In June, the Dental Innovation Symposium will include a keynote presentation on how to cope with the increasing pressures of practice life. Motivational speaker and author of How to avoid a Near Life Experience, Steve Head, explains why boosting resilience for yourself and your team is key to the success of your practice.

No matter what job you do, your level of seniority or level of financial investment in the business, everybody has some degree of pressure, at home or at work. That’s why I’m passionate about ‘the 1% difference’ – the idea that if everyone in the team makes a small, manageable, positive change, the incremental benefits can be huge. By learning how to remove some of the pressure points at work, you can have more relaxed downtime with your family and friends – and who wouldn’t want that?

Under pressure

Excessive regulation and responsibility, dissatisfaction with NHS contracts and the growth of corporates are all elements creating pressure within the dental workplace. My sessions, which open and close day one at the Dental Innovation Symposium, are designed to address this culture. And having worked extensively within the NHS, I’ve enjoyed great success helping professionals cope with a challenging, changing environment that nonetheless demands world-class service.

My focus will be on what people are doing right, interrogating their success to create a positive, supportive, encouraging culture. I want to share the evidence behind this philosophy, demonstrating methods that can impact on results – from personal performance and discretionary effort, to resilience and mental well-being.

Are you wired for negativity?

Pressure isn’t just a product of the 21st century. Of course, modern technology has had an impact, but if you look at the neuroscience behind it, research shows our brains are wired to tune into risk and negativity. The brain is really good at letting go of positive experiences because there’s no rational reason to store them. However, negative things, things that might affect our chances of survival are worth saving. Our brains are hard-wired to store things that risk our well-being.

I also want to challenge the perception we have about weakness. In my view people who suffer breakdowns don’t do so because they are inherently weak, they do so because they are strong. Think about dental professionals. You are educated, have huge responsibilities, deal with legislation, the public… exactly the types of people who break, because they take on too much. I want to help dental professionals to understand this and encourage you to start learning how to forgive yourselves.

Practical help

The irony for anyone working in dentistry is that we are used to telling educated people what they probably already know; the challenge is getting them to act on the advice, especially when they’re often not provided with the practical help that can help them change. My job at the Dental Innovation Symposium is to provide the tools and psychological armour so whatever the world throws at you, you can cope with it better in every part of your life.


Steve Head will be speaking at the Dental Innovation Symposium, London on 7 June 2019. For details, visit www.dentalinnovation.co.uk.

Special rates for team enrolments now available.