The Power of Need: Embracing Uncertainty in Dentistry and Trusting Yourself


Podcast Summary

In this conversation between Shawn Zajas and Brandi Hooker Evans, they discuss the importance of overcoming limiting beliefs and embracing patient autonomy in the dental industry. Brandi shares her perspective on how individuals can rise above their struggles and transform their lives, using the analogy of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. She emphasizes the need to let go of biases and preconceived notions when working with patients and allowing them to make informed decisions about their oral health. 

Brandi highlights a common mindset among dental professionals, where they often limit their patients’ options based on assumptions about their preferences or resources. She encourages professionals to challenge these beliefs and provide patients with the opportunity to take charge of their own oral health. By withholding information or making decisions on behalf of patients, professionals hinder their autonomy and prevent them from living their best lives. 

Shawn acknowledges Brandi’s bold statement and brings up the topic of limiting beliefs. He wonders if Brandi herself had any limiting beliefs as she entered the dental industry and questioned the extent of impact she could make. Brandi admits that she faced struggles like everyone else, but she firmly believes in taking small steps toward her goals and trusting the process. She has always felt a calling to make a difference and shares that her path has taken different forms throughout her life. She acknowledges that clarity may not come all at once but rather unfolds gradually as one takes the next step. 

The conversation delves into the entrepreneurial journey, with Shawn noting that many people believe entrepreneurs possess perfect clarity and a well-defined plan. However, Brandi dispels this notion, explaining that entrepreneurship is often a murky path filled with trial and error. She recalls her own experience of moving from Pocatello to Boise and navigating the uncertainty of her career. Brandi sought advice from various sources, adapted her business model, and continually made adjustments based on feedback and opportunities that presented themselves. She emphasizes that entrepreneurship requires trust in oneself, the universe, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. 

Shawn expresses his admiration for Brandi’s inspiring journey and asks her about her current passion. Brandi responds by discussing her dedication to patient-centered care. Her approach involves empowering patients to make their own decisions about treatment by providing them with clear information and options. Brandi believes that traditional case presentations, where professionals try to persuade patients to follow recommendations, limit patient autonomy and create a burden on providers. Instead, she advocates for transparent communication that allows patients to understand their conditions and actively choose their path to oral health. Brandi’s passion lies in helping clinicians unite around this approach, enabling the entire dental team to support patients in achieving optimal outcomes. 

The conversation concludes with Shawn drawing parallels between Brandi’s philosophy and a biblical reference. He likens her approach to the concept of Jesus reaching out to those who acknowledge their need for a physician. By highlighting the importance of recognizing one’s needs and inviting patients to take ownership of their oral health, Brandi’s patient-centered approach aligns with this biblical principle. 

Overall, this conversation between Shawn Zajas and Brandi Hooker Evans serves as an inspiring exploration of overcoming limiting beliefs and embracing patient autonomy in dentistry. Brandi’s journey and perspective shed light on the transformative power of small steps, trusting the process, and empowering patients to make informed decisions about their own oral health. 


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Podcast Transcript


People are people are struggling with disease right now and we are at the most incredible place to be able to help them, find it, find it early and do something about it. 


Shawn Zajas  00:11 

The future of dentistry belongs to the innovators. Welcome to innovation in dentistry. I’m your host, Shawn Zajas. And I believe that the future of dentistry is going to be unbelievably great over the next decade in two decades. But the question isn’t that the question is, are you going to be part of what makes dentistry great? Don’t know if I could be more excited to be able to be with brandy hooker, Evans, and just get to interview you today. So before I set you up, let me just say thank you for joining me on this podcast. 


Brandi 00:53 

Oh, my goodness, thanks for having me. I love to chat with you. 


Shawn Zajas  00:58 

So brandy, innovation in dentistry that could be so broad, right? Like, what are we talking about here? And yes, there’s clinical innovation. There’s technological innovation, but I am so fascinated by what what it is that allows dental professionals to feel like they have that permission to pioneer positive change. There’s nothing wrong with just being a dentist or just being hygenist. But I see so many amazing people that step up and say, well, there’s more for me. And I know dentistry is going to be great in 5-10 years. But my challenge to every listener is how can they be part of what makes it great. And you are a hygienist but you also do so many amazing things through stellar outcomes. And that’s why I want to hear about what you’re doing. But more importantly, I want to find out about how it is that you got here, and why you gave yourself permission to pioneer positive change. 


Brandi 01:55 

Okay, so I am a firm believer that we all have a purpose on this earth. And I believe that we also have a calling. So the calling and the purpose can a little bit be intertwined. But for all intents and purposes purposes, my purpose on this earth is to be love and light. And I am called to do that in the professional world by serving patients and practices and providers to be as healthy as possible. And the way that I do that is to make sure that each the each portion, like the patient, the provider and the practice, has what they need to be making great decisions, having great days getting excellent care of providing care, and taking care of themselves at the same exact time. So for me, I had to listen to the universe and what it was telling me. 


