I’ve broken a few bones in my time.
I wish I could say I was doing something fun or daring. But, alas, they were the result of being overly conservative.
While my friends were racing around on their bicycles, I slowed down going into turns. When they ran through puddles, I walked.
In each case, they had momentum on their side, which carried them through what could be a hazardous condition.
As the cautious one, I was slower. I had no momentum. I didn’t have enough speed to keep me going through the hazards and fell. A few broken legs later, and you figure out that being overly cautious may be as dangerous as going too fast.
It is the same with much in life. When we have momentum on our side, we can power our way through challenging situations. When we are slow and cautious, potential speed bumps feel like mountains to cross.
So get up your speed. Get some momentum behind your goals and plans. Start delivering and stop focusing on all the things that could go wrong.
There will be hazards. There will be scary moments. Let your momentum carry you through.
Rejecting traditional gender roles
I do not have a Y chromosome. Somehow, without that, I can still use power tools, change my tires or oil, install a car stereo, and do all sorts of other useful things.
As a young child, I was offered the opportunity to learn anything I wanted. There was no talk of not being able to do something because I’m a girl. Until I had my own child. Now I hear that from my son.
I have been shocked and perplexed as to why my son would think I can’t do something, simply because I’m a girl.
There is literally nothing I believe I can’t do or show him. Except that whole peeing standing up thing. His dad can take that on with my blessing.
If he’s growing up in a house with a strong, capable mother who believes she can do anything, what’s the deal?
The influence of broader society
My son is 8 and already being taught, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that there are things girls do well and things boys do well. In spite of my (rather direct) influence and teachings, he’s hearing it and seeing it from many more people than what he’s hearing from me.
If volume and frequency of voices drives his reality, I’m a pretty lonely voice out there.
Welcome to Leadership VITAE!
Today, I’m proud to announce the relaunch of my blog to a responsive website, designed to help guide you along the phases of the leadership journey.
A few months ago, I asked myself “Is my writing designed to help you, my readers, apply the leadership ideas and concepts I share?” The answer was pretty simple.
Since then, I have started to build worksheets, infographics and other visuals to help you transition concepts to reality.
It wasn’t enough.
On a recent trip to Boston, I was running late and hailed a cab to take me to the train station.
The driver had some questions for me, seeming a little unsure of the best route to get me where I needed to go. I’m not from the area, so he called someone to help guide him at a couple of points along the way.
I could have been impatient. I had a train to catch.
Instead, we chatted about the news on the radio and the buildings we passed. Since things looked familiar to me, I knew we would get to where we needed to go and I’d have enough time to catch my train.
After the second call to confirm a street we needed to take, I asked him how long he had been driving a cab in the city.
“Today’s my first day.”
He was so pleasant, determined to get me where I needed to go and make it a good experience. He was also appreciative, telling me that I had helped make his first day a positive one. He came here from Ghana, new to our country and unsure of what kind of reception he would receive.
I did my part to make that reception a welcoming one. And I didn’t even realize it.
How often do we engage with someone, not knowing the context of his or her day? Allowing our context to drive how we engage?
This gentleman from Ghana reminded me that we always have a choice to be patient and kind, thoughtful and considerate to others. As if today was their first day on the job. Every day.
While I love to offer help, I abhor asking for it. Life is funny that way – this time I had no choice.
When I asked for your help, you had two reactions. You were clearly worried about me – and I thank you for the outpouring of hugs, prayers, and well wishes. Yet you were also excited about the opportunity to step up. To show me what you’re made of.
I also excited to be back and to see what amazing things you’ve done while I was gone.