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Becoming a Leader, Becoming Yourself

Growing up I never thought of myself as a leader.  This is not meant to be a self-depricating sentence.   Simply a fact.  For starters, I was very shy and introverted.  The idea of leading anyone to anything was not only out of my comfort zone but sounded ridiculous.  I’ll just be responsible for me and I’ll be here in my corner if you need me, thank you very much!  Second, I am a very “go with the flow” kind of person.  I don’t like to make decisions that will effect other people. For the most part, I really just don’t care…!  I may have my preferences but I can very happily go with the crowd and be absolutely content. (I’m a great vacation buddy!)

These qualities just did not shout LEADER to me and I was content with being (sigh) a follower.  I always thought, “what’s wrong with being a follower?  Everyone cannot be a leader…!”

Well, that’s where I was wrong. Everyone can and should be a leader.  In my mind being a leader was something grandiose, like being the president of the United States!  But there are SO MANY other ways that we are leaders every day.

My most important leader role….being a mom.  As parents, we automatically take on the leader role.  Our kids want to be like us in so many ways and they try to emulate us (especially when those kids become parents…oy!) I never, ever thought that being a leader was in my wheelhouse,  it was just not something I aspired for.  But I now look back at my life and I can easily see the leadership roles.  Some were handed to me, some I had to step out of my comfort zone and step into the role.  But every single one helped mold and shape me into who I am and little by little gave more confidence in the leader role.

If you feel like a follower, think about all the times people have followed you, the advice you’ve given, a project at work that you were in charge of, or someone you professionally or personally mentored.  We have all been placed in the leader role at some point in our lives and my guess is we have all risen to the occasion.

Whether you’re an introvert or you just don’t like to make waves, don’t sell yourself short.  Lead with your heart and the ones that matter will follow.

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis

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Feminism

I’m a doctor, I’m a woman, I’m a mother to a fiercely independent little girl and I want her to know she can do anything she wants.  But I am not a feminist, at least not the way it’s been interpreted recently ( …and cue in the angry comments)

As a fourth year medical student I was the co-president of our school.  Among other things we were asked to give a speech to incoming medical students at their white coat ceremony.  There was about 100 students and their families in the audience so excited for their next steps and proud of their accomplishments thus far. Giving the key note speech was one of our OB/GYN attending physicians.  She said something that quite frankly alarmed me at the time.  In a nutshell, she said that there will be times that they will not be there for their families, for their kids or future kids.  That patients may take precedence over their personal plans. And she also said there will be times that they won’t be able to be there for their patients, that they won’t advance to the next level in their career because of their family, or get the promotion in the academic center.  As I listened to this I felt…deflated.  I thought what an awful message to send to these new and excited medical students about to embark on one of the hardest journeys of their lives. That was then.

As I continued on my path, became a pediatrician, then married and had kids, I realized how true her words had been.  You cannot have it all, all of the time.  Yes, you can have some of it all the time, or some of it some of the time, but… something’s gotta to give!

If I focus solely on my career, then I will need to cover the bases with my family from out sourcing help. If I decide I want to be at every pick up and every drop off, focusing on my career just ain’t happening.  Both scenarios are completely ok.  But there’s been a trend in society that if women can’t do it all, while looking gorgeous in stiletto heals  then there’s something wrong with them.  That they are not trying hard enough? What!?!?!?

My mom was a stay at home mom, she was there for me for EVERYTHING.  But in the eyes of the world, she’s just “a mom”   I’m all for women doing what they want to do but at the end of the day some women just want to be a mom, and that’s okay.  I was so determined and focused when I was younger. I thought I would work 4 days/week and be mom the other 3.  Easy! It wasn’t until I had my own kids that I started resenting all the hours I had to spend away from them.  I was not career focused anymore, I was mom focused.  And I know I’m not the only one.

