Me and a good friend, Mamie!
In the shift from medical school to running FutureDerm, Inc. full-time, I've learned a few lessons along the way. (For the record, I'm still technically on a leave of absence in my third year of medical school. But after winning business competitions and launching our first product, I started to realize that this is living the dream! I think I really wanted to become a dermatologist to revolutionize skin care - not to work in a practice.) At any rate, I thought I'd share some of my best insights with you today:
1.) Women worry too much about what everyone else thinks of them.
A couple of months ago, I went to a wedding with a group of friends. It was a large, extravagant affair, with over 400 guests. Our table, seated right in the middle of the floor, happened to be right in front of the buffet. Ironically, the wait staff called the tables to go up to the buffet starting at either side of the room, making us dead last.
After about two hours, it was evident that everyone in the entire room had been called up to go eat. Except for us.
"We should go up," I said.
"Don't be so rude," one of the girls snapped. "We have to wait our turn."
"I think they just forgot us," I replied, "I really think we should go."
Despite my mild protest, we sat and waited. After another 20 minutes, lo and behold, the wait staff started to pick up the food. I ignored the other girls, walked up to a waiter, and asked if we could eat. He started laughing at me.
"Why didn't you just go?"
Ladies, here's a secret of life: You can't make any waves if you're always afraid of rocking the boat. We may admire our softspoken friends with their perfectly coiffed hair and demure mannerisms, but it's the guts not the grace that makes 80% of the difference in life. All the power to you if you can manage both, but don't put the cart before the horse. Stop worrying about how everything looks to everyone else and measure your own performance on your own terms.
2.) If you want to change your life for the better, you may have to lose a few (weaker) friendships.
Some friendships are magical, Hallmark moment-filled, once-in-a-lifetime type relationships. You know each other's best and worst sides, and "get" them both. You support one another through thick and thin. They're the first people you call in tragedy or in triumph. You're in sync.
And you might get one, maybe two, friendships like this your entire life.
Many friendships are dependent on your current status: Married or single; wealthy or impoverished; fat or thin. You may not think so, but go ahead and lose 30 pounds, get promoted three times at work in the next year, buy a new designer wardrobe, and marry a Matthew McConaughey-look alike with the brains of Bill Gates and the personality of Jimmy Kimmel. You'll soon realize that your weaker friendships will change. It's not your fault. In reality, it's because many friendships exist on the basis of delicate psychological dynamics of how people interact and perceive one another (and themselves relative to their friends).
Take a step back and look at what is holding you back from getting promoted, losing weight, or living your dream. In some cases, it could be toxic habits you and your friends have adopted - margaritas and nachos every weekend, laying around watching TV instead of being active together. You get the idea. Influence is subtle, but it is powerful. And if you want to change your life, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and perhaps even your core group for a while. Nobody ever said it wasn't going to be painful - they just said it wasn't easy.
3.) You don't have to be good at everything. You just have to be the best at something.
True public confession: I'm not very aware of my surroundings. I am rather outgoing but also internalized, very focused on my own thoughts. As a result, I lost so many ID cards in college, my dad half-jokingly allocated me a "ID card fund". I still misplace my keys multiple times each week. My computer has all sorts of little nicks on it, and I have no idea where these come from.
I used to feel terrible about these qualities. I used to try to pay attention and be more meticulous. I bought books. I even went through a Container Store period, hoping that would help. And for a while, it would. But still, when my life became busier, I started internalizing all over again.
Since I started my company, it has occurred to me: It is more efficient (and confidence-building) to work on your assets and outsource your flaws. Despite the fact that the American school system is based on a standard of striving towards passing grades in all subjects, in the real world, it's better to be an A+ in a few key areas and outsource F areas to the people who are earning the A+'s there. I love dogs, so I like to think of it like that: We're not all hunters or racers or cuddlers. Some of us are just naturally better at different things (not to mention we tend to enjoy those things more too). So instead of constantly fighting my nature, I've learned to accept it and work with and around it. (And buy triple-clad insurance policies on all of my things. Are you listening, Apple Store?)
If you want to be all you can be as a woman, you can't be afraid of what others think, nor can you be good at everything.
Now for Follow Friday!