Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where better begins.

When I was a medical student and later, a resident, I had no idea how capable I was. I mean, I knew I was competent. Or at least, I had it in me to be competent. But most of the time I tip toed around hoping and praying that I wouldn't get the covers pulled back on the real me--the one who really wasn't so great at all.

I've talked about this before, this idea of thinking of yourself as an imposter. With each accolade, I felt the spotlight brighten. It was nauseating to think that people would look at me and point in my direction expecting some level of excellence that honestly, I was pretty sure wasn't a deliverable from my end. It was a sucky way to feel.


At some point I chose to start fighting against those insecure ideas. I coached myself to believe that I was who people thought I was or better yet, someone even greater if I could fight my fears long enough to explore what that meant.

I think of this every day. I ask myself, "Who are you? What are you doing with your spiritual gifts? Are you using them? Are you trying your best to transform a piece of this world?" The answers are mixed sometimes. But I strive to eventually attain very confident and firm answers some day.

I fight to help my learners see themselves as excellent. Some part of me wants to accelerate things for them and quickly push them away from self-deprecating thoughts as early as possible. To look them in the eyes and say, "You are more than even you realize. And I see it." I want to be sure that they know what I didn't know then.

Especially those who perform at high levels. For some reason, those are the ones that doubt themselves the most. And so. I'm specific when I give them feedback. It's more than just "strong work." It's, "Here is why I think you are awesome. Specifically, this is what you did that stood out." Then I observe and coach them, trying my best to dissect the liking them part from the here is why I think you arehighly competent individual part. Because sometimes that distinction gets blurry.


I guess my point of this ramble is this: I want to fight the imposter phenomenon with all of my might. I want those girls like me who come to majority schools to feel like they deserve to be there. I want those students who've had an academic hiccup to not think this is what defines them for the rest of their career. I guess I just want them to know what I didn't know. At least not fully.

I'm a lot closer to believing in myself than I used to be. One of my goals every day as a clinician and as an educator is to convince people, through my interactions with them, of who they are and what they can do. To me, that's half the battle. Better begins with belief.

Yeah, man. That's all I've got.

Happy Hump Day


  1. thank you for this much needed post. i identify too strongly with the things you say. It's ultimately what drove me to quit my residency program because I couldn't handle feeling like an inadequate imposter anymore. Your students are very lucky to have you; I only wish I had found a mentor like you.

  2. And the way you are raising your boys is the way to grow humans who have belief in themselves. I am proud of you for that. You and your BHE.

  3. Thank you so much for this Dr. Manning. I continue to be inspired by your words, your passion for mentorship, and your compassion for people. This was beautiful.



"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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