. After that, I had a pretty darn good idea of what my future was going to look like. And you know, something that I’ll that I’ll say, Now, Shawn, is that, you know, you’re looking at right now you’re looking at Eric Roman version 4.0, I just transitioned into 4.0, I cataloged my life, based on the versions of me. And so, version 1.0 of Eric was like that, like started in a sense, at that moment at breakaway with with Scott and with Ryan, as well as like, oh, here we go. And so I rode that wave for quite a while and then then we’ve gone through some more evolutions as we’ve gone on. So there’s kind of some background into the aircrewman story. 


Shawn Zajas  16:29 

So I’m curious how much you’re human like the rest of us when it comes to? I want certainty. I’m taking a step. I’m hoping there’s some sort of market guarantee that that’s going to align with what my preparation is of what my plan is, with what I’m executing. Was that ever something that was debilitating or made you pause? Or, or made you like, impostor syndrome? Like, oh, shit, sorry. Like, I don’t know, this is like, beyond me, and I love it. Like was that attention that you embrace? And loved and decided to just like, Be okay with the uncomfortable? Or was that not even really present? 


Eric Roman  17:14 

Dude it’s all over the place. It’s still present right now. And just my transition from three point 10.16 of Eric Roman into 4.0. 


Shawn Zajas  17:24 

It sounds like a developer like releasing a new software model. I love that 


Eric Roman  17:27 

documented man. Like there’s like you gamify your life. This is what it sounds like. gamify all of it right? You know what I’m really doing this I’m documenting my life so that I can look back and I can honor who I was and learn from those pieces give thanks. And like, really appreciate them. As I move on to something different, though, like a new mindset that shifting So dude, like even today? I want everybody to know how loud those voices are. I call them dragons. Like, you know, like dragons are loud in my life, impostor syndrome, it for me around every single corner, it comes up like I deal with this stuff continuously. And what I really like about what you said, Shawn, you know, I don’t remember when I heard it. I think it was back early on, everybody. Everybody has this false concept of entrepreneurship, that it’s risky. It’s actually not entrepreneurs, tend to be some of the most risk averse people. It’s calculated risk. In other words, it’s like, Listen, I’ve, on one hand, it’s like, I haven’t looked at the water. I’m just jumping off the cliff, right? That’s not entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs, like, they look, they they calculate, they think about it 25 times, they run some numbers, and they have a backup plan, or maybe a second one, right? Like, and that was do. That’s why it was a dentist. So do you know what I actually said, as I was kind of getting through dental school, I realized, thankfully, like by grace, I had picked the best career because crap hits the fan, man, I got a skill. I can make money with my hands, you know. And so I can like, do whatever pop things out like a backup plan right now go use it. But all the kids that went to like MBA or that went to business school, and then an MBA program and all this stuff, do you know how long the road is going to be for them to get to the point where they run a million dollar business? I had one immediately, I showed up and I had a million dollar business. So it was a accelerated road to entrepreneurship with a ultimate backup plan to keep me safe. And so that’s what I love. And even right now, I just pivoted again. I’m just I’m like in Pivot mode right now. I’m like, ooh, this has been fun. It’s time for something new. I’m scared out of my pants deep down inside. But you know what’s interesting and like one of the things I been teaching people is that even though the circumstances like in 1.0 to 2.0 scares crap 2.0 to 3.0 scares crap 3.0 4.0 scared again, right? The circumstances look the same from the outside. But this guy isn’t the same. The voices in the dragons. They sound. They’re like they’re like chirping in. I’m like, ooh, I’ve heard that sound before. Yeah, oh, I’ve heard that. But I’m realizing right now like, oh, sweet little dragons think I give a crap. They don’t know who they’re messing with. Now, I’ve been through this cycle many times. And so, you know, yes, I am scared to death at every point. I’ve learned how to address the voices. And I’ve learned and I build great. I am a strategist at things. I am a life strategist like so I build strategies to protect me. Did that answer your question, Shawn? 


