I started my small gynecology practice and began blogging for the Skinless Project in the same month almost one year ago- January 2012. With the holidays and new year approaching, I cannot help but reflect on the lessons that the year has brought me- both personally and professionally. Opportunity and challenge seem to come knocking together most days, but the risks- and rewards- have been worthwhile. I hope that these top 5 lessons of my year can be applied to your lives as well. Take big projects and break them down– then tackle each one day at a time. My business made it through its first year…successfully! For me, this is a tremendous accomplishment. Last year at this time, I was trying to sort through the thousand details that opening up a medical practice requires. It was overwhelming, it was expensive and it was scary. It is easier to take a big task and break it down into smaller tasks. It is also important to stay organized! Done in small increments, the big task can be accomplished well. 2. When you don’t know how to do something, find someone who can. I don’t know much about accounting, or calculating payroll, or building a website, or the fine details of medical billing. So I found people that I liked and trusted, and relied on their expertise to guide me. I read a lot- and continue to read a lot- about these topics, so that I can stay on top of my game. You are not going to know everything about everything- so trust others to help you. 3. Running my practice is easier than taking care of my one year old. This one really caught me off guard! People did tell me that being at work is easier than being at home, but it took this year for me to believe them. There is an ever elusive work-life balance that we are all searching for, and then there is my rambunctious daughter. Let me just say that I have a tremendous respect for women who are stay at home moms- there is nothing easy about it! Let us stop the mommy wars and respect women on both sides of the front. 4. Use your time creatively. I joke around that I put the practice together while my daughter was taking her naps. (Seriously though, I did.) As it stands now, I still do all of my administrative work from home when she is napping. I return phone calls with lab test results, pay bills, work on charting. This is not how most doctors do it, but this is what works for me. It allows me to spend time with her and still do what I need to do for the practice. As long as the work gets done well, the methodology behind it can be creative. 5. Women are amazing- we should learn from each other. I exclusively take care of women given my medical specialty, and they never fail to amaze me. I have learned so much from my patients this year. I am invariably drawn in to their life stories and the overcoming of obstacles that each woman does in her own right. Women are incredibly strong and resilient people, and have so much to learn from each other. My involvement with The Skinless Project has been a positive influence in this past year, and serves as another method through which we as women can embrace our diversity and our strength. May your holidays be happy and the new year ahead bring us all joy, scholarship, success and most importantly, good health!