“Finding ways where different parts of our lives work in harmony is very fulfilling.”
I completely agree. That quote reminds me to embrace my whole self. To better utilize my skills, talents, and personality characteristics—even though they may be underused, underdeveloped, or maybe even forgotten. Embrace all of it to become a better wife, mother, business owner, and friend.
Sonenshein talked about recognizing our different identities (professional and parent), and the importance of using the skills from each to better the other. For instance, as a mental health advocate and one who has recovered from panic disorder, I’ve developed a strong compassion and empathy for those dealing with life’s challenges. That trait helps me to be a better business owner by being patient and compassionate with customers. I’m organized and structured with our businesses, and that in turn, helps me to run our household more efficiently.
I liked the section about thinking of ways to make improbable combinations work. Such as gourmet food trucks, which use limited kitchen resources to make high quality food. The delicious food attracts long lines of customers. And Charles Goodyear, who, after many years of experimenting, finally came up with the improbable mixture of rubber and a hot stove, to transform rubber into a usable (and hugely profitable!) substance.
It can be highly rewarding for companies to stretch by using improbable combinations, and go outside of the expected norms to make something work. To think outside the box and “build a better mousetrap.”
Something I didn’t agree with is when Sonenshein talked about how mere exposure to potential rivals increases liking. Then the rivals can work together to succeed. I get it… maybe you think someone is going to be an awful person. But then you meet him or her, and he or she isn’t so bad. I’m all for working together, even with a competitor, to enrich and improve our businesses.
But here’s where it goes wrong for me: He says, “The more we’re around people, the more we tend to like them.” (Or not!) Sonenshein says the same thing about a song we might not like at first, but if we keep listening to it, we’ll eventually warm up to it. No matter how many times I hear an acid rock song, I am not going to like it. And if I spend hours in the same room with an annoying person, it doesn’t mean I’m going to warm up to him or her.
I loved the story about Bette Nesmith Graham and how she used her skills as a secretary and as an artist to develop Liquid Paper. Sonenshein says, “Understanding that we’re a blend of different characteristics, traits, and roles helps us recognize the versatility we have in how we think about ourselves to solve problems.”
Being mindful of the qualities we possess can be powerful. Sharing our gifts with the world can enrich other people’s lives, as well as our own.
Next Up: Ch. 8 by Christine O’Connor