Shawn Zajas  21:00 

Okay, so there’s just so much you said there, Eric, first of all, to the listeners, if they missed the gold, you dropped gold. And that is this whole backbone of you’re a dentist or a hygienist or someone in dentistry, and you have a ridiculously good backup plan. It is a very stable industry. People need it, you don’t have to, you’re not pioneering a brand new market, where no one knows they need something like an Uber where you’re trying to convince people to use their own personal cars to be glorified taxi drivers. Were where it’s like, oh, people aren’t looking for you. You’re you’re a dentist, or a dental professional. And you’re already needed. So I just love that it’s kind of almost like gets rid of the whole, like, what do you got to lose? Like you can make money doing not changing anything but good 


Eric Roman  21:51 

money? Great money, right? I mean, it’s even better, dude. Even in the zombie apocalypse, I got skills, bro, like, who you want me on? You want me on your team in zombie apocalypse, I’ll be there. You know, I got surgical skills, I got all the things. 


Shawn Zajas  22:06 

I love that. And I was gonna say at the same exact time. If there’s someone that realizes, hey, there is a book in me, or there’s a stage that I belong on, or there’s a movement that I need to be leading. That’s where I’m like, like, go for it. Like, there’s no better time than the now. I love Eric that you continue to play. Okay, so you have your like, arena of what is possible that you keep expanding, you keep being like, Okay, I thought that was possible with version one. And then now all of a sudden that I know what’s possible in version two, man, it’s like, there’s so much more freedom, there’s so much more opportunity. Now, I’m guessing there’s really nothing that you don’t think that you can partner with or accomplish or do if you set your mind to it. But at the same exact time you’re playing your strengths. You know, I’m a strategist. This is what I bring to the table. This is the gift that I’ve been given. And you play to that strength, not just a strength that gives you a competitive advantage. But one that also gives you fulfillment at the same time. Amazing. That’s a blueprint for innovation, you need to line up what the market cares about. And what is your gift, what makes you come alive. So you love getting out of bed now, from version one to version four. Is there one or two mindsets that either you needed to embrace to get to where you’re at, or a mindset or two that you needed to shed so that you could arrive where 


Eric Roman  23:31 

you’re at? Yeah, I mean, you know, a lot of what I live in his mindsets, every quarter I like as part of my personal operating system, I adjust my mindsets to suit where I’m at. So there have been a lot that I’ve cycled through. Going at 1.0 1.0 was really interesting, because 1.0 is just trying to prove who He was in the world. He was trying to like validate who he was. He wanted people think he was awesome. It was so ego base. It was so ego based and it was so monetarily based it was how big of a company can I build at cetera, et cetera. And so the 1.0 to 2.0 shift was a really big one. Because it opened up the question of who am I really, if I pull away from me the validation of it. The truth is, Shawn, most of us validate ourselves by our occupation in our work. And yet, oftentimes, when you look at where that comes from, it’s not from us. It’s from our schools that we went to our society the movies that we see the articles that we read, the people that we look up to our parents, like, I just want you to be a doctor, sweetie. Like, I’d be so proud if you are 


Shawn Zajas  24:57 

 And is that how you Mom actually sound access.  


Eric Roman  25:01 

And that was actually it was actually my grandma. That was my grandma. I loved it really old now. So I give her grandma voice it works out great. But um, but you know, when I when I, when I got to that point it because here’s the thing, man like, you’ve heard my life story like I crashed and burned as I was the cycle of building the big business looked awesome on the outside to everybody. Everybody thought, wow, Eric, like look at what you’ve built look at all the things it’s so great. And what I felt was, yeah, but I’m miserable. Like, yeah, I don’t, I’m not happy with where I live. I’m not happy with a man that I am the father that I am apparently, 


Shawn Zajas  25:40 

achievement, but fulfillment is down here. 


