Two items stopped me in my tracks this week. Sharing them here on my outboard memory so I don’t forget (and hopefully they will inspire you, too).
On celebrating “small wins” during a long climb toward a goal:
After searching for ways to address this, a few months ago we turned a portion of our weekly All Hands Meeting into a celebration of these small wins. What we do is write the “small wins” on Jenga blocks (they’re a good size, easy to write on, and pretty cheap) and have started collecting them in a pile. Every week the pile grows. I think it’s a neat way to literally show us how the small wins add up to something much bigger—and an important reminder for me to take stock of the forward momentum and keep grounded and grateful for the day-to-day.
– Derek Flanzraich, CEO & founder of Greatist, on his lessons learned after three years as a startup founder
This reminds me of the “appreciation glow sticks” that Stanford Medicine X handed out last year. Everyone at the event received 5 glow sticks to give to the people who inspire them as a visible, ritual exchange of regard. I still have the note that Erin Moore passed to me, along with a glow stick. How can we incorporate this into our daily lives?
On lifting up women and girls:
The world is out of balance. Working with indigenous cultures has helped me to see where this systemic imbalance comes from. I have a theory for why men oppress women: It comes down to our fear of intuition. Women give birth, nurture life, need to keep their intuitive sense developed in order to protect their young. What intuition does, if it’s strong, is allow a person to meet the future sooner—and that gives an evolutionary advantage. Because of women’s evolutionary advantage, men had to figure out a way of keeping them in check. So what did they create? A system where intuition doesn’t make sense. Where it doesn’t serve us. Where I think, therefore I am.
But it’s not just about women and girls. We’re talking about suppression of the feminine, including the feminine in men. If you look at the yin/yang symbols, you see there’s a dot of the opposite hemisphere in each side. There’s yin in yang, and yang in yin. Our culture looks down on the qualities that come with the feminine hemisphere. In terms of trying to rebalance things, the first stop must be girls and women. Because violence against women is not a women’s issue. Period. It’s a men’s issue. It’s a human issue for sure, but it’s a men’s issue. There aren’t many women perpetrating violence against women. And it’s mostly a men’s problem because of what gets suppressed in men early on.
– Peter Buffet, co-president of the NoVo Foundation, in an interview about leading an ethical life
The idea that women are more likely than men to listen to an inner voice resonates with my fieldwork, such as women who tell me about birthmarks being “a little note from God” or having “a feeling I couldn’t shake.” And then that turns out to be what saved their child or themselves from remaining undiagnosed or untreated. I have stories of men who report similar intuitions, but far fewer. What other evidence do you see in the world that supports or refutes Peter’s thesis?
Roni Zeiger says
Writing small wins on Jenga blocks is something I’m now going to try at home, especially with the kids!
I’m also nodding my head vigorously about women, intuition, and making positive change. Perhaps the biggest lesson of the last year for me has been the unstoppable clarity of mothers of children with rare chronic illness.
Susannah Fox says
The Jenga idea also reminds me of Beads of Courage — little badges of honor that can add up.
And yes, absolutely right about those moms. And a few dads!
Wendy Sue Swanson says
I agree; the world is out of balance. And intuition is a remarkably powerful emotion/tool/asset. And I also believe we women have the luxury to discuss it, strap it onto our external persona, and celebrate it in a way men cannot (culturally). But reading this, and then re-reading this, it had me wondering: Do we have intuitive gusts of emotion all the time but only chalk up our wins (in the case of health or disease safety or harm reduction) when we confirm our intuition? What about all those times we hear a creeeeeek in the night thinking something is in the house, or the times we worry our child is going to fall from the climber at the park and then they don’t. What about that? I think we walk away from those false intuitions thinking, “ohhh, lucky,” or we beat ourselves up thinking, “I worry too much.”
I bring this up because occasionally intuition/instinct can lead us astray in health. The “Mommy Instinct” was the primary motivator and “data” that Jenny McCarthy used to launch her campaign against life-saving vaccines. And because you and I feel it so strongly (instinct) her story resonated with many. It’s sexier to talk about instinct than it is to talk about double-blind studies. This instinct, Jenny said, confirmed her belief that the MMR shot caused her son’s autism. We know today, of course, that MMR doesn’t cause autism (in fact over 7 huge studies have refuted that link) and scientific research, NIH funding, and the public has unfortunately been distracted, mislead and duped about the truth behind vaccine science and safety for years. Now? It’s April 2014 and we’ve got over 120 people with measles in the US this year alone, almost entirely people who weren’t protected from a vaccine-preventable and potentially life-ending disease because they lacked the save, effective vaccine. The majority of cases in the Orange County outbreak, for example, have been infections in unvaccinated children whose parents refused the safe vaccine.
Instinct and intuition are exceptional, powerful, feminine stuff. But science can help us refine them.
Susannah Fox says
Yes. Yes, all around.
In the post I link the words “a feeling I couldn’t shake” to a post that captures a conversation I had with Catherine Fairchild who, when pregnant with her second child, had a feeling that something was wrong.
During a routine sonogram about midway through her pregnancy, her doctor identified bilateral choroid plexus cysts, or CPCs, which can be an indication of Down’s syndrome and other conditions. Or they could indicate nothing at all. Her doctor reassured Catherine that the marks were likely a meaningless blip on their radar screen.
But intuition told Catherine to look more closely. Get this: she paid for a short-term online subscription to the Journal of the American Medical Association and set to work, learning everything she possibly could about CPCs and their implications.
There’s much more to her story, including (eventually) a one-in-a-million diagnosis of her son Billy’s genetic bone disease. She listened to her inner voice and then went to the top of the information food chain. Every time. Which, as her medical mystery tour progressed, meant finding other people who share the same condition.
Catherine describes herself as a “learning type of person” and I want to clone her, or more realistically, lift her up so more people can learn from her. Stay tuned on that topic 🙂