How often do you lift others up?
We’re all still on a high here at Business Chicks from our week last week. Professor Fiona Wood spoke at our Melbourne and Sydney events and she was a knock out.
I often have a giggle to myself whenever I hear someone read out her bio, because it goes something like this: Professor Fiona Wood is a mother of six, Head of Royal Perth Hospitals Burns Unit and Director of the Western Australia Burns Service.
I always think to myself that they could stop reading after the ‘mother of six’ bit because that’s a big enough achievement in itself. Her bio goes on to name her as Australian of the Year in 2005; Clinical Professor with the School of Paediatrics at the University of Western Australia and Chair of the McComb Research Foundation. Plus she invented spray on skin, cycles some 50kms every morning, and more other facts that will only serve to make you feel like a drastic underachiever in her presence!
There’s so many things I love about the lady and every time I hear her speak I learn something new. One thing that has been on my mind since last week is her story of talking to kids in schools. Every time she gives a speech at a school she asks two questions: “How many times have you done something that’s less than your best just so you can make others around you feel comfortable?” Apparently all the kids in the room nod and say “yep, I do that all the time.”
Then she asks them “How often are you energy in the raw? How often do you lift others up and take them with you?” Apparently all the kids sit there and shake their heads saying no they’d never do that.
I think we’ve got to learn to be proud of our achievements and not play them down so we can make others feel comfortable. I do it all the time. I don’t want to appear like I’m conceited or arrogant so I shake off compliments and only give the half story of what I’m working on or what I’ve achieved.
I think a lot of it’s cultural – we love to subscribe to the tall poppy syndrome in Australia, and pull people down. In the US it’s completely different – you see people giving high fives, cheering on their kids enthusiastically with no thought to how they’ll be perceived, and generally slapping each other on the back.
I’m working on it as I want to be a role model for my team and my family, just as the incredible Fiona Wood is a role model for me.
PS Adelaide! Here’s your chance to hear Professor Fiona Wood http://www.businesschicks.com.au/events/sa/43/adelaide-business-chicks-breakfast – see you there!