Eric Roman  25:45 

Exactly right. And yet, I was doing the thing that everybody told me I should do. I was like winning the awards. And so that moment, I realized you’ve accomplished what you set out to accomplish. And yet, you missed everything that you really wanted from it. And I say three things like fulfillment, but fun. And then also for me a measure of freedom. And freedom can be many, many things. It can be time freedom, it can be monetary freedom, it can be emotional freedom. I’m excel in life right now, as I go through these versions, I’m expanding those freedoms, I’m choosing the freedoms I want. And I’m adding more than men. And honestly, I had none of those. I wasn’t fulfilled. I had zero freedom, I was tied to what I could do. I could never take a vacation. If I got sick, like everything was gonna fall apart. And you know what, when you started looking all that wasn’t fun. And it had been fun for a little bit. But there was something else that was missing relative to fun. It was fun in other places in my life. Like, I didn’t have friends. I literally had no friends. And I wasn’t having fun with my family. My family was becoming like, I’d really like to spend time with them, like, you know, but like, it’s so hard for me to take time away from this business. This is what gives us the house. So like, what do I there just wasn’t a concept of having any fun. So yeah, man, like it was the transition number one was, Eric, this isn’t who you are 1.0 and all the versions of it now. Yeah, it was it probably one point 10 That too. It’s like this isn’t you, man. This is not who you are, it’s time for you to figure out a little bit more of who you’re going to be. So that was the first big shift. Who am I really? Who am I really, if I’m not going to define myself by my career. And that’s a hard shift. That’s like the, because then when I the way, hey, Shawn, go write a book for me, please. On when you’re trapped inside a business, you don’t want to be in and you don’t know who you are. Do it without throwing the whole thing away. Okay. The only answer most of us have is to exit. Like, that’s a thing i Dude, I coach, I coach multilocation entrepreneurs, you don’t know how many times a month I get the phone call, like Eric, I’m done. I just went out. I just went out, right? That was me. And so I pulled the parachute and I was out. And then you’re floating silently in the sky. And you have no idea where you’re going to land or what’s next. That is not easy. Not easy. And I can make some arguments. It’s not fun. I wish I had another option. And you know, other than pulling the parachute? So I’d say that’s the big one big transition is, Who am I really? Then the second big transition, Shawn. It’s not like you wake up and you’re like, Oh, this is who I am. It’s a process. And you know, the other cool thing is that at least what I teach is that who we are is dynamic, I change the time, you know, like me news, like my body changes, my brain changes, my desires change my life changes. And so once I started to figure out periodically Timperley who I was, then a new question came up. And it was how can I get better at being me then? What am I doing with what I’ve now discovered? That’s like the back the next second first evolution? Who am I really second evolution? What the heck are you going to do about it now that you know? And so if I look at like an up here, I have this black? I have this? Well, it’s a black whiteboard. So is it a blackboard, but it’s not chalk, so don’t get that confused. I’ve got my Blackboard up here. And I have my mindsets like written down and my mindsets and I’ve just switched so like, they’ve just transitioned but looking at them, they were really me saying to me, alright, buddy, you know that what you’re in isn’t working in a sense. So what are you going to do about it? And that’s where the mind sales came from. So yeah, chew on that. 


Shawn Zajas  30:03 

So I, I’ve interviewed a lot of people, and not many of them are so apparently also like a philosopher. And I don’t think that, again, is tied to like being an entrepreneur, like you don’t have to be a philosopher, you don’t have to think deeply about your mission, your why your identity and who you are you you can just live the hack, be great at certain, you know, leadership techniques or finding leverage and strategically just blowing it up and making lots of money. But yet, I find, like, Great, yeah, right. And yet I find here you are the entrepreneur, the visionary, but you’re also this person that’s, that’s wrestling with. Yeah. But like, why am I here, if I can reach success, in the way that I used to define it in the way that most people define it, and somehow I feel empty? Well, then there’s more. And, like, praise God that you figured that out, just for the sake of your wife and your kids. Like they, they deserve for you to not just climb that mountain, but realize, okay, this is not actually the right mountain, I want to be on the top of and let me adjust. Like, thank God, you didn’t, I don’t know just get depressed or I don’t know just get numb, numbed, out lose heart, and just keep going, you know, put your head down, keep going and lose yourself. Like, that takes so much courage, Eric to face when all of a sudden you look in the mirror and you’re like, Yeah, this I’m not aligned right now. I feel like I should be happier. 


