My name is Samantha, I go by Sam, and people who know me from my childhood, call me Sammi. I was born in Winchester, Kansas. A small town, with a tiny hospital. My parents were young, and kind, and loving. My Mom and Dad became parents at the very tender age of 16, to my big sister Starr. These three people are anchors in my life. After all, I have known them since my first days in this world, and they have been right by my side through each of the days in between then, and right now.
Pictures of my mother at that age, long straight hair, passed her butt, and almost to her knees. My dad’s hair, although long, was a small fraction to my Mom’s. I would describe them as hippies. My mom was beautiful and could light up a room. People were drawn to her. My dad was the same, but different. He was handsome, but he had a more subtle way of drawing people in. Where my mother could engage others with conversation both light-hearted and deep, my dad exuded kindness and empathy like that of an angel. They were free spirited.
They had my sister Starr. Starr is a beautiful redhead. She was the person who taught me how to look up to someone. Her lesson was simple, she was the person that I looked up to. She is strong, and so smart. She always excelled and had a drive that was inspiring. She strived and set goals, and reached them. When I look at her, I see a superhero cape behind her. She is amazing.
This was my family. Outside of these three, I had a web of cousins and aunts and uncles. My grandparents were living and my life was good. I never remember feeling unloved or needing for anything. In fact, prior to 10 years old, I can recall nothing but happy, wonderful, childhood memories. I would describe it as life experience #1. Love.
At 10 years old, a few things changed. I was approaching the awkward and sometimes scary milestone of the transition of childhood to adolescents. My body was changing and so was my family. My mother had finally succumbed to the complexities and trials of giving up your life to others at a very young age. The idea of never experiencing another relationship crept up in my mother, and she needed to see what else life could look like, had she chosen another path. She and my dad divorced. My mom had been a stay at home mom, up until this point. She was heavily involved in all things Mommy and PTO. She now found herself in a position of sudden independence and the need for a job. She needed to find balance for all the things she used to know and all the things ahead of her. She found a small town dental practice that was hiring. It was perfect. No crazy long hours, and they had the willingness to train an unskilled stay at home mom. My happy little family was now changing. It would look different from here moving forward. Life experience #2. Change.
This change that I experienced had a ripple effect. Many things began to change, quickly.
By the age of 16 I had been separated from my best friend, (my sis Starr), and my father by 1318.5 thousand miles. You see, my Mom began to dream of even more. She wanted out of that small town. She wanted to spread her wings even broader. So, she moved to Florida. I chose to live with my mother. This choice, that I faced at 10 years old was mine. I was allowed to decide. It felt like the weight of the world was in that decision, and that decision was on my shoulders. Six months after making the scary big move to Clearwater, Florida, I made another choice…. my dad and my sister. I could not be away from them anymore. I missed them too much. I remember my dad driving in his big conversion van to get me. To bring me back. When he arrived, I felt both relief and indifference. Now, I had to leave my mother. This emotional roller coaster stayed with me until my mother finally decided to move back to Kansas. I could finally settle into this new family dynamic. Although we were separate, we were all together in the same city. And although choices don’t really define an experience, choices are the very thing that create experience. So life lesson #3 is hands down, choices. Choices are constant.
I think by this point I had reached the procaspases of a strong headed teenager with some baggage and just couldn’t quite grasp the idea of choices. You know, that issue of deciphering between good choices and bad choices, or the outcome of those. In other words, I was not doing well. I was making bad choices. My mother and father were doing the best they could with me, trying to balance their careers, my mother working for a Dentist and my father running a construction company, and handling me, an unruly teenager.
My choices led to a lot of the in between that make up today. Where am I today? And what does all of this have to do with my current career you may ask. Well, a lot. You see, my mother had acquired a few jobs in dental practices when I was a child. My sister, when she graduated high school she went on to dental hygiene school. So naturally as my bad choices began to limit the number of choices I had, I too began working in a dental office. It was my first exposure to “networking”. I knew some people who knew some people and I needed a job. That was where this journey began. At sixteen, I worked summers filing and pulling charts. Stuffing those charts with route slips and replacing the sticky tabs as they became worn and old. And occasionally I would get to answer the phone with my best happy voice. After I graduated high school, I struggled to find my path. I thought I wanted to be a nurse and then quickly realized, uh no. Then I thought I could be a cosmetologist……nope, not that either. During the ups and downs of trying to land on a career choice, I supported myself through a stable job at a dental practice.
Fast forward a few years to age 21…..
At this juncture in life, I was faced with the biggest life experience yet…….single MOTHERHOOD! Yep, that’s right, I was about to be a mommy…..on my own!! No college degree, and no idea what I wanted to be. About the time that my son was being born, a full-time opportunity came up in the dental practice I had been helping out at. At the time, it seemed like a coincidence. Now I understand that it was divinely designed. It was the path created for me by something bigger than myself. Luckily, I decided it was time to do something kinda crazy and be responsible and make a good choice! My new role as a mother had opened my eyes to a whole new world. I realized it wasn’t just me anymore. I had this beautiful baby boy whose life depended on me. Whoa! Time to get my life together. And I did just that.
I often tell my son Jordan, that he is my angel. He came, and my life began to look different. Not perfect, but different. I was intentional and I thought things through like never before. I considered him and myself, each time I had to make a “next move”. I decided to stay at the dental office and it turns out to have been a really great decision. I gave it everything I had. I wanted to be really good at it. After about 8 years as the treatment coordinator, I was promoted to the practice manager position. My career at the office gifted me with financial stability, amazing relationships with patients and coworkers, and a skill set that I could take with me in many different endeavors. I loved my work. As time went on, I was thriving. It seemed natural that I take a leap and move to the next level of my career. ACTdental was that next level. After experiencing a class with them as a practice manager, I quickly realized that this was the type of company that I wanted to be a part of. I was very inspired by what I had heard in that course and the energy that ACTdental exuded. It became a dream of mine to someday work with a company like theirs, So I too could inspire Dental Practices to improve and expand their ability to be great. And here I am today, coaching for one of the greatest Coaching Companies out there, ACTdental. It has been an incredible journey for me. My life has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns, but the one thing that has stayed constant for me is the career path that was divinely laid out. I am forever grateful for the Dental Industry. It has provided for me, a very fulfilling life.
Life experience #4 following your dreams pays off.
Although I never could have imagined that I would end up here, I stayed the course, tried hard and never lost sight of my dreams.
Lead Practice Coach with ACTdental Practice Coaching