I love teaching medical students, as you probably have heard me say or have read in some of my writing.


Aside from the teaching and mentoring, it is always interesting to experience their different personalities. I get a group of four to eight every six weeks, and it is the most fascinating thing to watch them interacting with each other and to just observe their uniqueness.

Some are very confident and blurt out answers to questions without much thought. Some shy away from responding and are much more cautious.


The personality type I find most fascinating are the ones who have the correct answer 100 percent of the time but act so unsure of themselves. They frown and have this confused expression on their faces as they answer my questions. Or they respond with a question for me and embed the answer somewhere in the question, still with that confused facial expression. Students who doubt themselves so much.


I’ve had a few students over the years with this personality. The smart but chronically unsure students. The supersmart students who shy away from shining because they are so unsure of themselves.


I had one just a few weeks ago. A really smart female who always had the correct answer to my questions but squeezed her face, mumbled, vacillated, or responded with a question.

I gave her a kind, respectful talk at every encounter on how she shouldn’t be scared to shine.

She should not be worried about having the wrong answer. She should just say the answer that comes to her mind with a smile and with confidence. Answers can only be wrong or right, and she could miss out on a lot if she doubted herself so much.

But she doubted herself so much, she even tried to explain to me and to justify why she doubted herself. This personality trait was interesting.


I have always been on the shy side, but I have never been worried or scared about shining.


I give myself permission to shine always, and I do it with a smile on my face. Shyness is not a reason not to shine. You can be shy, yet shine when you need to.


I teach my daughters the same. I let them know they don’t need permission to shine. They must always stand or sit tall and own their gifts, talents, and greatness. They must speak up respectfully and with confidence when the need arises, without changing who they really are.


If you dim your own light, doubt your own true essence, you are giving yourself permission to fail in life. Believe in yourself. Shine.

No one would ever consciously want to dim their own light, but some of us subconsciously do this to ourselves by portraying that trait of self-doubt over and over.


Shine your light. Smile. Sit tall. Stand tall. Own your greatness. Walk with confidence. And then…give yourself permission to repeat.


…and be permanently happy