Shawn Zajas  02:54 

Now, when did you listen, like I’m curious, like when did you know this is what I’m called to be. I’m called to be light, I’m called to be life. And I’m called to release that. That impact in dentistry like so you’re already a hygienist and all of a sudden you realize, huh, there’s more to this, like, this isn’t all I made for? 


Brandi 03:12 

Yeah, for sure. So, in 2011, I’d had my hygiene license for a handful of years and the university that I went to had asked me to come back and teach. And so I was working in the Senior Clinic along with my private practice job. And I also got invited to participate in the leadership at the local and the state level within the Dental Hygiene Association. And then I went to a couple of continuing education classes that just completely had me shocked and dismayed when I opened up my patient load, and realize that I had a lot of patients with disease that were getting disease or expanding disease under my watch. So in every corner that I looked in, I was getting information I was getting requested to step up, I just, you know, when the sign is like hitting you upside the head over and over, that was happening to me. And I was getting a tremendous amount of experience, both good and bad. That I just fell in the pit of my stomach was meant to share every single mistake I made every single disease that happened under my watch all of it. My job was to figure out how to stop doing that, find a different way and then share it. And so, as I was getting these other opportunities, I was like, Okay, well, I’m listening now. I’m listening. And so that journey started in about 2011. So, 


Shawn Zajas  04:52 

so in that moment, are you grappling with, you know, impostor syndrome, or like fear of what lies ahead, or do you just have this like deep sense of, let’s just let’s just go for it. Let me just go into the unknown. 


Brandi 05:08 

Well, both I have been a competitive dancer my whole life and I have learned that if you want to be successful, you have to work hard and put yourself out there. And when you work hard and put yourself out there, you are exposed to judgment and criticism. And I knew that both of those things were just going to be part of what I had to do unless I was interested in having a career and a life of mediocrity. 


Shawn Zajas  05:36 

Okay, so sorry, I can’t not probe into that competitive dancer. What, what? In what, in what arena? 


Brandi 05:43 

So dance to my whole life. I did hip hop and jazz and lyrical and all the things and then I was a Bengal dancer for Idaho State University when I was in college. 


Shawn Zajas  05:54 

So you’ve always been athletic. But yes, so you’ve always been athletic, but somehow, okay, so now bridge the gap for me, you’re, you’re gifted with dance, you’ve been recognized with dance, and then all of a sudden, you go into hygiene school? 


Brandi 06:10 

Well, I knew I wanted to be a dental hygienist from the time I was in eighth grade, my uncle was my dentist, and I love them. And I have these big ideas about dentistry being so magical. And if you’re a dental hygienist, you don’t have to go much school and you get paid a lot. And you had a really flexible schedule. And you know, that all those things aren’t quite accurate. But you know, in my 14 year old mind, that’s what I wanted. And so, as I was competing with dance at my high school, and well, before that, since I was little, all the way up through college, I was working towards that dental hygiene degree, which in my mind was the epitome of the journey, right? Like that was the that was the climax. And turns out the hygiene license is really a learner’s permit for clinical care. You get that and then you start practice driving, right? 


Shawn Zajas  07:02 

Okay, so back in 2011, is when all these things are coming into motion. Now we fast forward 2023 12 years have gone by, in this journey. What was a mindset that you had to shed in order for you to think like to get to where you’re at today? 


Brandi 07:22 

I think the biggest thing in my way was, I’m not ready, or I don’t know enough, just like you said, imposter syndrome syndrome is what gets in the way, every time and I feel like maybe for almost everyone, that’s the case. But I know you know this about me. I’m super passionate and intense. So if I get challenged the type a passionate, intense girl in me can’t help but do everything I can to rise to that occasion. And so, since I was being called to do more and share more, I’m putting myself out there. I was like, Okay, I guess I’m put my big girl boots on. And here we are. 


Shawn Zajas  08:08 

So tell me about a moment that you? I don’t know, like, some people can refer to it like the dark night of the soul. Did you ever have one in the last 12 years where you’re like, oh my gosh, like, I don’t know, if I want to get out of bed or I don’t the future is not clear. And maybe I’m not going to make it. 