Eric Roman  31:46 

But I’m not like, that takes courage. There’s a lot of truth inside of that, you know, so one of my values, as I’ve discovered me has been courage. And, and, and there’s a, there’s a reason for it. It was part of my history before I discovered that it was there. Right? I discovered that it was part of like, naturally how I want to who I want to be in how I’m going to exhibit myself. But you know, the pains always there Shun. Winning and success are really crappy teachers. They’re poor teachers. As the irony, though, is that what do we want to do? I want to win baby, like, give me success. The easy way to get there. That’s fine. But you know, unfortunately, a lot of my decisions took me down a road of pain. And pain is an extraordinary teacher. Pain is that thing that? I mean, I remember nights, man, like in my story. I remember, I was not sleeping in my bedroom with my wife, I was sleeping in the upstairs bedroom. And we can talk about a million reasons why. Just No, I wasn’t welcome in my room downstairs as I shouldn’t have been. And my world was collapsing. And I mean, I remember like crying like sobbing on my pillow, like thinking, I don’t know what’s next. And yet, the pain inside those moments, like life offers us a choice, right? Like, you can use that pain inside of that moment. And you can be defined by it, and just say, This is who I am. Now, I’m a failure. Because I’ve done all these horrible things, or it’s failed. Or instead of being defined by it, you can be refined by it. And I remember what it felt like lying there. And remember the tears and like I was wallowing in my own self pity, like you make Oh, like, Oh, if I could only go back and do this. And then I thought, well, you know what? First thing, I know, I have purpose. I just don’t always know what it is. I know that I have purpose. It might. It might not be to produce an electric car or fly people to Mars or whatever it might be. But I even just in the lives of the people that are close to me, I have purpose. And I am not an accident. And under under no circumstances of the universe, am I an accident? And so in that moment, I sat there and I said, Well, this sucks. But it’s going to be behind us. We’re not going to be defined by it. We’re going to like, we’re going to go kick some butt. And we’re going to let this refine us. And I can think I have that like it’s like a seminal moment that pops back up in different stages, you know, different events, different crappy scenarios, when I can feel myself as I’m processing and I’m like, Well Eric, you’re you are the fork in the road brother like what are you gonna do? You’re gonna go you’re gonna go be defined or you’re gonna go let this refine you and at every point like it’s in and I honor that you recognize courage, like it does take courage for anybody to do that because It’s not fun. Like, it’s not like nobody’s sitting here. You know? The irony is that I hope that by telling my stories, I help other people avoid pain. But maybe what I really want, maybe I’d like you to still taste the pain a little bit, but just be have the encouragement to make the transition a little easier. Maybe my telling the story isn’t as much about helping you avoid the pain as it is about giving you the encouragement to take the hard road and let this refine you instead of defining, you know, so yeah, you’re pretty insightful. There, Shawn. I don’t even know. I’m taking notes. In our conversation. Like this is crazy. 


