The new 37 year old Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer is in the news because she is pregnant and she announced that she wouldn’t let that interfere with her work duties. Excuse me?
I think that was a misstatement and what she meant was, she wouldn’t let work interfere with her Mom duties. Or, wait a second . . . Which is it?
I think we’re really talking about creating rich experience here, at least I am. The article where I read about this was in the on-line USA Today and called, Pregnant Yahoo CEO ignites maternity debate.
It also mentioned another CEO, Elana Drell-Szyfer of AHAVA North America Cosmetics Company. Apparently she was nursing her baby one night at 3 AM and at the same time answering business emails and in the middle of it questioned whether that was working for her.
I often find that when using what I like to call the Western World View and the Achievement Model that it promotes, people ask the wrong questions. This article suggested that the debate Mayers situation ignited had to do with women’s roles at home and in the work place. To me asking what is the right role is the wrong question. And I sincerely hope that Marissa is not asking that question of herself.
Here is the question I might ask – how can Marissa create the most amazing experiences possible in every area of her life? And as a sub-question, I might be curious to see how that unfolds?
What’s the difference between those two questions? The first question suggests that there is a right or best role or structure for women in general (and by implication for men). And the goal is to determine what that best role is so Marissa knows what she should do (or so she can feel guilty about adopting the wrong role).
My question and the 10,000 Year Thinking approach suggests that roles are always temporary and changing and that they unfold in an experience rather than guiding the experience. And, a key implication is that each person has a different experience so each role will unfold differently (no guilt required).
So, for the new mother to be, whether she is CEO of a business or a full time stay at home Mom, the question is, how can she optimize her experience – period.
Here are three keys to your work/family experience from the 10,000 Year Thinking perspective.
First, a rich life is one filled with rich experience so value experience and its natural wisdom. The Western World View loves to judge experience based on outcome. That’s the Achievement model and it can have you accepting a lousy experience in order to achieve what you conceptually think is a redeeming goal. That belief is what justifies lack of integrity in people’s behavior meaning what you do doesn’t line up with what resonates with you. Set the intention of making every experience great at home and at work – then allow those ever-changing roles to unfold in ways that work for your uniquely creative nature.
Second, rich experience is complete so create complete experiences. In 10,000 Year Thinking, a complete experience includes clarity, focus and presence in that sequence. Clarity has to do with recognition of what resonates with you, focus has to do with engaging in what resonates with you all the way to some kind of completion and presence has to do with letting go of thoughts about the past and future.
Multi-tasking looks great on paper but it can leave you with incomplete experiences. If you are nursing your baby while writing business emails you might be getting two things done at the same time but are you having two complete rich experiences? Consider the sequence.
First, do you have conscious clarity that both nursing and writing emails resonate with you (answer: probably not, you might not begin with that conscious awareness). Next, are you focused in bringing both things to some kind of completion (answer: probably – the Achievement model is all about getting things done and this might be your only awareness in these two experiences). Finally, are you consciously present (answer: probably not, in fact what you are letting go of is the present in favor of thoughts about the past and future). Create complete experiences through conscious clarity, focus and presence in that order.
Finally, create your unique roles in the world as an unfolding rather than a guide to unfolding. Trying to determine the right role for a woman (or man) is what I call out of sequence. FIRST, discover what uniquely resonates with you in the world and SECOND, as you engage in that, allow your unique role to be created as an unfolding and discovery.
It’s your adventure and you get to create any roles that work for you. Make your experiences great and let your Family and Work roles in the world unfold naturally rather than by some kind of public judgment (guys, that goes for you too).