The Business of Happiness – A Conversation with Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy

The Business of Happiness – A Conversation with Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy

Part -01

Dr. Tarryn MacCarthy is an Orthodontist in Maine, founding member of host of her own podcast, and founder of where she helps empower healthcare professionals to live more fully.

Her Journey into Dentistry

Dr. MacCarthy chose dentistry as a career because she fell in love with that beautiful marriage of artistry and science and the promise of entrepreneurship and contribution to the community.  She then chose orthodontics as a specialty to help the community align their smiles.  Dr. MacCarthy explains, “ So for me, the first time I walked into an orthodontic office, I loved the culture, and there were balloons and mugs, and they were celebrating smiles. I thought, okay, that’s the place for me. Yeah.”

I’ll be Happier When…

Dr. Maccarthy went through a series of decisions based on the grass always being a greener phenomenon.  For example, after dental school, she thought she would be more fulfilled as an orthodontist.  She associated and thought it would be better when she owned her own practice.  Then she thought, “I need a family because then I’ll be happier when I have children.” “I’ll be happy when I get software that’s really managing my practice properly”, or “I’ll be happy when I get a consultant who really knows how to pull me out of this.” 

She kept shooting for the next thing to bring that fulfillment and happiness.

It turned out that the grass wasn’t greener, and she would hit a certain life goal or business goal but didn’t feel that sense of fulfillment. “What ended up happening is really, the more I tried to achieve and do and burn the candle at both ends, I became more and more burnt out and overwhelmed and really started not liking myself,” says Dr. MacCarthy.

What’s Wrong with Me?

“You know,” Dr. MacCarthy said, “I had everything. And I was so unhappy. And the amount of shame and guilt that came over me was huge because I thought, if I can’t be happy with all of this abundance, then what’s wrong with me? “

Tarryn thought she wanted to try and run away from everything.  She sold her practice and thought she would never go back to clinical dentistry or business ownership again.

But she realized the one person she couldn’t run away from was herself.  She re-evaluated her values and started recreating that definition of success and happiness.  She was to do it her way, and that wasn’t based on someone else’s algorithm, somebody else’s idea of how many patients or how many days of the week you’re working, or what a working mother looked like.

New Beginnings

She created a new dental office from scratch and focused on her own declaration of what matters to her in her life and in patient care. “And now the reward started really coming through. So it really wasn’t about anything outside of me. Turns out the whole time, it was about really getting to know myself.  And I think that that’s one component that we lose out on in the rat race of dental school and residency. We’re so busy trying to achieve the next goal that we don’t give ourselves time to sit back and really reflect on what matters to us.”  She feels it is important for all dentists to take a step back to really ask themselves and evaluate what matters to them.

Get Quiet Everyday

When asked what every dental professional could do to increase their happiness she mentioned that the one common denominator of everybody that she has interviewed on the Business of Happiness Podcast, guests identified as being enormously successful AND happy. And that is they all have a practice of getting quiet every day.  Whether it is meditation or just sitting down and finding a place to be quiet with yourself on a daily basis. It is a time for introspection to really be honest with yourself.  It is so important for dentists because it’s a form of nervous system regulation.

The Foundation of the Business of Happiness

The Biz of Happiness came about from finding out from other incredible leaders in and outside of dentistry. She wanted to find out how these people had enormous success and abundance and happiness?  She started the Business of Happiness Podcast and just interviewed people and learning, and then started coaching and guiding so many of our colleagues.

From her experience in dentistry that was very anxiety-provoking, stressful, overwhelming, and depressing. She was able to turn that around and then she had got to really enjoy and love what she did. It was really so satisfying going to work every single day.

She wanted to help her colleagues and said  “I noticed that this was a recurring theme. incredible men and women doing amazing work, literally putting smiles on children’s faces on a daily basis, but so unhappy themselves.”

She developed a group coaching program called Radical Happiness for practitioners where the goal is simple, slowing down to be present with yourself and asking yourself the right questions. It’s a nine to 12-week program that is founded on a framework that supports clients going through the self-evaluation from all components. They look at physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual components of happiness and fulfillment, and how we can incorporate that understanding in our practice, in the dental chair, and then also in our lives. Read More …

About the Author

Dr Eric Block
Dr. Eric Block is a full-time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts, husband, and father of two kids. He is known as The Stress-Free Dentist and hosts the Stress-Free Dentist Podcast.
He is the author of three non-fiction books and one children’s book. He lectures nationwide, helping dentists become more efficient, productive, and less stressed. He is the co-founder of the International Academy of Dental Life Coaches or, which matches dental professionals with life coaches who understand dentistry.

He is a wellness ambassador for the American Dental Association and former chairman of the Health and Wellness Committee for the Massachusetts Dental Society.