Brandi 08:26 

You know, I feel really fortunate Sean that. That isn’t in my DNA. I have cried lots of tears. I’ve had disappointment, overwhelm exhaustion, questioning what would be next, but I have just an inborn faith that it’s all gonna work out as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s all gonna work out. So tear, yes, but despair. I just, I like I said, I feel really fortunate. That’s not That’s not the way I’m wired. And I think it’s critical that I’m not because as a leader and sharing with some of the other colleagues that do have those really despairing moments, I feel like someone in the crowd has to be no way no matter what this is going to work out. I got you the universe has you. And so sometimes that super positive, I know it’s gonna be okay, Outlook is overwhelming or hard on me. But I think it’s also what allows me to serve my colleagues, both the clinicians and the other leaders that are in our space of continuing education and coaching and things is because we need someone that no matter what thinks it’s gonna work out and so, hello, that’s me. 


Shawn Zajas  09:54 

Well, especially because dentistry is so challenging like on on all fronts of it, it can be so difficult, especially with, you know, COVID. And in the wake of, you know, all of a sudden, there’s not as many hygenist I mean, there’s a lot of things that are confronting dentistry a lot of challenges right now. And I know a lot of dentists that don’t necessarily know how to navigate, navigate this or wonder, is it going to am I going to be okay, over the next five years? So yeah, to have you, as this coach or as consultant, that’s like, look, first and foremost, let’s keep this, you’re going to be okay, I’m going to believe with you. And I’m going to also be able to help support you, what we’ve got this is that one of the main things that you’re doing for practices, 


Brandi 10:42 

absolutely getting them to believe in themselves. We are up against a very large number of decades of traditional Dental and Dental hygiene care, that make it impossible for the patients to get the information they need to make the decisions they need to make. It makes it impossible for the providers to have fulfilling days continuously. And it also really hinders the practices, profitability and cohesiveness as a team. So for me to say, I promise you, there’s another way, and we’re gonna get through this, and we’re going to figure out your way is the hope that I believe people need to take that next step, because to do something different, is scary. And to change what we’ve known for decades, there are high gymnasts that have been practicing longer than I’ve been alive that have been trying to make that shift, like what is it that I can do differently with my patients and with my day and, and practices that are doing their best to stay open and then go on to thrive? So it’s a big, big, scary cliff, that I’m asking people to jump off of with me. And so I have to be the one that’s like, Dude, I got the parachute. This is so so gonna be fine. Come on. Here’s the edge. Life’s Better on the other side. 


Shawn Zajas  12:21 

So Brandi, I know you are incredibly passionate. Like whenever someone meets you like that it is incredibly evident. Tell me about a way that you come across that sometimes people maybe misunderstand or miss judge just because maybe they’re not used to someone that is so 


Brandi 12:41 



Shawn Zajas  12:43 

Yeah, I’m just saying like, in what ways do you feel like sometimes you get Miss viewed where you’re like, so it’s not coming from that it’s actually coming from this? 


Brandi 12:51 

Yeah. Great question. I feel like my best friend could probably answer that better than me. But from my perception, I will say there’s a couple of things. Number one, I think that people wonder if I’ve had a hard time, because I’m so incredibly positive. How could this girl be so happy if she’s never seen some dark days. And that couldn’t be further from the truth I’ve had as many dark days as anyone that you would meet. I’m just not wired for despair. And then the other thing I noticed is I think some people don’t realize that I have a brain in between my ears. They just think that I’m probably in fun and friendly. And they’re like, well, that’s cool. But what what else is there? So those are the two judgments that I perceive come 


Shawn Zajas  13:51 

from, you need to establish some sense of I’m credentialed I know what I’m talking about. And, and I know when I just heard you that evolution, like you just took over the space. When you spoke, it was it was just like, it was captivating. You drew people in you wowed with the intellect, but also just the delivery, like it was so meaningful. But I’m, you know, I’m only asking this because, you know, I just had this video that I shared with with the world with whoever’s watching, about how someone took my flattery as or took my words as flattery. You know, they’re like, Oh, you just like flattering people. And I’m like, Whoa, how could that’s how you see it. Like this isn’t flattering at all, based off of where I come from. This is just me being authentic, because I love people strength. I love what makes people different. And I love celebrating that. But I found wow, I actually have to educate people because there’s a chance that they’re seeing me in a way that’s okay. No, like, I didn’t even realize that was possible. And that’s why because Like my mom was wildly optimistic, and a lot of people would be like, Oh, she’s just kind of this fake, happy. And then it realized like she was sharp, she had this discernment where nothing would get by her. But at first glance, you couldn’t tell that, you know. So, so brandy the intellectual? Okay, so brandy. 


