When I launched the Nifty Awards this year, I aimed to create a contest based on recognizing and honoring the tireless
efforts of dental professionals who go above and beyond to provide exceptional care, innovation, leadership in the field,
and so on. I’m so excited to see that, for our debut year, the remarkable talent being spotlighted is often the same talent
that has characterized my Nifty Thrifty Dentists Facebook community—and that’s precisely the case with this year’s 2023
“Favorite Social Media Personality” Nifty Award.
I’ve had the privilege of not only working with Dr. Christopher Hoffpauir over the years but also being a close friend. So,
I have enjoyed a front-seat view of the great work he has done on social media through The Business of Dentistry Facebook group. When the Nifty Thrifty Dentist community voted Chris “Social Media Personality of the Year,” I was extremely excited to share his story.
Chris is a real straight shooter.
When I sat down with Chris to discuss his award, I couldn’t help but ask the burning question: What’s the secret behind
Chris’s triumphant win? In this digital age, where so many people are vying for the spotlight as social media personalities,
what did he do differently to take the cake?
“If I had to venture a guess, I believe people resonate with my straightforward, no-nonsense, authentic approach,” he told me. “While it might ruffle a few feathers, there’s no confusion with me—what you see is what you get… It’s either that or my rugged good looks.” Clearly, the man has a good sense of humor; if it were about “good looks,” you know who the winner would be (obviously me).
But it hasn’t all been rainbows and butterflies for Chris. He opened up to me about his struggles—including Tourette syndrome, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, and ADHD—and how he was one of the first students ever in the United States to be
classified as both “Gifted” and “Learning Disabled.” Chris was told that he would never learn to read or write beyond a high school level, that he was “stupid” and wouldn’t “amount to much,” that he could never be good at math, and so on.
But those naysayers were very wrong. Chris did well in his classes, and he made it to college. However, Chris didn’t start
considering dental school until he got a nasty tooth infection, and a dentist relieved his pain by removing a tooth. This experience reshaped his perception of dentistry; he realized our profession is more than just administering painful shots and taking money from patients. He realized how much dentists care about helping people and transforming their lives—an epiphany that deeply resonated with his sense of purpose.
Fast forward to the present, and Chris has not only become a dentist but also a thriving entrepreneur, an influential figure in the dental community, and the deserving recipient of a Nifty Award. He’s proof that our past does not define our future and that, with the right mindset, we can overcome any obstacle and reach heights we may have once thought were unattainable.
Is it the fear of failure or success that gets in our way?
On that note, I couldn’t help but implore about Chris’s resilience. Every entrepreneur has encountered their fair share
of “naysayers,” and, for most of us, the biggest antagonist of all is ourselves. Many of us have to deal with the relentless,
self-deprecating voice inside of our heads that questions our worth. Whether you want to call it imposter syndrome or
being your own worst enemy, the entrepreneurial journey is often marked by battles with self-doubt.
Interestingly, Chris thinks this mode of thinking isn’t anchored in fear of failure but rather the fear of success. We all have a comfort zone where we excel at being who we are today, but venturing into the uncharted territory of becoming a dentist with a $2 million or $3 million practice brings uncertainty. The fear that we might have to change, sacrifice, or even
question our worthiness can be paralyzing.
“Don’t have dreams; have goals.”
For anyone grappling with similar fears, Chris had a word of advice: “Don’t have dreams, have goals.”
Dreams are like distant horizons we can only envision, places we’ve never seen. Goals, on the other hand, are like
roadmaps, meticulously charting our journey and marking every milestone along the way. It’s akin to acknowledging that
even the grandest elephant can only be consumed one bite at a time.
Chris emphasized the importance of savoring small successes, replenishing one’s spirit, and recharging for the next endeavor. Success, he attested, is not about listening to the voices in our heads but instead embracing the relentless determination that only we can summon.