ClickCare Café

A New View of Medical Collaboration. Inspiration from Strong Women

Posted by Cheryl Kerr on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 @ 01:05 PM

Which autobiographical account inspires you?

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO :Sheryl Sandberg (2013)
Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy
:Susan Spencer-Wendel (2013)

To give you a tiny taste of Sheryl Sandberg's book, here are a few of the chapter titles:

     - Sit at the Table
     - Success and Likeability
     - Don't Leave Before You Leave
     - Make Your Partner a Real Partner
     - The Myth of Doing it All

Sheryl Sandberg is on Forbes' list of the most powerful people in the world. In her book, she encourages ambitious women to realize their own career goal, but also to make changes in their workplace so that other women can succeed, too. Sandberg tells women to have confidence in themselves and their knowledge, and to own their achievements.

I don't know if Susan Spencer-Wendell read or is trying to read Sheryl Sandberg's book. Susan is an award-winning journalist for the Palm Beach Post, who learned in June 2011 that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). At that time, she was 44 years old, with a devoted husband and 3 young children. She was so determined to complete a book describing this experience for her children and the rest of us, that with her minimal strength, she typed the manuscript with one thumb on her iPhone. No longer able to walk or even lift her arms, she tapped it out letter by letter. USA Today on March 11, 2013 speaks of some of the fabulous lessons expressed in this memoir:

"Her "year of joy" included everything from traveling in hopes of witnessing the Northern Lights — she did not — to tracking down family roots on Cyprus — she did — to visiting Kleinfeld Bridal in New York with her teenage daughter, Marina, only because she knows she won't be around when the real pilgrimage will take place."Susan Spencer-Wendel

Her children Marin, 15, Aubrey, 11. and Wesley, 9, have been adapting to the situation. Their Aunt Stephanie says: "They rub her nose. They brush her hair out of her eyes. They have very normal routines with their mother. Nothing is strange."

This goes to show that there are a lot of heroes here. Reportedly, Susan didn't want to switch to another piece of high-tech equipment because she didn't want to lose the time needed to learn another system. With her laser focus, her habit of meeting deadlines, AND HER RIGHT THUMB, she wrote the 362-page book Until I Say Good-Bye. It's now available on Amazon, and movie rights have been sold to Universal.

This is definitely a new twist on Store-and-Forward. After reading this book, like the effect of all good medicine, I felt lighter and stronger and more accepting. Susan says: "don't force the world to be the one you dream; the reality is better." If she can say that, most all of us can say it more and do more.

Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In is also inspirational. "Sit at the Table" is up front and center; otherwise how can one hear or be heard. She says that opportunities are rarely offered; they are seized. That's an understatement!

There are many criticisms (jealousies?) of Lean In, but it is an important follow-on to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique and Gloria Steinem's Revolution from Within. Sheryl is a 43-year-old former Google executive with two Harvard degrees, who is calling on other women, as she puts it, to "lean in" and embrace success. Even though Sheryl knew the business world was listening, she had the intestinal fortitude to include personal examples, that readers are dying for, which are definitely supportive and inspiring. Moreover, the cited research is impressive, for instance the data showing positive correlations between success and likeability for men, and negative correlations between success and likeability for women. Sheryl's bibliography and footnotes are lengthy, and the statistics support the thesis that even in 2013 — women simply aren't making it to the top. She says: "Ten years of no progress is no progress" (spoken like a real COO). 

Sheryl SandbergNPR relates: "Warren Buffet has very generously said that one of the reasons he was so successful is that he was only competing with half the population. Companies that use the full talents of everyone — those companies do better."

One of the HUFFPOST quotes from Sheryl's book is: "if we want a world with greater equality, we need to acknowledge that women are less likely to keep their hands up." Further a quote about working together: "As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home."  Download "Caring for Baby" to help with that effort.

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We need all of the people in this country and the world striving to be better, helping each other, and sticking their neck out to do that. She says: "This revolution will happen one family at a time."

Where have you heard that before?  Give your patients access, collaborate with their other providers, and leave a legacy of education. Let's get on with step at a time; one thumb, one family, one patient, at a time.

Tags: good medicine, collaboration leadership, iPhone

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