Brandi 15:28 

Okay, I’m totally with your shot. And I just have to say, first of all, I appreciate that you go out of your way to put something positive, because of all the criticisms that we get all day long and give to ourselves, when you can be the person to look at someone and see them and comment on something that makes them either unique or special or positive. That’s brilliant. And I hope that you never stopped that. The second comment I want to have to that is, this little nugget has blessed me beyond belief. Others, other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. So I have stopped trying to show people that I’m smart, I’ve stopped trying to show people that I am legitimately this happy and hopeful. I just show up in service, as true to myself as I possibly can be in an spirit of growth. And whatever shakes after that, I just let it go. And this is 39 years in the making, but other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. And since I have let go, trying to show people who I really am and just have been who I really am. People know me better than I’ve ever experienced in my entire life without me explaining. 


Shawn Zajas  16:50 

Wow, well, that’s so powerful. Because you’re aligned, right? Like you’re not having to overthink, you can just be 


Brandi 16:57 

right, exactly. And one yes, absolutely being aligned and serving from the core of who you are, and what you believe. And what matters to you, is going to put you in friendships and in connection with the people that are going to be able to best serve your mission and mine is healthier. Patients practices and providers. It’s like a all the peas, right. And if I waste time trying to impress people, and make sure that they see me who for I Am I spin my wheels, and I get frustrated and more of those tears and darkness come up. But if I show up in service and true to myself, all the things that need to fall into place always do always. 


Shawn Zajas  17:51 

So kind of take me deeper into that though. So like in 2011, things start opening up. When did you get that liberation of this is who I am. This is the way I’m going to show up. I’m going to own who brandy hooker Evans is 100%. And I don’t need to worry. I don’t need to worry if that makes people uncomfortable. Like when was that in that journey? 


Brandi 18:13 

Oh, that is brand spanking new. I learned the phrase and the concept of other people’s opinion to me is none of my business about four years ago, three or four years ago. And in the last year is when I’ve finally been taken lessons that are the last, like I said 39 years in the making, and been able to live and I’m not, there are days when I still get impostor syndrome and I still get worried or I feel like maybe I offended someone or that I didn’t come across the way that I wanted to. Or I showed up worried about what people thought and so then my performance wasn’t as good, all those things as those still happen. But such a fraction of the time compared to what they used to. But I’ve been working on this actively and hard and can tell you that this skill that I feel like I’ve acquired quite nicely, maybe not a plus but definitely a solid A minus is within the last year. So it’s it’s been a process. 


Shawn Zajas  19:21 

I think that’s beautiful, because most things that are worth acquiring come with some sort of effort, right? And I know sometimes like the most beautiful things about us come through. Sometimes the things that we end up suffering are some of the things that we’re like, Oh man, I’m not really I’m not really proud of that. But all of a sudden I look at it and go wow, there’s there’s this gold. Like I remember, I’ve already used this example but like Tanya Lanthier I was talking to her and her mom was and she shared this with me so I gonna have to write to her and be like Tanya, I’ve mentioned this twice now, but her mom was like OCD and it was a difficult thing growing up with. And she realized that her mom gifted her with something so beautiful. Because of her mom’s struggles like she was she instead of being like a victim to it and be like, Oh man, like, I wish I didn’t have a mom that was like that, I wish I didn’t have a dad who didn’t support me, she found the gift in that. And I don’t know, I just feel like it’s like, here you are in, you’re so positive, and you release so much light. And yet to think that along the way, like who knows how much brighter your light would have been? You know, if you didn’t overthink or wonder what people were gonna say, but the fact that you’ve arrived there, and are willing to just just grapple with that brandy, and just be like, Yeah, I need to get to a place of maturity here. So that I can just be free. I mean, I’m still struggling with that. And I feel like you just gave me a prescription that can offer liberation for me. So like, seriously, thank you so much. 


Brandi 20:57 

You are welcome. I hope that it does bless you. And anyone that you repeat that concept to it is a it is a practice, you have to be mindful every time. And it’s it’s just like you were so generous to share about the presentation that I gave the other day. And there were scouts in the room. And there were speakers in the room, and you the roomful of speakers, they all want to see you succeed, but they’re also like your highest critics because they know what to be looking for in these situations. And so you you get some pretty tough reviews when you’re in a room full of colleagues. And my plan of action was to show up, and I just kept praying, like, Please guide me, please tell me help me speak the words that need to be spoken. Help me be with everyone that’s in this room and have whatever it is that I share, be a blessing and a source of hope to the people in the room. 


Shawn Zajas  22:07 

And it was like it was tangible. 


