90 seconds with… Stevie Potter

We speak with Stevie Potter about completing the Ironman, her history with amateur dramatics, and the best advice that she learned throughout her years in dentistry.

Stevie, please introduce yourself.

I’m Stevie Potter – dentist, performance coach and part-time triathlete…or perhaps more accurately, performance coach, triathlete and part-time dentist! 

I currently spend three days a week working at Bupa Dental Care Taunton, and my main focus is on composite dentistry and Invisalign as well as facial aesthetics. 

I get my kicks from producing transformations, which is how I got into performance coaching.

What inspired you to get into dentistry?

After deciding I didn’t want to be a vet because I was scared of spiders (pleased to report, eight-legged creatures are now my friends and I’m the main spider catcher in the house, second only to the dog), at age seven, I started looking for alternative options. 

The criteria for my future career was that I could interact with people, challenge my tiny brain, get my hands dirty and help fund a lifestyle that I didn’t have when I was little. 

My dentist was (and still is!) a really cool bloke, and he seemed pretty happy in his job.

So, from seven onward, dentistry was the destination.

What is your most memorable experience in dentistry or outside in a triathlon setting?

That’s really hard! I have so many amazing experiences because of the opportunities my portfolio career has given me. 

I think it has to be running down the red carpet at the end of Ironman Wales 2018. 

It was such a special moment to be able to sprint past a roaring crowd at the end of a nearly 13-hour race and grab that medal. The whole weekend was super special, but I can still remember that experience. 

It’s something I always draw on when stuff gets tough because it felt like a real turning point. I achieved one of the only things in life that I thought I might actually not be able to do.

Tell us something that no one else knows about you.

I’m an open book, I don’t think there’s much that people don’t know about me. 

Okay, it will come as no surprise to people that I was heavily involved in amateur dramatics (am-dram) as a kid. 

In 1998, after a memorable performance as some sort of gun-toting child in a production of The Snow Queen in my local village hall, I was invited to the Am Dram Awards and won Tiny of the Year.

I think it basically meant ‘well done on being so small yet so loud’.

What is the most important thing that you’ve learned in your years of experience?

The most important thing I’ve learned is not to be afraid of failure and admitting when you don’t know. 

When I first came into sports and dentistry, I was awful at failure. If I didn’t win or I couldn’t do something, it was a really negative experience for me. Now I can see that the biggest and most valuable thing you can do is learn from failure. Judge yourself by your own performance and not the outcome. 

When it comes to clinical work, patients always want an answer. But they’ll respect you more if you admit ‘I don’t know’. And it happens more often than we care to admit! 

If you do your best, engage with patients, and are prepared to learn with them rather than trying to pretend you know everything, you won’t end up in a pickle and you’ll have a tribe of people that love you in your work – that leads to immense fulfilment.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

People have been asking me this since I was 16 years old, and I still don’t have a good answer! 

I very much go with the flow. Though I have visions of how I want to be living life, you never know what’s around the corner. 

I try not to turn down opportunities because they don’t fit in with my five-year vision, as they often present new and different opportunities themselves. 

But probably still in the south west. Maybe in a different house with fewer neighbours and a proper home gym set up. 

Work wise, I’d like to think I’ll be doing more event speaking and performance coaching, enabling me to niche down on the aesthetic work I like doing in clinical practice, and dropping my hours of NHS bread and butter stuff. 

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