Bracing myself

After the announcement of Biden’s pick for VP, Senator Kamala Harris, I spent some time perusing social media and the interwebs for the chatter. I’ve been waiting for a MONTH for this announcement and my first thought was: FINALLY, the decision is made.

Harris is a great candidate. I was a fan of Elizabeth Warren and was disappointed when she had dropped out of her bid for President. I had not paid attention to the other candidates as much, so I did some research and read some opinion pieces.

First woman VP Kamala Harris
Photo credit link: Politico

I found myself going to the fridge multiple times, getting ice cream and then wanting to snack. Typically when I do this, it means something is “up” emotionally – like anxiety, boredom or some other troubling emotion. I realized I was bracing myself for the inevitable misogyny and harsh judgement that always happens toward ambitious women.

Indeed some articles had this tone. And of course the harasser-in-chief called her “nasty” to Joe Biden, which is a typical way that he demeans women, so that wasn’t surprising. I started wishing for a “Nasty Women Get Sh*t Done” t-shirt or something…

Once I realized my own anxiety on behalf Harris, I slowed myself down and asked what I was feeling. Sometimes those us of with high empathy skills take on too many emotions that are not “ours.” So I calmed down, got out my laptop, and started writing. At least writing is a distraction from the misogyny, and a way I process emotion (healthier than overindulging on food).

I am excited for the choice and the fact that  Kamala Harris brings a wealth of experience and also a new perspective to the highest office in this country. I was very unenthusiastic about Biden’s campaign until I heard he had pledged to select a highly qualified woman to be his running mate.

Now I find myself grateful for my yoga training and taking deep breaths. I hope this team can defeat the menace that occupies the office at this time. If Americans cannot see how much we reap what we sow, we deserve to go down in flames.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

Why did it happen this way?

It did not have to happen this way. But a lack of competent leadership will do that. The U.S. has about a quarter of the worldwide COVID-19 cases. This puts “we’re number one” in a new light, no?

Daily cases July 16, 2020
Snapshot from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center 7/16/2020

Don’t do it for yourself. Masks are not worn to protect you. Masks are worn to protect your community from small micro droplets that are released when you talk, cough or sneeze.

They don’t protect people completely, but they do slow the spread. And the main reason we want to slow the spread is so that hospitals are able to deal with the influx of cases. Also, maybe some of us care about human life and dignity.

My sister is a nurse. I don’t want her to have to deal with the results (y)our carelessness. Rural hospitals do not have the supplies that leaders claimed they would have. They must reuse the supplies they have. This is not a good situation.

Humans have difficulty with exponents. We think in linear ways, so these “hockey stick” curves work are not easily grasped. We saw this with the last big recession in 2008-2009. One minute it seemed things were fine: everyone was making money on flipping houses. And the next minute: financial disaster. Some saw the signs and warned us. But most people partied until they got laid off.

I get it. Or I try to be patient anyway.

Things don’t become serious until they are, well, SERIOUS. 

With nearly 14 million cases as of this writing, and almost 600,000 deaths so far attributed to this virus, one might think we could get a clue.

I know this is a rant.

I try to be more measured than this most days. My anger and disgust at the self-centered behavior I keep seeing, particularly in national leadership, is usually something I control. I’m a yoga teacher, for cripes sake. I meditate daily.

And yet.

My rage at incompetent leaders. Cannot. Be. Contained. Some days.

Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distances when possible. 

Your community thanks you for thinking beyond yourself.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting women (revisited)

**This is a post was originally written exactly one year ago. I connected today with a woman from my alma mater who has been on a strikingly similar life path. Monday night I participated in a Moon Rising circle of sisterhood. All of it is even more important to me now. Sometimes following is as important as leading. And it is a dance: act, share, witness, support. **

There is powerful energy created when women with similar journeys and struggles connect and share stories with each other. It is a combination of relief and joy when we realize we are not alone.

connecting women
Photo credit link

I witnessed this in my learning circle on Monday night, and I was inspired to consider how fascinating it is that we connected, and all of our commonalities. I am also pondering how best to facilitate some practices that can help us stay grounded and centered along the journey.

Of course, y’all know I’m an evangelist for meditation and yoga, so we will explore some simple practices that I have found to be particularly helpful. I am also requesting that they commit to some small daily action, with the support of the group, to help build and maintain their ability to show up at their best, at home, work or in the community.

