I was having lunch with a friend and we got to comparing notes. We touched on all the big stuff in life. The usual things which we shared in common like being Mothers and wives. Our children are even very close in age. So, for many of the common parenting struggles we found ourselves in the same boat.
Then came the fact that we had both recently left big corporate jobs. Those intimate details, like the reasons we left, the freedom we gained and our thoughts about the future, were so similar. It was the first time I have experienced this kind of situation where the other person was sitting across the table from me. I could have been looking in the mirror.
Up to now, whenever I have felt a kindred spirit, the other person was in a book. Or on the internet. I’ve exchanged some emails with women, I have been meeting online. But to actually hear another person’s story and tell your own, to look in their eyes and feel the pain, frustration and optimism, was nothing short of fantastic.
As we ended our lunch, we wondered, are there more of us? There has to be. Surely we cannot be the only two. Assuming there are others out there, how do we find them? If we are able to gather together in some kind of group, how would we do that? What would we call ourselves?
Maybe I’m jumping the gun. But, I think we both felt a surge of enthusiasm at the thought of connection. Both from the experience we just had and the possibility of finding a larger tribe. It is a huge validation, to know you are not alone. I don’t know why that is. Probably has to do with what Brene Brown calls being wired for connection.
“We’re hardwired for connection. There’s no arguing with the bioscience. But we can want it so badly we’re trying to hot-wire it.” -Brene Brown
As I went about the rest of my day, I got to thinking about how deeply good and bad my experiences have been. Over the past few years, I have been riding a roller coaster. On one hand, I felt that I had produced some of the best work of my career to date. On the other hand, I had been flat on my face in the arena. (A Brene Brown reference from Daring Greatly). I guess it was the realization that to be truly happy, ecstatic even, I had to leave myself open to feeling some bad stuff too. For most of my adult life, I’ve tried to play the middle.
Upon realizing that my life story has some depth to it now, I revisited my ‘why’ statement. I dove back into the Simon Sinek Why University course and updated all the material I had previously completed. Where that had been an uncomfortable process a few years ago, I had juicy stories to add now. Stuff I could never have imagined back then.
Got me to thinking about the word ‘why’. In Simon’s view it is the centre of everything, literally in the middle of the golden circle. I’ve always held onto that, even if I had not discovered mine, just yet. Here are the translations of ‘why’ into the first few languages of countries we are visiting, later this year.
- ¿Por qué?
- لماذا ا؟
I wonder if the word ‘why’ has the exact same meaning in all these languages? Is it used the same way? Would the quest for your ‘mengapa’ statement mean the same thing in Bali? Probably not. For they have a whole different set of ideas, cultural norms and beliefs. And I can’t wait to learn more.
Stay tuned for more on the gathering of women who share these life experiences. If you think you are one of us, or might become one of us, or already been through that….please reach out! Strength in numbers!
“As unique as we all are, an awful lot of us want the same things. We want to shake up our current less-than-fulfilling lives. We want to be happier, more loving, forgiving and connected with the people around us.” -Brene Brown
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