Brandi 22:11 

But if I showed up and I was like, oh, Chicago Dental Society skills are here. And oh my gosh, look, that’s so and so and so and so and so and so all these all these, like famous, amazing colleagues of ours, if I showed up and tried to impress them, you know, it would have bombed, but instead, everybody that was nice, shouldn’t say everybody, but I think in general the responses people felt loved, and like I was with them. And whatever they thought beyond that is totally their opinion. But I, I feel like they felt loved and they had someone that linked arms with them. And 


Shawn Zajas  22:55 

that’s exactly, that’s exactly what we experienced. And that’s why it’s like for the future of dentistry, like I see. Exactly, we said about linking arms, I feel like, we’re all better when we’re linking arms. And people show up as who only they can show up as. And that’s why in this formation, there’s some spots that are vacant. And that’s why it’s like my message in your message to people was like, Hey, I’m not threatened, if someone takes that spot. That’s the spot that only they can take. Right? And we don’t know about the synergy that that won’t happen if someone doesn’t step up, right? Because that confluence of like, like, when I met you, and all of a sudden, you know, there we were on that table of 12. That night talking, like I get so inspired by seeing people just be who they are called to be. And you don’t know when all of a sudden it’s like, oh my gosh, this is Brandi new strength. This is her giftings. Now, all of a sudden, I don’t know, maybe there’s a collaboration that can happen because I now know, wow, this is what Brandi is doing. This is this is her message. This is the platform. But it’s like if you never stepped up and you weren’t at that event, because you either tried to play it small or you talk yourself out of shining the way that you possibly can. That doesn’t help anybody. Right? 


Brandi 24:09 

Well, and likewise, right back gotcha, you know, and my hope is that more people will spend a little time with the quiet, which is so hard in our world right now. I can’t help but wonder if there is a whole group of professionals that are being called to take the next step at the next level that are missing it because they’re doing busy work scrolling or something like that. So I think what we need to send to the universe right now is for people who can partner with us in making dentistry the best possible place that it can be to take a little moment and at look inside themselves and ask you know the air around them So, what is my best service? What is my best next step? And then, you know, I’ve always found that an answer will come and may not always be the only right answer. But if they can listen and join us, I think we can pick up a few extra good things 


Shawn Zajas  25:22 

completely. And I think that is such a difficult countercultural move almost like a, you know, if there was a playbook, that’s a really hard play to execute. So everything’s going so fast right now. And brandy you want me to just for a moment, like slow down, disconnect from the noise, disconnect from the hustle and bustle, and almost trust that there’s something that will emerge within that maybe aligns with like you were saying, calling, that’s like, wow, this is me, this is what I meant to do. This is the problem I meant to solve. And it’s because it’s my perspective, it’s who I am. And this, the second I see that confluence of like, what makes somebody themselves based off of their past based off of like, who their parents were, and, or not talking just triumphs like, and tragedies 


Brandi 26:17 

100%, my darkest days have made me who I am in the most positive perspective. 


Shawn Zajas  26:25 

And that’s where like, I love being here in Phoenix, because it’s such a great example, like the Phoenix rises out of the ashes. A lot of us have ash in our life, like we have stuff that we’re not proud of, or struggles or or tragedies that were inflicted against us. And it’s like in the midst of that Ash, there’s a chance for beauty to come forth. And I feel like that’s, you shine that and you’ve released that now, as you’re working with clients, especially in dentistry, is there a certain mindset that you feel like limits them that maybe you run into often? 


Brandi 26:59 

Oh, 100 Versa, I hear frequently that you don’t know my patients, my patients aren’t going to want this, or you don’t know my demographic, my patients don’t have XY and Z resources for this. And I hear the same thing being said about dentists, from hygienists, from hygienists, to dentists, from office managers, to all the clinical team and to the people, there’s this huge limiting belief that other people aren’t going to want this, the other people aren’t going to be interested. And it’s so funny, because the moment that we say, Oh, my patients or on my doctor, or my hygienist Won’t we rob them of their autonomy, we rob them of the opportunity to live their best life or be as healthy as possible, or be in charge of their own destiny, because we have information that we’re withholding based on our own bias. And Shawn, I call BS you don’t know what your patients will or won’t do until you give them the option. And same for your teammates. 


Shawn Zajas  28:11 

Okay, I like that was a little a little spicy, but it’s completely, completely true. You mentioned limiting belief. Now, it doesn’t seem like you’ve, you’ve had a lot of limiting beliefs. Like I don’t know, maybe there’s a chance that, like you said, based off the way that you were raised, maybe it was a beautiful home of support. And people you know, your parents, and maybe siblings just, you know, really nurtured and loved you and you use the product of a beautiful home. Not Not that you didn’t make choices, but I’m just saying have you did you have a limiting belief as you’re coming into the space about how far you could go, or the limit to the impact that you can make? 


