Krista Tippett’s conversation with Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on the On Being podcast prompted lots of insights. Sandberg and Adam Grant (who is one of my most favourite leadership authors/thinks) have just released ‘Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy‘, so this conversation was largely focused on the death of Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, what she learned through that experience, and some of the research on resilience and overcoming adversity that is included in the book. It was such a good conversation for getting some insight into what the experience of traumatic loss is like, and tips for how to support people who are greiving. Some key takeaways for me were: saying nothing is worse than saying the wrong thing, offer specific assistance rather than open-ended offers that place the burden of requesting help back on the person who is greiving, and the subtle but important difference between asking ‘how are you?’ and ‘how are you feeling today?’.
The emotional story that Sheryl Sandberg shared about ringing her cousin on her 50th birthday also stuck with me (“…there’s only two options: we either grow older, or we don’t”). Birthdays aren’t something that I’ve really paid much attention to (mine or others), but this story has made me think about using birthdays as a reminder to really be aware of and express gratitude for the people in my life.
The themes covered in the conversation overlapped quite a bit with this article on how to speak to someone about an unspeakable loss which popped up in my Facebook newsfeed lately, and it also reminded me of this great piece on how not to say the wrong thing.
I’ve been working my way through another #100happydays on Instagram (although have had several lapses along the way), but I do find it such a valuable practice for being present and finding happiness in small and seemingly insignificant moments. Adam Grant made a comment in the podcast that “it’s actually not the intensity of your positive experiences; it’s the frequency that really matters for how much happiness you find in life.”, and I find that the more I practice, the more frequent those positive emotions are in my own life.
“Several long-married people I know have said this exact line: “I’ve had at least three marriages. They’ve just all been with the same person.””
I thought this Modern Love article on embracing change in relationships was great.
“…there’s a story about Dan Rather interviewing Mother Theresa. And he asked her what she said during her prayers. And she said, “I listen.” And, Rather then said, “Well, then, what does God say to you?” And she said, “He listens.””
The other good On Being episode I’ve listened to lately was with David Isay on listening as an act of love. Sometimes I take lots of notes when listening to podcasts, but sometimes it’s interesting to just listen and let them sit with me for a while and pay attention to what I end up remembering and reflecting on. Rather than desperately trying to record all the wisdom in an attempt to avoid forgetting it, I try to trust that what keeps bubbling to the surface of my memory is the important stuff. The above story is what keeps re-emerging from this particular episode.
It turns out that summarising and sharing are the keys to learning better as an adult – which is probably another reason why I should get back into a more regular practice of posting these Head & Head updates.
The Lead Mama Lead blog launched in early March. I’ve written a couple of blog posts – on the imposter syndrome I felt as a new mother, and on self-deprecation. We also have an event coming up next week (11 May) – tickets are still available.
I finished up a work contract a couple of weeks ago and now am in waiting/preparing mode with bub #2 due sometime in the next few weeks. Unsuprisingly, I’ve had grand plans of what I would do during this time and how ‘productive’ I would be. My recent journal entries are filled with daily assessments about my level of daily productivity or lack thereof! However, I’m trying to be more aware of this tendency to strive for productivity and consciously challenge it. Kids are often such a good reminder of the absurdity of some of our adult hang-ups on things like productivity….
A couple of weekends ago E wanted to make a fairy garden in an old tyre we had in the yard. She started by making the ‘soil’ by scooping sand from the sandpit and mixing it with leaves and wet sand from a bucket and doing this in individual scoops transported across the yard. I was thinking about the end product and how to get there as efficiently as possible and whether I should seize control and start transporting bucket or wheel-barrow loads. I also questioned what the point of E doing her individual scoops now was if we would need to go to Bunnings anyway to get potting mix and flowers etc? Shouldn’t we make a plan, assemble all of our materials and then get started? But then I realised it didn’t matter (and to be honest, in my heavily pregnant state I really wasn’t desperate to get up and start gardening!). She was having a good time. She was moving her body. She was proud of what she was doing and achieving. I wonder how often I’ve pushed to complete something as quickly or as efficiently as possible and as a result totally lost sight of the value and joy of the process.
There is a new series of You Can’t Ask That on ABC (the full series is now available on iView. I rarely watch any TV (live or streamed) but this show is one of my favourites. I thought the episode on Down Syndrome was particularly excellent and definitely made me challenge some of the assumptions that I held, and the amazing Carly Findlay (who I’ve been lucky enough to work with at two She Leads conferences) is great in the episode on facial difference.