Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.Victor Hugo
It’s good to shut up sometimes.Marcel Marceau
In the confrontation between the rock and the stream, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.H. Jackson Brown Jr.
I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.Susan Sontag
Reprising my shameless self-promotion in case you missed it. In October, I was a guest on the Northern Trust Advisors Podcast, and I just learned that this podcast made their top ten for 2021. So exciting! Here’s a link if you want to listen to a 1.5-minute excerpt.
Rufus Miles, an American government administrator in the 20th century, is the originator and namesake of the aphorism “Where you stand depends on where you sit.” As with most great quotes, it is as relevant today as it was then.
This message was driven home to me when I spent an evening with nine women who began our careers in the ’70s and ’80s. All of us were at the gathering at the invitation of one of the people present, i.e., we all knew at least one person and none of us knew everyone. We talked about many things and then serendipitously began to share stories about challenges early in our careers. In the spirit of full disclosure, the stories mostly were about challenges of being young women faced with inappropriate situations in male-dominated companies.
A few days later, I talked with a male colleague, a longtime friend, and mentor. I told him about our shared history conversation and the direction it took. After telling him a few of the stories, he shared his own stories from the other side. Such as when he was in a leadership position and falsely accused, offered sexual favors, etc. I was struck by the reminder that the more we share, the more common ground we find. And that these stories are really about the personal side of business.
Like my women colleagues and me, my male colleague had his own stories to tell. We talked about how these stories shape us, and that for women and people of color, because of the power equation, sometimes they shape us more.
I was struck by the value of shared histories in creating connections and overcoming stereotypes.
Wouldn’t it be cool to sit at a table with men and women and people of all colors and backgrounds and tell our shared histories of career and life challenges that shape the people and leaders we have become…?
If you can help people see themselves in your story, then you have a connection.Muhammad Ali
2021 ended with yet another year of living in a pandemic. As I begin this new year, I’ve been reflecting on one of The Economist’s predictions, “In 2022, we will see Covid 19 move from a pandemic to endemic.”
Over the last two years, we have become so accustomed to making life and business choices based on this pandemic that I wonder, if this prediction is correct, how long will it take for behaviors to change accordingly?
We tend to make choices based on what we know, and it’s convenient to accumulate a bank of knowledge and rely on that to make decisions. What happens, though, when what we know isn’t so anymore?
The changing nature of Covid, what to test, when to mask, what test to rely on, etc., is a reminder, what is so today, may not be so tomorrow.
Can we learn to accept Covid as part of our society, much like other contagious diseases? Can we learn to protect those at risk and share vaccines worldwide while not trying to stop the world in the process?
Can we keep some of the good we learned from these past two years, e.g., we can nurture relationships on Zoom, take precautions to prevent spreading viruses, trust people to work even when we can’t see them working?
And can the lessons of the Covid evolution teach us to pause and evaluate what we are so confident of today that may not be so tomorrow?
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain
Seneca said about 2000 years ago, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
As this year draws to a close, ending what was once a new beginning, 2021, what new beginning awaits us in 2022? What plans, goals, intentions will you begin?
Happy Holidays. Thank you for honoring me by reading my Sunday Stories. See you in the new year.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.Vern Law
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.Robert Frost