Since this is the first time I have offered this series, we will see where it goes. But for now, I am so honored and grateful that these amazing women have elected to join me in staying open to learning practices that will support their growth.

Onward,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Postscript: my weekly “desk chair” yoga class at work is also a circle of women. Honored to see these gatherings come together. 

 

Saturday Share – Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? And what can we do about it? — ideas.ted.com

If we want to improve the competence level of people in leadership positions, we need to improve our own competence for judging and selecting them, especially when they are men, says organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. Have you ever worked with people who are not as good as they think? This finding won’t come as a…

via Why do so many incompetent men become leaders? And what can we do about it? — ideas.ted.com

This article and video made me think about the nature of leadership. It was hard to disagree with what Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic says on these points, given my experience working both for leaders who are competent and those who are incompetent. I’ve also worked for competent women leaders and less competent ones.

Since women have had less historical access to traditional power structures, we often need to accomplish things through non-traditional channels. We also don’t typically have as much “time on task” when it comes to developing our leadership “signature” so to speak. Lots of interesting dynamics here.

I’m curious to know what y’all think, if you want to weigh in on your experiences.

Happy weekend, friends!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Unwritten protocols

Hello Friends,

Happy Thursday!

I’ve been deeply immersed in a personal writing project so I am likely to post a little less frequently in the few months. I have come to enjoy my Sunday haiku, so I’m not giving that up. We all have much going on in our lives, and YOU are no exception. But I do want to keep in touch so if you do want to connect and I’m taking an offline hiatus, you can reach me via email.

Do you know the unwritten protocols of your organization?

In the meantime, I wanted to reflect on something I posted about last week, an incident in which I was blind-sided at work by something I never saw coming.

Now that I’ve had the chance to think it through I realized I had not respected the unwritten protocols that exist in this organization. As a clinical researcher by training, I have a love/hate relationship with protocols.

Protocols are awesome because they give you a clear definition of what needs to be done. They are written in language that is specific and precise. Since scientific experiments need to be reproducible and consistent in their execution, protocols are a necessity. When you work with human subjects research, regulations require protocols that are well-vetted, statistically validated and approved by an institutional review board or medical ethics committee.

Organizations often have “power protocols” also. These are the unwritten protocols that take typically 6-18 months at any organization or department (sometimes more) to learn. They are things like:

  • Having a PhD or M.D. counts (especially true in academic organizations).
  • If you have a choice to talk with the PI for a grant, or the chief of staff, pick the latter. She’s the one who actually gets the job done; he’s the name on the letterhead. In a university system, it’s fascinating to me how this mirrors a very patriarchal structure.

I had opened the communication channels during a project in which I was gathering feedback. But I did not bank on the fact that, while I was trying to be system-agnostic in my analysis, the department wanted me to fix the tool they already have rather than to select the best tool.

Now that I understand what they want, I can execute on that. I may not agree with the decision, but others with higher grade levels are determining the parameters. And that’s where I encountered one of the unwritten protocols at this institution: if grant money has been used to build a tool, it would take a LOT for us to abandon the tool.

Lesson learned. Onward.

cristy@meximinnesota.com

Next August – one hundred years

Next year on August 18th the U.S. will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. A couple of Western states had given women the right to vote already in 1910. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the turn of the 19th century.

Lucretia Mott socks
I have socks with Lucretia Mott‘s likeness, which I wore with pride on election day this year. 

It is hard for me to imagine the changes in democratic consciousness that have taken place in the last 100 years. Generations of women and men began to understand that true democracy could not exist until more people could exercise their right to representation.

Granted, some people probably wish we had gone back to a world where men were in charge and women were property. I don’t tend to hang out with people like that for obvious reasons.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year with various candidates. I’m hoping we winnow down to less than 5 options by February caucus season. I would like to follow election politics but right now it’s hard to take any candidate too seriously. Unfortunately we do not regulate campaign spending very well in this country. So the people who raise the most money tend to dominate the airwaves.

Given the shock and trauma of the election 3 years ago, and the disastrous result of electing someone who has openly bragging about assaulting women, I am ready to help with GOTV efforts. Let’s make it a celebration! 100 years – can we imagine some new leadership? I say YES WE CAN!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com