I did some double duty on the Lent work today in the course of a phone call with my sister. I am lucky to have a sister who is also my friend. We are not the talk-everyday-on-the-phone-and-share-all-our-secrets friends. We are more apt to reach out via text and to chat when one of us is wrestling with a challenge and just wants someone to say, “That sucks”, instead of, “Here’s how to fix it.”
She was telling me about a conversation she’d had with a colleague about the very important work she does (if you don’t have a copy of her book, buy SHAPESHIFTERS immediately!) and where she’ll find herself next. I think that the sentiment her colleague shared was one that I, my parents, and other friends and family have shared before, but it’s different when it comes from someone deeply invested in the person AND the work. I know my sister is amazing and brilliant, but I don’t know the world of academia, nor do I have any meaningful knowledge about the practice of cultural anthropology, beyond finding her insights thoughtful, engaging and change-making. And I will always say as much to my sister. But this, from a colleague of hers was something else: “You deserve this. You worked hard to get where you are. Everything at your feet right now is your doing.” I believe it to be so and am happy that someone in the field shared that notion with my little sister … and that it moved her.
She already knew, but I can only imagine how affirming it was to hear that from a colleague, mentor, and leader in the field. We should do more of that.
I hope you’ve had the experience of someone you admire calling you out for being the absolute bomb. Happy LFE!