There is a joke that if you ever get to meet Dr Yvette Solomons for coffee, tea or anything along those lines, take some kind of a recording device. A well respected dental professional specialising in prosthodontics at first it is hard to believe that despite running a practice, lecturing locally and speaking internationally, being a mom of 2 adult sons and wife, her first priority is God. But it does not take long to see that she is able to because she puts God first. We ask her about the ten things she would tell her younger self and it was hard to pick just 10, so she choose these 14 pearls.
To set the scene what were things like ten years ago, what were you doing and what headspace were you in?
Ten years ago, I was in full-time private practice and both my sons were still at school – one at University and one at High School. This meant PTA’s, parents meetings, sport events etc. Career wise at the time, most specialists in my specific field were male and white and I was the only female of colour in private practice in Gauteng province, South Africa. Commensurate with this were relational challenges with male ego’s, patients needing culturalisation in terms of being attended to by a female, let alone of colour. These may have felt like threats at the time but they posed the most amazing opportunities. It brought with it the most humbling experiences but which also facilitated much growth in integrous professional liaisons and personal conduct.
I learned then to live the examined life, accountably, honouring the God IN me.
What would you say you do for purpose, passion and paying the bills?
For passion – loving and serving on people, ministry, teaching and investing in the next generation, empowering as and whenever the opportunity presents. I love exploring and challenging myself, and thinking out of the box, deliberately at another level.
For purpose – living intentionally from the stance of being a citizen of a higher Kingdom. Making an effort everyday to enter God’s rest, being enabled to fulfil the mandate of one called to influence and impact atmospheres, challenging others to move from good to great, doing ordinary things in an extra-ordinary way.
To pay the bills – I practice as a specialist oral health care professional liaising in multi-disciplinary treatments of complex, compromised cases and I serve as Chair on the Board of Directors of the South African Dental Association in addition to serving as a sessional post-graduate consultant at an Academic Oral & Dental Teaching Hospital
Doc, what are the ten things you would tell your younger self?
1. IT IS FACT – YOU ARE ONE SET APART FOR GREAT EXPLOITS. Your God is faithful in what He says, gracious in what He does. If you hearken diligently unto His command to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and soul, that He WILL give you the rain of your land in due season, that you may gather your corn, wine and oil…..that you may eat and be full – complete, lacking nothing! (Deut 11:13-15)
2. When you work in alignment with who you are and your giftings, it’s not work – it becomes an act of worship. Make every effort to discover your flow and you will find yourself energized to attract opportunities from expected and unexpected sources effortlessly.
3. Make daily choices to build your sweet spot taking care of the ‘big’ things – God, loved ones and yourself. Eat well and make healthy choices; get enough sleep, take care of the most important relationships and plug into the ultimate power source – God through the Holy Spirit!
4. Abiding in God is freeing. Know and trust that God can and will use your life to do His will.. Work at laying aside your own agendas and make every effort to enter His rest daily. He is the source of all good and eternal things.
5. Preparation is paramount – being prepared is a courtesy to others and a blessing to yourself. Preparedness is commensurate with confidence and enthusiasm. There is really no substitute for behind-the-scenes hard work. Do your homework well and be realistic.
6. To be authentic, you need to understand your values and live by them. Always embody poise – carry yourself beautifully in a physical way but also in your speech, your manner and your sense of being. A woman with poise (one with grace, peace, compassion, wisdom and purpose) has the gift to move through life able to let go of anger easily, ignoring pettiness and living graciously with faith.
7. If you are leading others, you must have a sense of who they are – their values, beliefs, the circumstances in which they were raised and the actions that will draw the best out of them or drag them down. You can figure this out is by using your eyes and ears effectively. Listen and watch twice as much as you speak. Be observant and listen intently.
8. Always think positively – optimists live longer than pessimists. When you encounter an obstacle, go over it, under it, around it, or through it. Being rolled over by it is not an option, so, turn it into a stepping stone. Don’t only think “survive”…… think “sur-thrive”!
9. Pain is inevitable….suffering is a choice. In really tough times, regularly take time off. In order to remain optimistic, cheerful, healthy and an inspiration to those around you, you need to replenish your resources. Control what you can, cope with what you cannot control…..focus on what matters, giving honor where it’s due.
10. Don’t assume anything. If you need to confront someone or any situation, write down important words and review…. review …. review. This will help you find the most effective way of expressing your concerns. Focus on the issue at hand and not the person. Let love lead.
11. Your soul is not for sale. It is your guide, your constant companion, your spirit world. Invest in soul-keeping. Remind yourself that you can’t give more to others than you have.
12. Listen to the wisdom of your body . Out-of-control emotions often reflect the out-of-control-demands you put on yourself. Know your capacity limits and learn to recognize and respond to capacity overload. Learn to delegate. “Doing it all” is not biblical – remember what Jethro said to Moses!
13. When you have made your point, sit down. Practice the discipline of not always having the last word. One of the hardest things in life is to be right and not hurt other people with it.
14. Never withhold good if it is in the power of your hands to do good. It is more blessed to give than to receive!
Watch Yvette speak about knowing who you are and whose you are, as well as the Ten Things she would tell her Younger self.
About Yvette Solomons
Dr Solomons is a Specialist Prosthodontist in private practice. She is head of clinical unit in Prosthodontics, teaching master’s students at a South African institution of higher learning. A trainee transformational leadership coach serving as a lay pastor. A fellow of Higher Education South Africa (HESA) as well as past President and current chair of the Board of Directors of the South African Dental Association. She has been married to Dean for 3 decades and together they have two handsome adult sons. Her passion lies in seizing every opportunity to influence and impact atmospheres, empowering others unto greater exploits, making God known.