Brandi 28:54 

Well, I think I just really didn’t know what I didn’t know, I had struggles as a kid and a teenager and an adult just like everyone else. Without giving you the whole history. I’ll just say like, Absolutely, I have reason to be nervous. However, if I lean into that, then I feel about as misaligned as a human possibly could. So when I said earlier that I have been in this process of getting to the point where I believe that other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. I’ve had to take one next step towards that every single time and I have been taking that next step every single time. Now. I have known since I was knee high to a grasshopper that I was supposed To do something with my life. I don’t know. I don’t know where it came from, other than I have known forever that I had something specific that I needed to share. And it’s looked different at every season of my life. And right now, obviously, I spend the majority of doing it with my children, my husband and dentistry. But honestly, if you look at the whole race, let’s say like, the whole 13 miles, it looks super daunting. But if you think, Oh, I just need to put this next 100 steps in, then I’m gonna do it. And then pretty soon you’ve strung 100 steps, 200 steps, 200 steps, and now you’ve gone 13 miles, let’s say, that’s, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. It’s just the very next couple of steps. What’s next? I don’t know. But I’ll go down the road. And then hopefully, it’s a good one. And if not all, you know, dust my sneakers off and get back on the trail and see where else we can get to. 


Shawn Zajas  31:12 

I think that’s so encouraging in terms of clarity, because a lot of people mistake that, that entrepreneurs, that people that can be like a visionary entrepreneur, like yourself, have this perfect clarity of where they’re going. And then all of a sudden, if if someone else, like, you know, is thinking about this, and they’re like, Okay, well then if I have an idea, and I just have that clarity, that means I can I can not step out, that means I have a legitimate reason for not embracing the unknown and risk because I probably need greater sense of clarity. You know, Brandy probably has that right? Shawn has that and to hear you be like, That’s so refreshing to be like, Look, I don’t have clarity, but somehow I trust and I trust the universe. I trust myself enough to just go through this process and know it’s gonna be okay. 


Brandi 32:00 

Oh my gosh, okay, so we’re getting into some of the nitty gritty of it. When I was moving from Pocatello to Boise. I was like, Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? I had this pit in my stomach, that was like a full time clinician job is not going to cut it for me. I had the most incredible experience implementing and starting a new practice hygiene program. I was an instructor at the university, president elect of the state association, I just knew a regular clinician job full time wasn’t gonna cut the mustard for me not saying I don’t love that, because I think that’s a really important position and even a leadership position that I support daily ok, so don’t take that on that. And but anyway, I was like, What am I going to do? What am I going to do? And so I talked to everyone that would talk to me, I talked to reps, I talked to random strangers, I talked to my patients, I talked to other dental professionals, I talked to people that were in dentistry, but like, you know, not really like how, I mean, I talked until I was blue in the face and listened, listen, listen, listen, trying to find stuff. So then I came up with consulting was the word clear back in 2014. So I was going to be a consultant. So I tried to interview with other consultants that I could get a job. Well, that didn’t work out so good. So then I decided I had to take my start my own company, so Hookers Hygiene was the first name for the business that I was so excited for. But then you know, really, in all accident reality, it didn’t stay Hookers Hygiene, it became Stellar Outcomes, because I wanted people to know what they were gonna get if they worked with me. So then I’m like, okay, but to get coaching clients or consulting clients, because that was the word back then anyway, I had to have credibility, because why is this, you know, 29 year old girl gonna help me and my team, she doesn’t know anything. She’s only had her hygiene license in 2007. So then I realized in order to gain credibility, I had to teach continuing education, so figured out how to teach continuing education. So started doing that well then was I was working with the reps, one of the reps was like, you know, it’d be really helpful. You could get into offices, if you became an American Heart Estate Association, CPR instructor because everybody needs to renew their CPR license. So I got my CPR instructor license from the American Heart Association. And then I will stop there. But that is the clarity that nobody has as an entrepreneur. That’s not clarity. That’s a muddy minefield of hey, try this. Hey, try that. So you try this. And you try that and I made a pamphlet, and then I tried to get a website. And the fact of the matter is, is you know, my business doesn’t look today, like it did one year ago. And it sure as heck doesn’t look anything like it did in 2014 when stellar outcomes opened its doors for the first time. 


Shawn Zajas  34:54 

Wow. And what I get from that, is it like this whole idea of like, you Move, step out, start taking steps. And then you start getting a little bit of clarity maybe just for the next step. But if you’re wanting this whole master plan of what you can follow, that’s going to guarantee success. It’s not found in being an entrepreneur is not found in pioneering. It’s not found in innovating. There’s no certainty in this area, you have to massively trust your gut, and just start going, it’s almost like step out first. And then you understand maybe why you did? 


