When someone says you can’t do something, you should ask, “why not?” Sometimes that someone is a friend, a spouse, a coworker, a boss, or society. Sometimes, that someone is your own inner voice.
I entered UCLA as an undergrad thinking I was going to be pre-med. it was for all the wrong reasons – a default, parental wishes, etc. Within a week of starting freshman year, I was weeded out. I actually wasn’t too crushed. I realized that at that time, I only wanted to go to medical school because it seemed like something I was expected to do.
Fortunately – life took me in other directions: the snowboarding industry (Fun! Poor! Didn’t matter, because…Fun!), acupuncture school (ooooh…interesting…but only part of the big picture), seminar and event planning (where I honed my organizational skills). Eventually it led to me arriving again – many years after college – to a career in healthcare. This time, it was for the right reasons.
Initially, I wrote off medical school, and thought maybe I would pursue something else within healthcare. I thought I was too old, not smart enough, not worthy enough. But a wise friend asked me…why not? She in two words encouraged me to shoot for the stars. So I did. I worked my ass off, sometimes taking prerequisite classes split between three different colleges and studying for the MCAT – all the while working full time.
And then, as a medical student, when I fell in love with orthopaedic surgery, I was told I wasn’t man enough or strong enough to be an orthopedist. I asked “Why not?” and it made me want to prove them wrong.
Then, it was “You can’t be a great mom and be a great surgeon.” You can’t see him, but my six-year-old is sitting on my foot as I write this. Right. Now.
And now that I’m a surgeon, again, I’m told “You can’t or shouldn’t be anything or anyone else; You’re already a surgeon.” Why can’t I follow my many other interests and dreams?
I love good food and drinks, telling stories, making people laugh, connecting friends and colleagues, planning events and parties and sharing skincare and beauty pearls.
What’s the message I want to share with others hoping to chase their dreams?
- Go out and prove people wrong.
- You don’t have to fit neatly in a box.
- Step outside the roles that are expected of you.
- Be a cheerleader! Support others – be the one to ask “Why Not?” when friends, family, colleagues doubt themselves.
- Use your skills and your gifts and be happy and fulfilled while doing it.
Are you having FUN? THAT’S how you live your fullest life and realize you can be a Renaissance woman too.