Tag Archives: building community

leaning in


This evening I attended a Lean In get-together at work. They fed us delicious scoobie snacks, plied us with lovely wine and gifted us with swag (the book by Sheryl Sandberg and a tee shirt).

It was interesting. It made me realize all the more that while I immensely value the firm and all its fixings (kind of like a big Thanksgiving dinner), it is time for me to move on to something that will enable me to be that much closer to my own delight. To dream (and thus forcing me to also focus on clarifying what that is, exactly) a bigger dream.

I think with any kind of mentorship (from either perspective) there must be some sort of mutual sharing; we learn from our teachers who in turn learn from their teaching, from their pupils as much as of themselves by virtue of self-observation, in a sort of symbiotic exchange. At least that is what the highest striving would be, for me personally.

What struck me the most this evening was something one of our litigators said during a segment when people were sharing their own experiences on how they “leaned in” during their careers. She said that we (women, because we were largely a female gathering, but I think it applies universally) must learn to become our own advocates. That is something I’ve had many challenges with, partly out of not having enough confidence in my own sense of expertise and skill, or if I felt it was there, uncomfortable with (what essentially feels like) flaunting it to my advantage.

Another said that we must learn to be vocal about and point out our accomplishments, and not to expect others to notice them on their own.

That whole horn tooting thing is something that is difficult to embrace when we (read: I) have a natural tendency toward self deprecation. I’ve been taught to be humble and not to boast. That pride in one’s work is acceptable but not so that it is off-putting or belittles others in the process. And that, despite my accomplishments, there is always room for improvement, and that one ought not to sit on one’s laurels lest we become complacent and lazy.

I think many times I’ve stood down from exploring an opportunity simply based on the fact that I think the person hiring would look at me (and my resume) and question why I was applying for something that was clearly out of my league.

The truth of the matter is, though, as many men realized long before women ever did, that the thrill is had when one is on that fine edge between knowing and stretching, where finesse and expertise are just there, within view but only just out of reach, a prize to strive toward on the journey to the next one.

Creative urges…

I’ve been circling my art supply laden dining room table like a dog on a walk, looking for the right spot to relieve himself. It’s a strange analogy but certainly reflective of how I feel lately. I’ve been slow in getting going, rooting around in my imagining, sniffing out the root of that creative kernel… that ah-ha moment when you hit pay dirt… there it is! So fleeting, though… if it’s not immediately captured, it shifts in the sand and requires more digging, more sniffing.

I’ve been so busy lately… with work… with a whole new project that I brought forth into the world by virtue of my indignation at being shut down so completely that I was made mute. I’m not good with mute. To summarily remove my ability to express myself brings about a sort of rage, an all-consuming force that propels me into motion. So out of chaos was borne cohesion… and a re-ignited community of phenomenal beings.

I am resentful of the days moving too fast, though too slowly as well. I live for the freedom of the weekends, but even those seem to be overladen with responsibilities that I can barely scratch off the top of my to-do list without adding them again to the bottom. I used to be so organized… what happened? I had this whole chore thing down to a science. Somewhere along the way I lost my oomph. Now I just sit and stare at the list and short circuit, and wonder how I will get all of that done and still have time to do what I really want to, which inevitably involves the creative process in some way. But when I sit down to create, I am unable to dig deep enough into the silence of myself to pull anything out. Frustration ensues… they say that sometimes the act of lovemaking is enough, even without coitus. Perhaps I need to apply this same concept to my creative efforts. Just showing up is sometimes enough.