Shawn Zajas  35:45 

Well, the good thing is, is recorded but we’re going to charge people so they acknowledge so. So Eric, two of my like guiding principles, you just keep hitting on and one of them is I always want to tell people like the best chance they have for success long term sustainable, and I don’t necessarily mean success monetarily, I just mean, arriving at something that’s going to be the full picture. Again, for us the fun freedom, and fulfillment, fulfillment. It really is finding out what is unique about me and owning that, because that’s the true differentiator that no one can copy, right? No one can be Dr. Eric Roman. And my other one well of many is that in the midst of the pain in the midst of the tension in the midst of the challenge, if you yield to it, you’ll discover gold that you wish you like so many people are like, Oh, you wish you could have erased that time in your life you wish you could have not had that low. But it’s like, if you submit to it and yield to it and find out what can be there, man, the lesson you can learn the refining that you can go through. It’s like, you know, I have a therapist, and he’s like, yeah, you can get better, or you can get better. And I feel like that kind of reduces that a little bit. I feel like it’s much more than that. But to have just the ability to say like, this is not who I am. I have I’ve done things in the same exact way, Eric, where I was on a train. And I kept thinking the train was going to slow down. And the train just kept getting faster. And I got so fast that I felt like the easy way out would be to take that quick, selfish exit of taking my life in some ways. And this wasn’t something that like I really grappled with. I just had never seen it, it was never even in view. And all of a sudden, when it came into view, I was like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize that I’ve gotten so far, five amazing kids, beautiful wife. And all of a sudden, I realized I had to jump off the train, and come face to face with the life that I was living and make a decision in that moment that regardless of what was going to happen. I had to I don’t know, I just had to Yeah, let the refining take place. Instead of all of a sudden feeling like I was always going to be some hopeless hypocrite that was stuck in the same exact way. My story is hoping to encourage other people to right not necessarily avoid it. Because I mean, I want my kids to avoid it. But I also want people to be equipped so they know what to do. They know that their life isn’t over. They know that there’s hope they know that they can get back up and they can keep going. And here you are. And you’re shining. Eric like you are releasing so much light so much energy so much like encouragement. And yet you remember what it was like being in that upper bedroom crying, wallowing? It was dark. You were alone 


Eric Roman  38:47 

again? Yeah, I don’t want it to. But I’ll, I’ll prevail. Like when it does, you know, tough times are gonna come. Shawn first, like, I see you, like I hear you. And you know, you know, one of the cool parts about listening to other people speak and talk about stuff is that sometimes it just gives us the frame of reference for our life. Sometimes it shows us choices that we didn’t naturally knew existed. And sometimes it just gives us the word to define a feeling at the right time in the right place and sets. Like that’s what you just offered the world you know, in a sense, and I want to acknowledge one other thing you touched on in there because it’s near and dear to my heart. You know if kids I also have five kids. Maybe we have the same five kids. I don’t know that could be incredible. What are the 


Shawn Zajas  39:46 

I don’t know exactly what that means. But 


Eric Roman  39:48 

I don’t either. I don’t either. But it’s like it’s like multiverse type stuff. So don’t Yeah, I just watched a multiverse movie the other day and so like everything’s like weird. 


Shawn Zajas  39:57 

Maybe I’m just a previous version of you not just I like while 


Eric Roman  40:00 

we come back to Oh, yeah, we’re like is this a this is like a time dilation, conversation. But you know, one of the things that if there’s two pieces here, number one, we have been trained that pain and sorrow and sadness are all negative things. And I remember like, I remember hearing my dad, I’m like, you know, like, suck it up, like son that like, No, you put away your anger you put away, essentially, like, get rid of all the negative emotions, don’t let those be present, because those are wrong. Those are not like you don’t need those, like, just act like it’s not happening. And you know, I love my dad, and I love his generation and his dad’s generation, and like all the forefathers, I love them. But they were. And I understand like, that was just a creature of where they were, what we’ve learned is that, like, it’s the wrong thing is actually putting identifiers of right or wrong on our emotions. Emotions are part of what makes us human. And they’re designed to be felt. They’re designed to be received and looked at and like said, Darn you, I don’t like you. I don’t like what it is, but I’m going to feel you, I’m going to feel you and see you. And then the second piece of that is that, you know, that’s been a transition from my wife and I and how we train and how we look at our children. Because irony, Shawn, you know, my wife and I, we celebrate last year was our 20th anniversary. And we were sitting in Cabo celebrating, and we always we have activities that we do, like, you know, checking back in, like, I’m looking back at the hard things and like talking about them and reflecting on where we like some fun stuff, fun activities, if anybody ever wants to just let me know. But we both reframe, like, when we looked back on all the hardest things in our life, all the pain in our marriage, in our personal lives, all the stuff. Each of us was like, that really sucked. I don’t want to go through it again. But gosh, am I glad we did, because of how it caused us to change. And I have all these things in my childhood that are that way, you know, honestly, like, we’re as humans, like, it’s getting to my psychology nerd, like, we’re the trauma model, like trauma happens for everybody. And it has a massive impact on how our brains function. It’s not, it’s not something to be avoided. It’s inevitable. And it’s how we tell we work. And, and so what I loved about you know, the perspective that my wife shared with me was that the hard things are what made us who we are. Well, look at that, for us as a parent, Shawn, like, because we felt the same way we’re like, funny parenting is about doing everything you can to conceivably avoid all trauma for your children, like create the perfect bubble of an environment. Let’s do a rubber 