Brandi 35:36 

Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s true from entrepreneurs all the way back down to employees, you know, if you’re a dental assistant in the office, and you’re like, Ah, I just know, this could be better for us, well, you gotta try something. And then that training will lead you to another thing. And some of the things that you try are going to be so cool that you can’t believe you never did them before. And some of the things that you try, are going to make you fall flat on your face, you’re gonna get rocks in your knees that you got to scrub out, and then you got to hop back up and try something else. But for me, personally, it goes back to what do you been called to do? What are you? What are you here for? Why? Why, like you said, When have you ever not wanted to get out of bed today? Well, I mean, maybe a couple of days when I was going through a divorce or something. But in general, like, this is how we prevent that notion of I don’t want to get out of bed. Because every single day, I’m taking that next step to being fulfilled and to making the world a better place, even if that world is just in my own little tiny home. 


Shawn Zajas  36:47 

Dang, you’re dropping so much inspiration. This is amazing. Okay, so tell me about something you’re passionate about right now, that relates to either Pat, sorry, patients, practices or providers is that the three P’s, 


Brandi 37:00 

that is the three P’s like 100%, Shawn, you get an A plus gold star. And we can even Sharpie it on your forehead if you’d like. And, right. So the whole premise of the way that I provide care is to get patients to decide for themselves that they have disease, and that they want to do something about it. And typically, you hear coaches and CEE providers and the like sharing how to do a really great case presentation, so that your patients will follow the recommendations that you’ve given them. And what I know to be true about that system is as it takes the responsibility of the patient’s life and destiny away from the patient, and it puts it on your shoulders. And so what the what we see is dentists and hygienists practicing dentistry as fast as they possibly can, not trying to hurt any of their patients feelings, not trying to get him upset, worry them and get them through the day as fast as possible. So what that turns into is not very much profit, lots of disease present, and providers that haven’t taken a potty or a water break in six years. So my passion in getting clinicians together on the same page is to give the entire team front office back office dentist hygienist, the tools and the verbiage to lay out the situation, black and white for the patients so that they pick. So let’s say if if you have a b and c that equals you have disease, so I teach the patients, this is A this is B, this is C, and then I get done and be quiet. And they’re like, oh my gosh, I have disease. I’m like, good job. You’re right, you do have disease. But I take that responsibility away from me and gift it back to the patient because what we know to be true about humans is that if something is their idea, they are a bazillion times more likely to believe that it’s true and do something about it. And so when the entire team has the that, that power to lay the information out for the patients simply then their role instead of dragging the patients up and with them and trying to get them to come along. Their job is to support the patient in whatever they have going on. And with the level of disease right now, Shawn, it is a lot of periodontal therapy and a lot of caries management. So that is the very short version of I love patient autonomy. Okay, so maybe that’s a long version, 


Shawn Zajas  40:03 

though I don’t know, but I’m thinking about how to word this. Because it’s so hard for me to like censor myself, like, I just I get, you know, I get a picture of something or I get something and I’m just like, Man, I, okay, so I gotta share this, and I normally don’t. So however people feel about the man I’m about to mention, right? It’s no, no, you go, there you go. I actually getting I’m getting to walk in what you’re saying. That totally reminded me brandy. Again, with no affiliation of when Jesus said I only came to those in need of a physician. And the implication, there wasn’t that not everyone needs one. It’s that he’s only coming to those that acknowledge, like, are able, like, he brings out a condition and people are like, Oh, I don’t have a sin problem. So I, you know, I’m not a candidate, but those that are like, Oh, my gosh, I do. Now all of a sudden, there’s that connection of like, well, I’m the great physician, do you need a physician I do. And it’s like a master sales. I won’t say hack, because it’s not a hack. It’s just a master sales technique to be like, I’m not forcing anything upon you, I’m inviting you to understand you have a need. And if you can acknowledge you have a need, we can help you with that. Absolutely. Oh, I’m like that is bomb. That’s amazing. It really 


Brandi 41:27 

is amazing. And so when I first transitioned to this type of care of myself as a clinician, you know, a long time ago, I had I’d watched my patients get disease under underneath my care. And I was so worried that if I told them, they had gum disease, or that they had cavities, in conjunction with my dentist, that they wouldn’t like me or they would be upset, or they would be so frustrated, because they didn’t have enough money for that. And when I started letting go my limiting beliefs, like I said earlier, but they don’t know they don’t know what you think this the same thing I had to do. And my patients, looked me in the eye, gave me a hug, shook my hand and said, Thank you so much for taking such good care of me. I thought that they were gonna go running from the practice and say that Brandi was the worst hygienist ever. And I got more heartfelt even teary eyed thanks for giving people their own responsibility for their own health and their own choices, and I let them pick and they, they didn’t hate me. They were like, gosh, thinks nobody’s ever taken care of me like that before. No one’s ever told me that before, I had no idea. And it’s this, it’s the same gums that were bleeding six months ago, when I did it differently. And same patient that didn’t have time and money for their gum disease that now has given me a hug and is gonna sit with me for a couple of extra hours and then come see me four times a year instead of two. It’s powerful. 


