From fatalist to finalist
“Who the heck is Dr. Sarah Wooten?” That’s the name of the video clip that first introduced me to a person I now consider to be a role model. The dvm360 video is a quick introduction where Dr. Wooten describes herself in a well-rounded and confident but unpretentious way. She tells us that she is a veterinarian but also a wife and mom.
I felt relieved to hear her various roles and responsibilities mentioned together because, at that time, I was studying for my examination to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and was starting to realize how much my family was putting on hold in order for me to be able to work full time during the day, go to school full time at night and pursue my professional certification. By presenting herself in this holistic way, Dr. Wooten gave me permission to do so too. I saw that I didn’t have to separate and compartmentalize my many roles to be a respected professional.
I had the joy of seeing Dr. Wooten in person at last year’s CVC conference (now Fetch dvm360) in Kansas City as part of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) sessions. Dr. Wooten’s discussion of introverts stuck with me as she helped me understand that all the extrovert characteristics I exert at work each day create a medically proven deficit in the brain that must be refilled every evening with quiet, introverted activities. Finally—a real excuse for not socializing after work! (Thanks, Dr. Wooten!)
But that wasn’t my only takeaway for the day. I didn’t realize that Dr. Wooten’s presentation on impostor syndrome applied to me until almost a year later when I received an email saying I’d been nominated for the 2017 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year award.
As I sat staring at the computer screen that said I needed to write about myself and my accomplishments, my thoughts went something like this:
I’m not that impressive. What makes me so special? Maybe I just have a really good team. Someone else has done something more impressive. I’d have to have a pretty big head to fill this out. I wouldn’t win even if I did send this in.
Then I remembered Dr. Wooten’s presentation on impostor syndrome. She said that veterinary professionals need to stop comparing their lives to other people’s highlight reels. She said women have a tendency to credit everyone but themselves (or at least minimalize their efforts). She said most women push the light away when it’s their time to shine.
I was doing all of this.
Bam! Palm to forehead.
With this revelation in mind, I let my fingers fly on the keyboard as I filled out my entry. Instead of the negative thoughts above, I felt proud and worthy of recognition. And where did all of this positive self-talk get me? I am one of 10 finalists for the Practice Manager of the Year award.