As our daughters prepare for their future and we talk to them about career options, we should not ignore the most magnificent career of being a mom.  It should not be minimized.  Yes, I think school, education and a career are all important but I wish someone talked to me about the fact that I may want to just be mom and going to school for 11 years and coming out in debt and working 40 hours/week and taking call….may not be the career of choice if I just wanted to be mom.

I am so incredibly fortunate to be able to work part time but I went to school for a lot of years and have a lot of debt to now work part time.  Could there have been other career options I would have entertained if someone sat me down and said, ” Look, something happens to you when you have children.  That hardcore ambition kinda melts away and you just think about your babies ALL THE TIME.  And yes they drive you crazy and yes you will want your time away from them but just think about them in your career choice.” I know that seems like a lot, maybe I wouldn’t have listened and gone to med school anyway but maybe I would have?

In the era of #bossbabes, I  just want to make sure that our daughters know it’s okay to just be mom if that’s what will make them happy.  It’s by far the most important job I have had or ever will have.

Having children just puts the whole world into perspective . Everything else just disappears. -Kate Winslet

 

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The Fairytale Does Exist

IMG_2473If you’re a product of the 80’s like I am, you’ve probably imagined yourself in the role of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman being swept off your feet by Richard Gere (minus the prostitute thing…) Or if Richard Gere doesn’t do it for you then some other Cinderella story with the hunk of your choice, because there are plenty to choose from!

I had the above scenario on my mind when I turned to my husband and said, “our love story isn’t very romantic.”  I know this sounds awful and mean, but that wasn’t my intention.  I was just thinking that irrespective of being a Cinderella story, we’ve made it pretty far and done really well.  Without skipping a beat, he responded, “Our love story is very romantic, we found each other despite being born thousands of miles apart and living in different cities when we met!”  Huh… (this is when you need to look for flying pigs or feel the breeze from hell freezing over)…he was absolutely right! And this is when I realized a fairy tale is only a matter of perspective.

Our love story is truly one for the books, a jewish Persian girl born in Iran, living in Los Angeles falling madly in love with a jewish white boy from Phoenix.  Who would’ve ever thought? So even though he didn’t fly out of a plane to propose to me (he didn’t even get down on a knee), it was magical!  It was a moment I will never forget, even if there is absolutely no documentation on social media.  It was just about us, and the 50 other people in the restaurant that night.

Life is not about the grand gestures.  It’s about the daily grind and still being there for each other after months and years of the mundane every day life.  I was comparing my love story to the ones I’ve seen on the big screen until I realized mine was so much better! Because it was mine!!! And yours is a beautiful fairy tale because it’s yours!  And my fairy tale is filled wth roses and thorns and anyone that tells you different is lying or in denial.  We’ve been through some burning fires but we’ve always come out the other side holding hands or holding each other up.

I am so blessed to have this man by my side who will make me see my beautiful imperfectly perfect fairytale that is all mine. We all need to proudly wear our queen crowns  in our very own fairy tale.

  • Do you compare yourself and your life to a made up vision? Do you compare yourself to social media visions (modern day fairy tales) and everyone’s highlight reel?

 

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale of all.

-Hans Christian Anderson

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The Bonds of Motherhood

 

Recently, I  was able to finally get together with my preschool group of mom friends.  We first met when our kids were between 0-3 and we had an instant bond. We had each other’s backs, we had much needed girls nights AND we had play dates with wine!  These moms were my life line in those crazy, hectic, fly by the seat of our pants years.  They were my people.

The kids grew up (as they tend to do) and we all went our separate ways to different elementary schools,  some even moved to different cities, (which in LA you might as well be moving to a different country).  Our kids made new friends, we made new friends and life kept going.  Our kids got busier, we got busier. We’d get together for birthdays or for lunches here and there but those events became few and further apart.

