One of my great leaders dumped a talk on me recently that he was meant to deliver to the medics lunch time meeting (150 physicians and students). He was called away somewhere more important and emailed me late at night to ask if I’d do it.
I arrived at work in my best smart dress and heels with more than the usual level of hair and makeup effort. Great Leader met me to hand over the pen drive and I started nervously wringing my hands that they would be disappointed to get me and not him.
It was a topic I know inside and out and I make decisions based on the evidence I was presenting every day. I smoothed my dress and stood tall, shoulders back and exhaled. I peered in the Professor’s mirror (I know- a professor of surgery with a mirror in his office!) and tutted at my reflection. “I’ll be there nice and early and make sure the computer works” I reassured him, scowling at a dirty mark on my shoes, “I hope they aren’t disappointed not to get you”.
He took me by both shoulders, looked at me and said “Why are you nervous? Go and put your scrubs on, put your hair up, put your hat on and relax. Turn up 5 minutes before you are due to talk and let them worry about the computer”.
The talk went well, they asked easy questions that revealed how little they knew about the subject and how much I knew. I felt happy and relaxed and I looked like myself, by which I mean my surgical self.
“#Looklikeasurgeon” is great and God knows most of the time I don’t conform to the stereotype and even take great pleasure in not doing so, but sometimes looking exactly like a surgeon is very helpful.