Upping My Game

UnknownIt’s a gorgeous day.  My kids are home enjoying some downtime between camps and activities.  Most of this week I’m advising MIT Sloan MBA students on their resumes. Between sessions, I see a break on my schedule and long to reward myself.  

Miraculously, I allow it!  The kids and I go outside for half an hour and kick the soccer ball around.  We have a blast together. 

I didn’t grow up playing sports, and any long time readers of this blog will know I run like a girl. But according to Brene Brown and the brilliant Naomi Coty (who presented last week to our Advanced Brilliant Learning Community), wholehearted living isn’t about athleticism; it’s about fostering connection.  Naomi says, “fostering connection is the heart of happiness.”

I aim to live wholeheartedly.  These days, the connection I crave most is with my kids.  They are growing so quickly, about to enter fourth and fifth grades, and they are yummy and delicious.  I love seeing what brings them joy, and Sunshine + Mommy Time is still a pretty easy formula for delivering it. 

How are you living wholeheartedly today?


  1. Stefanie Frank

    Without the link, I found the expression "run like a girl" a bit odd in this context, but honestly I didn't think much of it. I don't really notice stuff like that. Or if I do I brush it off because it's not about me personally. And I can't get bogged down in taking on what something like that "means" for girls and women in general.

    Not trying to be flip, or minimize anyone's views . . . . it's just how I feel. Of course in the context of the book what you say makes perfect sense. I love that book.

    Just came back from a weekend in the mountains spent with a bunch of fellow triathletes and their kids. What I saw in the kids (ages 2 on up to 12 or 14) reflects how I feel about this.

    First: the kids were constantly moving. They were running across the fields of the campsite, catching bugs, and chasing each other around. This was between workouts! During the workouts they were cycling along with the adults, without a care in the world, even up the hills. They were swimming and kayaking in the lake. They were running alongside their parents. They were hiking.

    The most remarkable thing to me about this was that the girls ran and raced alongside the boys without a care in the world. No "gender issues." Just natural childlike play. I also took note of their running form (for myself). It's how we all should run.

    I don't mean to minimize anyone's feelings, view or the very real gender issues that exist in the world. I just feel like sometimes it can be as simple as these kids made it. Just move. Just do. Just be. Just have fun.
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  2. Debra

    Postscript: My inspiring 25+ year friend Maryann F. sent me this email this afternoon (before I updated my post above with the hyperlink from "run like a girl". With her permission, I'm sharing it, plus my response, here. Would love for you to chime in with further comments.

    Hey Deb,

    I love reading your blog posts. You make yourself so vulnerable and they are so real. I really look forward to getting them in my inbox.

    But I didn't want to make this comment about your latest post publicly. You said in your post that you "run like a girl." I was bummed to see you say that. Because it's a slam against girls. If someone says that someone runs or throws like a girl, it's meant to be an insult.

    Such anti-girl expressions have always bothered me because it's such a subtle putdown of girls and women but I saw just this expression finally mentioned and called out for what it is in a NYT article this week. Here's the link:

    Anyway, I know you are a feminist and are awesome in every way in general anyway so I thought I'd bring this common (and often unknowingly insidious) turn of phrase to your attention.

    I remember making comments that were racist and homophobic my first year at Wellesley that just never occurred to me were that. I never really thought about what I was saying. In retrospect, i cringe every time I think about having said them. So I'm hoping you aren't mad that I'm bringing this up with you. With many others, I'd let it slide bc, honestly, I wouldn't give a shit. But with someone like you, who I trust and feel like would welcome the comment and conversation, I feel completely safe doing so.

    Still, the old me is still thinking "I hope Deb's not mad at me and doesn't think I'm some know-it-all, smug jerk"!

    What do you think?


    Here's my response:

    Thank you SO MUCH for bringing this to my attention. I'm not mad at you at all. I'm grateful that you shared how it landed with you, even though the landing didn't feel good. To me, that's the greatest gift you can give me – reading and responding truthfully to my writing.

    I hope this doesn't seem like an excuse, but here's what I was thinking. I was making a reference to something that clearly wasn't obvious to anyone outside my head, and I just went back in to fix it with a hyperlink. Here's the book to which I was referring (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580053459?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=1580053459&linkCode=shr&tag=httpwwwcon045-20&=books&qid=1376693288&sr=1-1&keywords=run+like+a+girl) , which I highly recommend. The book totally reclaims that expression and talks about the benefits for women to participate in sports, which I never did until around 5 years ago. And then I realized what I'd been missing out on all that time.

    I never want to put down girls or women. I was just referencing my story of how I've developed. I'm still no athlete, but I've accomplished things in my body I never thought I could, like running 3 5Ks. So playing soccer with my kids is like a revelation to me. Another step forward on discovering ways I can connect, especially with my sports-oriented kids.

    I see now how, out of the context of this book, what I wrote was offensive, to me included! The old "me" is scared that other people have taken it the way you did and think I'm some know-nothing jerk.. My inner grownup sees this as an awesome opportunity to extend the dialogue.

    If you are willing, I'd love to share this conversation as comments on the post. If it's ok with you, I could even anonymously post what you wrote, and then add my response. Perhaps others will join in.

    What do you think???