Cheryl offers: On the front page of Sunday September 19’s New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal was a picture of several women in Afghanistan. They were dressed in blue veils and garments to identify them as voting poll administrators. These women were there even though the Taliban had threatened to harm anyone participating in the voting process.” WOW” was all I could think as I stared at the picture. These are truly brave women! It occurred to me today as Randy Mayeux delivered a book synopsis of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein that the stories about Florence Nightingale in that book could also be about the women in this picture. You see, Florence didn’t listen to conventional wisdom nor heed warnings from others. She made history by following her passion about what she knew but couldn’t necessarily prove. She was one of those “obsessive people who have the skill, motivation, energy, and bullheadedness to do whatever is necessary to move them (new ideas) forward: to persuade, inspire, seduce, cajole, enlighten, touch hearts, alleviate fears, shift perceptions, articulate meanings and artfully maneuver through systems.” The only word missing from fully describing the Afghanistan women in that picture was courage; the kind of courage that inspires and motivates. None were likely named Florence, and yet they share more than a name – they share her spirit. WOW, am I lucky to have witnessed this!
Cheryl offers: There is a reporter at CNN named Caitlin Hagan that I really like. Her latest achievement is today’s story about a surgeon at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It seems his patient, a young Afghani soldier who had been brought there with a serious head injury, was also quite dangerous to himself and those around him without even knowing it. What they initially thought was shrapnel turned out to be a live bullet that had not detonated. After multiple tests confirmed the identity of the object, an explosive ordnance disposal team was summoned. That’s when Major John Bini, who oversees all major trauma cases there, became what Jim Collins defines in his book Good to Great a Level 5 leader. Bini took all the precautions necessary such as donning body armor under his scrubs, dismissing all non-essential personnel from the premises, removing sources of electricity in the operating room, manually administering the procedures for the operation and when he couldn’t use clamps or a scalpel close to the bullet, he pulled the object out with his hands. When it was all over, he calmly deflected praise and instead pointed to the soldiers who are in the field as the ones deserving praise. Collins defines a Level 5 leader as someone who “Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.” Dr. Bini saw this as his job because he is the director of the emergency surgery course, nothing more, nothing less. To me, that is greatness, courage, and humility. Who wouldn’t want to follow that leader?
Cheryl offers: Our business, like so many others, has enjoyed the affects of the economy. You know I use the word “enjoyed” with a smile here. We recently decided to sit back and look at our business activity to see what we noticed. It was pretty apparent. We weren’t asking for enough business. Now this is embarrassing to admit, since we both spent a fair amount of our careers in sales. It occurs to me how easily it is to slip into what I might call “complacency habits”. A good economy helps you do that. We also reminded ourselves of the research in the book, “Women Don’t Ask” by Sarah Laschever and Linda Babcock. “Wanting things for oneself (like business deals if you are an entrepreneur) and doing whatever may be necessary to get those things-such as asking for them-often clashes with the social expectation that a woman will devote her attention to the needs of others and pay less attention to her own.” As a result of this well spent time in contemplation, we began to proactively ASK different questions. Amazingly, business is emerging from conversations almost every day. Thank goodness. Now I wonder, “What else have I become complacent about that the new economy might help me remember?”
Sara adds: Could be questions…could be courage. When I read what Cheryl offered, I thought of Richard Carson’s, “Taming Your Gremlins.” Carson helps explain the voice in my head. You know the one, the one that says, “You should be happy with what you have” or “Don’t ask for too much, you probably aren’t worth it.” For me, it that voice that what keeps me from asking for the business and following up aggressively. Carson explains, “Your gremlin is the narrator in your head…he uses some of your past experiences to hypnotize you into forming and living your life in accordance with self-limiting and sometimes frightening generalizations about you.” No wonder Carson calls it a gremlin! But there’s hope! The first step in stilling the voice is in becoming AWARE that it’s just a voice. Then bring in the courage. The voice would hold us back. Courage puts the voice in the background and action in the foreground. Wondering how to make that happen? Join us next week – we’ll talk about overcoming our own status quo!