Shawn Zajas  43:02 

soft edges, prevention, no pain, 


Eric Roman  43:05 

like, we don’t want you to feel sadness, we don’t want to feel sorrow. We don’t want to feel anger, we won’t feel any of those things. And then we tell the story as we got older, that Yeah, those were all the great things in our life, what is wrong with us. And so we’ve been, we’ve been shifting our parenting to, number one, leave space for our kids to feel those emotions and to support them in feeling our emotions, not into telling them like that. We won’t want to have a second, we’ve just had to accept, we’re traumatizing the crap out of our kids. Our kids have Eric Roman and Cynthia Rome and trauma, like all jammed up in them, it’s all over the place. And it’s not going anywhere. They’re not going to be able to get rid of it. It sucks to be them and that but that’s also a gift to them because you know what else? There are no other kids on earth that get to live with Eric Roman trauma and Cynthia Roman trauma. That’s what it means to be parents. And so really, we I’ve, I’ve called this the authentic trauma model for parenting. I’ve, I’ve put a name to it. And what we really want to do is I want to traumatize my parent, my children as me, like, I don’t want to traumatize my children as me trying to be someone that I’m not. I want it right. 


Shawn Zajas  44:17 

Not not a fake, not a performance, not a striving just actually based off of you giving your best to love them. And whatever comes out in the midst of that you own it, and they’ll pay 


Eric Roman  44:28 

for their therapy. You know what? I was not a perfect dad. You got this dickhead as a dad. Right? Like you got this. warts and all. 


Shawn Zajas  44:36 

I’m a condescending asshole. That’s my thing. I look like Did you really think that was a good a condescension is my worst version of myself. 


Eric Roman  44:45 

Like, I’ll admit to you children like not my greatest quality. I know where some of it comes from because daddy’s been in therapy about this when this is daddy’s daddy and his daddy’s thing. But here’s the deal. I want you to see it for what it is. I’m going to allow you to me Make a choice with it. Like, I love you. I’m sorry. But it is me, it is honestly me that you get to see. So I just love that, like you’ve pushed right up against that inside of the conversation. Like, and you know what’s funny, we haven’t said the dental word and like, in like 10 minutes, but, but it is kind of cool that this is what the like, this is the part of my life that I’ve spent my energy in innovating, you know. And yeah, and I’m okay with 


Shawn Zajas  45:28 

that. Well, but that’s the translation to innovation is perfect, because when you’re on the sidelines, you think that you’re safe, you think that you’re preventing yourself from any sort of heartbreak, or public shame if all of a sudden you go public with something, hey, you raise your hand and you say, I’m gonna start a podcast, and then you quit after two weeks. And everyone’s like, what happened to that podcast or, or the YouTube channel or, or you unite to create some new dental product, and then nobody likes it. Like all these things that people theorize they think that they’re saving themselves by prevention, when it’s like no, embrace the trauma, you’re going to step on some minds. You have so much experience in the years that you’ve lived Eric. And that has given you so much gold, so much fortitude, so much resilience, so much wisdom, that now you can make an impact in a way that other people can’t that have been on the sidelines, because it’s like they’re playing and safe, so that they don’t have any lessons. They don’t have any fortitude. They didn’t learn anything. They didn’t get any gold. Let’s put them in. So that’s why it’s like my, my encouragement Exactly. Get in the game. You’ll never learn in the boardroom, you learn in the marketplace. And it’s messy, but somewhat, 