But there was always that bond, the unbreakable bond of motherhood.  We could not be more different in how we parent our kids.  Some of us may be polar opposites in fact.  I tend to be more laissez-faire, whatever will be will be, knowing that  my kids will survive (that’s the pediatrician in me!)  While one friend will only buy organic everything and make sure the kids are in bed at an appropriate bed time, properly dressed and signed up for all the right classes.  Another friend will not adhere so closely to a schedule and knows her kids will go to sleep…eventually.  Two of my friends moved to different cities so that their kids would be in the best school environment for their needs, putting their own needs and desires aside.  You get where I’m going with this!

While we differ tremendously in our parenting styles, there’s 2 things that keep us together.  Our love for our children and our love for each other. Physically we may be far apart but in our hearts we could not be closer! When we finally met for lunch it was as if no time had passed and we were all talking as we would have 6 or 7 years ago when our bonds started to form.

adult business close up friendship
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.  These are a group of women that I only want the best for, like sisters, and who only want the best for me.  We don’t always agree and that’s okay because the bonds we made don’t break easily and carry us through the roughest storms.  I know they will be there if I need them, I know they will call me out when they need to and I know the next time we meet it will be as if no time has passed.

  • Do you have mom friends that you count on for support no matter how far they are? What are your best support systems now?  Who’s in your village? (We all need a village!)

 

 

“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.”

Anna Quindlen

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For Love, Fun or Money; Why I Chose a Side-Gig

About a month or two after starting my side gig business, a good friend and mentor asked me, ” So tell me, is this new business for love, fun or money?”  I had to pause for a second as I hadn’t really thought about it….and this was the dialogue in my head; well, I signed up hoping to make an extra income, I ended up loving the products, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it…So I answered. “YES!”  I’m breaking it down in my blog for all my friends giving me the side eye and because it has become a big part of life and well, my blog IS my life!

MONEY:  Yes, I’m a pediatrician and yes, I’m still working.  Yes, my husband is a doctor as well.  BUT,  we are still both paying off our student loans and rather than working more hours as a pediatrician away from my kids and their activities, I was looking for something I could do on my own time.  After being in the business 6 months, I have made a (small) dent in my loans and hope to pay them off completely in 1-2 years! Could I make more money if I worked more as a doctor…probably (although not much) but I wouldn’t be available to my kids like I am now which is immensely important to me and for which I am so grateful.

LOVE:  yes, I LOVE the products.  Before I even tried it I was so impressed with the results and the research behind the products.  We now have 150 physicians within the company. After trying the products, I’m hooked!  I will forever sell the products to at least just get what I want (need) for free!

FUN: YUP…it’s really fun!  I get to have parties with friends, for friends, at friends’ houses, hangout, drink wine, show off my developing cheese board skills and talk about products I love.  I’ve made friends with amazing people that I would have never met. And I’ve reconnected with people that I hadn’t talk to in years! Whether I make a sale or not really doesn’t matter because I’ve already gained from the connections or reconnections.

But there’s one more (BIG) thing.  About 2 years ago I went on a life changing journey with about 45 other like-minded moms.  It was a transformative experience and it started me on my self development path.  I strived to be better and use what we learned in my daily life.  It prompted me to start this blog and share my soul on the internet (way out of my comfort zone).  But as time passed those feelings faded and it was so hard for me to keep them alive in my mundane every day tasks…until my side-gig! With this company there is a culture of striving to be better, doing the little things every day to see the change in the long term, there is a huge emphasis on self development.  I have read (and finished) more self development books in the past 6 months than I had in my whole life.  I have made a vision board with my daughter. I have gone on a medical mission trip  I am more deliberate in my actions and how they will benefit me (I have majorly cut back on TV/netflix…that’s HUGE for me!) And for the first time, possibly as an adult, I’m being appreciated and acknowledged for my accomplishments, no matter how small. The culture of medicine is daunting at times and being involved in a side gig has been unbelievably refreshing. (See previous publication in kevin MD for more on that.)

I am not trying to sell anyone on this side-gig or another (at least not in this post!)  Just merely sharing my experiences and my why(s)! I know everyone has their own opinions about me, the products, the business…etc! But as I learned at my very uplifting conference… “other people’s opinions will not pay your bills!”