Dr. Yiu on dressing for trust & respect, ambition beyond work, and avoiding the insta-life trap

Name, location - and multi-hyphenated title 

Yin Yiu, NYC & Houston, TX,

Physician/surgeon-dog mom-foodie-perpetual wanderer

What do you do - and what what drives you in your career as well as personal endeavors?

I am a (soon-to-be) fellowship-trained laryngologist, which is a type of ENT physician/surgeon specialized in caring for patients with voice, airway, and swallowing disorders. I have spent a wonderful year in New York completing my subspecialty training and am thrilled to go home to Houston to establish my practice later this fall. I am driven by a strong desire to connect with others while also challenging myself to explore new horizons. I am profoundly grateful to have found a career where I can achieve these goals in both my professional and personal life.

Ambition: What does ambition personally mean to you - what place does it have in your life? Do you think our culture perceives “ambition” to be a dirty word for women? Why or why not?

Ambition to me is firstly determining what motivates you personally (because it is and should be different for different people) and then being always mindful of those goals as you live your life. I think our culture does often assume “ambition” to relate only to career-oriented goals, which can then have a negative connotation for women, especially if they also have goals of raising a family. We’ve made a lot of progress away from this mindset, but I think we have a ways to go before professional and personal ambitions are considered mutually exclusive for women.

What does ‘having confidence’ mean to you - what place does it have in your life? How do you work on it?

Having confidence to me again goes back to valuing your own personal goals and not basing your self-worth on comparing yourself to others. In the world of social media I am just as guilty as anyone of having dips of low self-confidence when I am envious of someone else’s presumably perfect insta-life. I’ve been actively trying (keyword: trying not always succeeding) to avoid making those comparisons with others and to instead work on being grateful for what I have and what I’ve accomplished.

Goals: Please share one of your current, important goals (can be personal or work-related). Why is this a goal and how did you realize it was something that you wanted to work on? What’s your plan for achieving it?

I made a goal for this year to read more. I grew up as a kid who would never put her books down, but I lost sight of this passion as reading became synonymous with studying and work. Now that my formal education is winding down, I have become reinvigorated to read for pleasure. This has allowed me to learn about new things completely outside of my normal routine and opened up meaningful conversation topics when sharing these books with friends.

Does your pursuit of ambition, confidence and goals influence your wardrobe choices? For example, does work influence the way you dress both in the workplace and outside of it? What is your outfit when you really have to get shi*t done?

Yes and no. I definitely have tried to elevate my professional wardrobe this year as I will soon be practicing on my own, so I want to dress in a way that encourages my patients to trust me and my colleagues to respect me. However, outside of work I still lean more towards a casual style. I intend to have a couple pairs of monogrammed scrubs for those crazy busy days when I need both comfort and polish at work.

What activities do you do outside of your full-time gig (whether that’s work, parenting or something else)? How does it bring balance to your life? How does it make you more successful in your full-time gig?

As I mentioned, I feel my happiness comes from building relationships with others whether that’s at work or at home, so I try to spend the majority of my free time with friends and family. However, as an extroverted introvert I also love “me” time and am happy to curl up with my dog and a book. I’m most excited to finally finish my medical training so I can have more time to travel the world. I’ve lived for extended periods of time in 5 countries and traveled to 25 so I’m always looking forward to the next big trip. Having personal ambitions helps frame my outlook on life and keeps me mindful of how I want to incorporate my professional life into my whole life.

How do your activities outside of work influence your wardrobe and style?

I am a huge fan of athleisure so I certainly love outfits that can be multi-use. I love that Pivotte recognizes that women who work hard also probably work out hard and play hard, so they keep that in mind when designing their clothing.

What are your guidelines when choosing to buy something new for your wardrobe?

I lived through medical school and residency in scrubs in the hospital so I had a lot of work to do when I came to New York in building my professional wardrobe for seeing patients in the outpatient setting. I’ve been focusing on buying reliable wardrobe pieces that are neutral/solid in color, fashionably tailored, and comfortable for all-day wear.

What do you like about the 24/7s? What activities do you do in them?

I love everything about them - how they feel, how they look, and easy they are to take care of. As many other women have said, they are some of the only “work pants” that I keep on long after the workday is over. I tend to take catnaps on the couch after work and my 24/7s do just as well as my sweatpants.