Eric Roman  46:37 

you know, you’ve got I want to, like confess to exactly what you said. Eric Roman, until 12 months ago, had no Facebook profile, had no LinkedIn, no Instagram, no any of them. And I had a friend that was a turns out, he was a branding expert. He’s just trying to take my money. But But he said to me, I was like, Eric, how is that in alignment with who you are, like you love to share? You believe in it, you believe that’s what you were called to do, and part of your gift. And yet, you don’t have any profile? Like nobody can learn anything about you. And, and you know what, I had to look up again, like push up against I was like, Yeah, but I’m scared. But I’m scared, I’ll say the wrong thing. Or like, I’ll get, you know, I’ll get canceled or like, whatever millions of things are out there. And, and he said, so maybe you’re asking the wrong question. And maybe the right question is, what is it if I eliminated like a fear of what was going to happen? What could I be doing to create value for the people on earth that are just willing and able to receive me for whatever it might be? And that is a mindset? Because it has to be because I’m like, Oh, crap, like, Eric Roman has America’s least subscribed YouTube channel. And, and like, I don’t even know what’s in there. But my team keeps putting stuff. And I don’t care. Because you know what, someday, somewhere? Somebody’s going to hear something. Just one, Shawn, do you know it’s funny? I used to for years. So when I started public speaking, I’m like, oh, there’s 500 or 1000 people in the room. I have to make all of them love me. Right? That was like, where you start. That’s the ego thing. Like, I need these people to love me. And then I kind of got dialed in as I went to version 2.0 and 3.0 of Eric, and I was like, Oh, that’s so stupid. I don’t actually need any of them to love me. I actually, I actually just get to be me. And if anybody out there can receive me at that point, like, great. But you know what else I even stepped away from I didn’t even care about the audience. I don’t even care about the audience that’s there anymore. Like I would love to serve them. But I’ve got to do my thing as best possible. And I’m not concerned with first degree victory anymore. First degree is that you and me interacted like we you were in the audience. You saw me and so you got something from it. I don’t even care about that. I’m fine. If nobody in the audience gets anything out of it. But there’s a second or third degree like, Hey, you should have heard the stupid thing that this guy on stage said at the event that I went to that was completely worthless. He said this and somebody’s like, oh, that resonated with me. Second Degree victory, or maybe third degree victory. Like maybe I pass away someday and somebody tells a story and somebody’s like, oh, did didn’t get it then but now I get it. So, you know, like, I’ve had to, I’ve had to let go of desiring of desiring to please my different audiences and my different people. And just think about how I’m called to serve. How am I called to serve? Who am I and how am I called the surf with it. So 


Shawn Zajas  49:50 

and that’s where you’re going right now. That is what version four pivot is. I’m imagining it’s you stepping up, owning the influence that you have earned. But even even if it didn’t, doesn’t matter, you have a message you have something that you need to release, not just into dentistry, but into the world. And just be guilty of shining as bright as you can like, right? Like, like, don’t don’t downplay it, just own it, like, This is who you are. And this is your time.  


