An abundance of buttons

June 1, 2003
Every year in February the Greater Houston Dental Society hosts a regional meeting called the Star of the South. I've attended it for years and have gotten to know most of the exhibitors.

By Anne Nugent Guignon

Every year in February the Greater Houston Dental Society hosts a regional meeting called the Star of the South. I've attended it for years and have gotten to know most of the exhibitors. As I cruised through the aisles this year I spied a new booth. One of the program speakers is in the business of consulting and training, and he was giving away large buttons at his booth.

I started fingering the buttons and was fascinated. Each button conveyed a big dose of attitude. Each one called for action. I asked if I could have more than one, and he told me yes. Well, I selected my seven favorites. It seemed very logical that seven buttons could represent seven days in the week — a whole weekly wardrobe of attitude.

My travels take me all over the country and I meet hygienists everywhere. We are great people and we have so much in common. But I sometimes hear hygienists say things that make me wish I could reprogram their psyches. "He (or she) won't do that (or let me)." "It won't (or can't) happen." "I wish if only I could do that." I just want to shout, "It is up to us to make a difference!" They think that nothing can change with the thoughts of, "yes, you can," "yes it can happen," and "your wish can come true."

Why are many hygienists so fearful of change? Why do so many believe that they cannot move forward? Or worse yet, why do so many feel powerless to bring change forward? This type of victim mentality reminds me of the thinking of an abused woman. These powerless thoughts scare me.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending Doug Young's all-day seminar at the Star of the South Meeting. Doug's presentation was called "Breakthrough Performance," and he spoke about accepting responsibility and accepting the challenge of change. Even though the room was jammed with more than 400 attendees I felt like Doug was speaking just to me. His program changed my life.

During the day he elaborated on the concepts of "abundance thinking" vs. "scarcity thinking." Abundance thinkers are the "half-full" types. They believe that goodness is out there, and there are plenty of pieces of the pie for everyone. Abundance thinkers share with others, accept new challenges, and forge ahead with joy. Scarcity thinkers live fear-based lives. In their view, the pie is way too small to share. Scarcity thinkers hoard their thoughts and emotions, certain that some dire force will strip way their last morsel of everything that they own.

Doug's concepts were so mesmerizing that I ordered his tape, Breakthrough Performance. Every time I headed into a challenging situation I played the tape. It always gave me an extra shot of confidence. Eventually I wore the tape out and had to order a new one. When I saw the buttons at the Star of the South meeting I knew these buttons would remind me to have an abundance attitude every day.

It is my choice to be an abundance thinker. It works for me. Of course, there are days that I feel overwhelmed by life's little blips. My husband and friends would verify that my abundance thinking goes down the drain periodically, but I usually snap back after a good night's rest. I don't live a perfect, stress-free life, but I do choose to think that I have been blessed. Sometimes the blessings come in the form of unexpected challenges, which at the time can seem insurmountable, but I am generally grateful for the lessons that I have been forced to learn.

My magic wand is ready to send each one of you a seven-day wardrobe of buttons. They are full of attitude and action — traits that can bring us into the comfort zone of abundance thinking. Abundance thinkers get things done, quietly or with force. They aren't victims. They are in charge of creating and recreating their own comfort zones. Abundance thinkers are willing to take a chance and they are the winners that do not have to look back at a lifetime of "if onlys."

The Button Wardrobe

1. Get excited or get out
2. Living life LARGE
3. Get over it
4. What would happen if?
5. Stop whining and do something
6. One decision away
7. Half empty or half full?

Anne Nugent Guignon, RDH, MPH, practices clinical dental hygiene in Houston, Texas. She writes, speaks, and presents continuing- education courses on ergonomics and advanced ultrasonic instrumentation through her company, ErgoSonics ( She can be reached by phone at (713) 974-4540 or by e-mail at [email protected].