Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate.”
I found Audiology at the University of the Pacific after a string of what my bad-ass, southern, single mother lovingly referred to as my “waitressing majors”. I moved to the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1992, ready to pursue a M.A. degree and a career which I thought would land me firmly in pediatrics.
Life clearly had other plans for me!
In 1997, I was eight months pregnant and was called to a meeting with my boss from a local ENT practice. He was going to do me a favor. He put me on what he called “permanent maternity leave”. Confused and naïve, I shook his hand, thanked him and drove home. When I announced this great news to my husband, he informed me that, actually…I had just been fired.
Fired?!? Yep, fired. One thing that boss was right about was that he HAD done me a favor. I just didn’t know it at the time.
Luckily, fate had put me in the way of an incredible audiologist mentor named Eliza Schwab. Eliza had a small private practice called Longmont Hearing Center. On the night of my firing and in that moment of my pregnant desperation, she hired me to be her receptionist. I held that job for exactly one month, because returning from maternity leave, Eliza offered me an opportunity as an audiologist to travel to nursing homes she contracted with up and down the Colorado Front Range. There was just one catch. The job would be commission-only. No office, no base salary, no benefits. Imagine your paycheck being 100% reliant on your ability to be productive. It was a crash course in business, marketing, sales and customer service from the school of hard knocks, but it was life-changing!
In 2001, just after 9/11, Eliza changed my professional course yet again. She asked me to buy the practice. This was never my dream. Self-doubt terrorized me but with my husband, son and family firmly behind me, I landed an SBA loan, signed the papers and jumped off the entrepreneurial cliff. I vowed that the only thing that I had really purchased was the privilege of being “the last one out the door”. It was April 1, 2002. April Fool’s Day. Who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humor!
but I was becoming conscious
The path to audiology practice ownership may have been somewhat unconscious, but it wasn’t without my participation as I learned when I started teaching yoga in 2008.
Yoga helped develop my self-confidence and deepen my ability to communicate complex physical and esoteric concepts. I have been fortunate to have studied with some of the great modern masters and innovators of yoga in the west – Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon & David Life and Alanna Kaivalya. These teachers gave me a strong foundation in activism, nada (the yoga of sound, vibration and mantra), the chakra system and the mythology of yoga. I learned how to weave thematic stories throughout my classes and workshops, offering students the opportunity to connect with their own transformational journey through the power of personal experience.
The business of yoga has strong ties to social media. It wasn’t long before I took those skills and translated them for my private practice. In 2013, I caught the attention of the Business Editor of Huffington Post when he reached out to me on Twitter for a story he was working on, saying he had “been following me for a while now”. The tangible evidence of leveraging social media for Audiology was laid at my feet.
I was discovering my limitless truth.
I began teaching and sharing social media best practices/techniques for audiologists as the Director of Social Media for AuDConnex Practice Management Group. I have published articles on social media and marketing in Audiology Today, Seminars in Hearing, Audiology Practices and The Hearing Journal.
In 2017, I up-leveled my personal growth opportunities by learning to speak my truth on stage at Evoso Live (a TedX style event in Boulder ) and then finally full circle back to CU-Boulder as an Adjunct Professor teaching Business Management and Ethics to their Au.D. students. It’s been quite a ride so far!
playing at the intersection of confidence, storytelling and business
In the Spring of 2018, I started a passion project called “Assessing the Confidence Gap for Audiologists”
It was exploration into the role of confidence in professional development and best practices for Audiologists. I presented this information at the American Academy of Audiology convention and then published the results of my research in The Hearing Journal.
This project evolved into teaching Audiologists how to find their truth and tell their stories. In the coming year, I hope you will look for classes and workshops on how to use the power of storytelling to communicate your authentic, unique truth and how to help bridge the gaps of confidence as we supervise and mentor the next generation of professionals.
I won’t lie. It hasn’t been all rainbows, sparkles and butterflies, but I think you could say being fired lit a fire and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Here’s what I believe.
Nothing is purely by chance. Life is full of unexpected, life-changing opportunities and it is our job in this lifetime to say “YES”. Chart your course, be relentless in the pursuit of all of your passions but leave room for the mystery. Agree to be an active participant in the alchemical process of your unlimited potential! Be willing to let the experience drive the plan. Don’t be afraid to start out on the ground floor. Yesterday’s receptionists often become today’s CEO’s.
As for the profession, stop feeding into fear! I’ve have been hearing about “the death of Audiology” for over 20 years. Why? Because the vultures want us to be scared. Tell the stories, lessons and truths of how Audiology changes lives. People will always want the “easy fix” but they need and crave more. Be awesomely OK with everything!! Learn to speak truth to BS, huddle up with your colleagues and get in the game. We are so much more powerful united.
SEE YOU ON THE ROAD OR IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD!
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