Eric Roman  50:21 

Yeah at first I thought it was gas, but then I realized it was something else in the end it just be released to the world. And, and you’re right, you know, it’s like, I think one of the things that I’ve been saying is like, every every thing in my life has kind of led me to this point. And, and it’s that exact, it’s that exact piece. It’s this piece, you know, it’s so funny as like, for every I’ve worked with literally hundreds of dental entrepreneurs and dental companies, and we’re all trying to everybody wants things out of life. Typically everybody can resonate with my point fun fulfillment and freedom. They’re like, Oh, that sounds good. I’ll buy that. And yet, we’re trying to create fun fulfillment and freedom through our work. We’re trying to create it occupationally. And so then when you’re making I don’t know, you’re making 50,000 a year, and then you’re like, Oh, but I don’t have it. I need 100,000 A year. So you use your occupation to make more money. And then you’re there and you’re like, huh, but I just don’t have fun fulfillment and freedom anymore. Well, I need to make more, I need to make more, and I need to make more. And you know what’s funny, Shawn, like, I’ve worked with people with 10s of millions of dollars that they’re earning on an annual basis. And they still have the same problem. Interesting, right. And what I recognized was that it’s because nobody’s ever given us a pathway, a sequential simple pathway to solve for the things in our personal lives and in our families. The only only answer we’ve ever had that worked for us was, was occupational. And so that’s what I built, I have built a full fledged operating system for for you as an individual, like answering those questions we talked about, for your family, like how do we create intentional outcomes in our relationships with our, with our children? Who are we as a family, like, I don’t know, it’s like a woman and a man or whatever, like, what does this mean? And, and now I’ve decided it’s time to take those things and share them with the world and you know, healthcare entrepreneurs, will be where I start, but as, as, as we go on, and honestly, you know, my real passion here is that every person deserves this. Our entry level person working at our front desk in a dental office deserves, deserves fun fulfillment, and a measure of freedom inside of their lives. And so it’s just that nobody’s ever shown us how to do it. So maybe that’s my, that’s my next thing. Let’s see what happens. 


Shawn Zajas  52:53 

I love it. So if I’m hearing this, and I’m super excited, where do you want my eyeballs to go? To find out more? 


Eric Roman  52:58 

Yeah, so you can, you can always find more at Dr. Eric J. And then, literally, I believe, at the end of this week, the websites launching for the one life the number one one life circle. And the concept there is that you know, for so long, I talked about this all the time we like we separate our work life and our home life, right? Like we separate we compartmentalize everything. But the truth of it is you’re just you’re just one person living in all of it. And so we only have one life. And the one life circle is going to be the is a is a is a program we’re launching in November for health care entrepreneurs, to help them experience precisely that. So if they want to find out more, that’s the place to go. But you can’t miss me Dr. Eric J room and there’s a lot of like, really, like smarmy mug shots and stuff like that, like really weird, really weird things. Plus, you can read, you can read ridiculous articles about dumb things that I do. So I’m really good with that one. Oh, I think series on that Shawn done recently, um, things are 


Shawn Zajas  54:00 

oh, God, I thought you got awarded one of the sexiest men in dentistry right for 2023. 


Eric Roman  54:05 

Um, was that was that also by my mom, because it might have been, I guess the third time she’s come up in conversation. I think she’s the one that faked. I think she has a social media profile. But it’s really I was making a note about dumb things Eric did and I just wrote dumb sexy. So there we go. There’s my new handle. 


Shawn Zajas  54:30 

Okay, so Eric, last question. You ready for it? Okay, so here you are. You’re walking down the street. And in the distance you see a 18 year old Eric, and you know, you just have one moment to communicate a sentiment. What do you share with him? 


Eric Roman  54:46 

Today I’m gonna say to him, I’m going to say, hey, trust the process. Trust the journey. You have purpose and enjoy weigh every moment, enjoy it. That’s what I would say to that little guy. And I’m gonna smack him on the butt and say go get him. 


Shawn Zajas  55:09 

Well, I think that’s a perfect cherry on top. To all the listeners. It’s like, trust the process. Go get it. This is your time, make something happen, like, follow whatever that dream is that’s in your heart. Eric, it has been such a joy and so easy to honor you as an innovator. Just to see the way that your mind works, the way that you think so intentionally, about life, the way that you care and the way that you have the courage to face reality and continue to just don’t not not give up so that you can continue just to shine and give your best to those people that you love in your life. I just want to honor you for that. So thank you so much for letting me interview you today. 


Eric Roman  55:49 

You see me and I see you, Shawn? Hey, I can’t wait till we hang out again. 


Shawn Zajas  55:55 

I’m in Awesome. Hey, thank you so much, Eric. 


Eric Roman  55:57 

Thank you, brother. Talk to you soon. Bye. 


Shawn Zajas  56:01 

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 

More Podcasts