Shawn Zajas  43:15 

I’m literally like mentally taking notes of how I’m gonna apply this to my business. Thank God this is recorded, so I can read listen to it. But there are so many ways in which I’m not doing that Brandi when it comes to Zana Like, it’s almost like I was a call you make. I was a concessions. But you make like these assumptions about how it’s going to do. I can’t even I can’t even put it into words. Like I don’t know how to put it into words. But it’s so liberating what you’re saying because yeah, no, I don’t know. I can’t put into words, but it’s, it’s when I’m telling someone about it. And then I either mention the price or something about like, is this something that can help you? I almost don’t let them feel that tension. Because I’m so nervous about offending them, right? Or some something stupid like that, where I’m making some dumb, predisposed, like assumption. And you you thought that was going to hurt your patient. If you told them they had gum disease, you kind of made up this, this narrative of, oh, man is almost going to like, interject conflict or not keep peace, or not be positive, or they meant like me. And it did the exact opposite. Because someone’s like, wow, she had the courage to actually like, love me through that challenging conversation almost or through that challenging. I don’t even I don’t know what word to put on it. 


Brandi 44:38 

Yeah, well, it’s a little bit scary and frustrating when you feel like you’ve been taking care of yourself and there’s evidence to the contrary, or that there’s something else going on that is even more scary. I mean, look at what is it 7% 7.5% of adult Americans have an autoimmune disease since like 23 point I’d have to look at my notes. Anyway. There’s a huge portion of the population that are struggling with autoimmune disease. And there are plenty of times when, as dental hygienists and dentists, we can help them figure that out based on the way their face and mouth are presenting. And so you know, when you’re in that moment of something is going on in my body, my body’s telling me that I’m not okay. What are we going to do? What are we going to find, and if you put your head in the sand, then you don’t find anything. So you really are loving them through a vulnerable moment because they might just have cavities or gum disease, or there might be something bigger going on. And this day and age there really often is because we have so much chronic inflammation that people are, people are struggling with disease right now. And we are at the most incredible place to be able to help them, find it, find it early and do something about it. It’s as dental professionals, we are sitting in the most beautiful spot to make a change. 


Shawn Zajas  46:12 

Okay, so I want you to train my sales team. So if I’m a dentist right now, I’m thinking, oh my gosh, how do I hire Brandi to come in and absolutely just transformed my practice? According to what you just laid out? How does someone get a hold of you? What’s what what is the next step you want them to take? 


Brandi 46:28 

Okay, so if anyone wants to get a hold of me, you can email me at Brandy at brandy hooker. Or you can call me directly at 208-244-2141. And then my website is Brandy hooker. So, reach out. I’m excited to be of service to you and your team and your patients. 


Shawn Zajas  46:51 

Okay, so do you know what’s coming next? Are you ready for this? 


Brandi 46:54 

Well, I have I I’m gonna interrupt is that okay? Sure. The other thing I have is a study club from September to April every year that’s free. So people want 1.5 CE credits every month during those eight months, they can get on my website and get a free ticket to the study club. So I would invite everyone to do that. Whether you want to work with me individually or not. Come hang up my study club. It’s pretty fun. 


Shawn Zajas  47:23 

That sounds amazing. I don’t think I’m invited. But I wouldn’t are invited. 


Brandi 47:27 

You’re invited. Carlos Rodriguez is joining us in September to kick off the fall semester. So I’m pretty sure you want to come John. We’re going to be doing emotional intelligence and comedy. 


Shawn Zajas  47:39 

People can laugh at how little emotional intelligence I’ll be the No. Okay, so do you know what’s coming? Next brandy? 


Brandi 47:48 

No, don’t tell me I’m ready. 


Shawn Zajas  47:50 

Okay, so that’s my closing question. I want to know, there you are walking down the street. And in the distance you see 18 year old brandy. And you know, you’re just gonna have one moment to talk to her and communicate some sentiment. What do you share with her? 


Brandi 48:14 

Oh, now look, you have me like teary eyed. I would tell her. Don’t lose faith one step at a time. Keep going. 


Shawn Zajas  48:28 

That is absolutely beautiful. I think that’s a perfect message. The perfect message to the listeners with everything you’ve been saying. I think you summed it up perfectly. Both brandy and I want you guys to take those steps to actually step out to trust to make something beautiful that only you can do. And that’s the encouragement. Brandy. It’s been so easy to honor you as an innovator to just get so fascinated by the journey, and how it is that you make such a big difference in dentistry with stellar outcomes. So thank you so much for letting me interview you today. 


Brandi 49:08 

Oh, Sean, thank you so much for having me. I am linked arms with you and cheering you on the whole way. 


Shawn Zajas  49:17 

Thank you, Brandy. 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 


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