Summer sort of crept up on me! As I spend long summer days with my loved ones, I’m thinking about the idea of Average of Five.
Happy July, all!
Even though summer sort of crept up on me after a whirlwind of a spring, I am definitely enjoying the new season. I love seeing my kids and their friends laugh and throw water balloons in the backyard, and I'm appreciating all the leisurely BBQs these past few weeks.
With Joy and her husband George at Marissa’s wedding. (Photo Credit: Chong Oh)
Being solidly in my forties and the mother of a thirteen year old, I’ve been joking that I only go to bar/bat mitzvahs and funerals these days. A couple of weekends ago, however, I got to attend a glorious summer wedding of a lovely and fierce friend, Marissa Martin. She's a social worker and the new executive director of the Advocacy Institute, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit supporting social justice legislative advocacy and movement-building organizations in New York.
The year I turned 28 years old, I went to ten weddings and was in the wedding party for three of them, including my own! Even though it was a super fun year, I remember feeling so stressed about time and money. Now with weddings much farther and fewer in between, I feel like I can really take in the full joy, love and feeling of optimism of these occasions.
At the wedding, I got to laugh and dance with several friends, including Joy Lieberthal Rho, a friend I met when my son wisely befriended her son six years ago.
Joy’s a social worker and co-founder of IAMADOPTEE, a new website that’s already a sprawling hub of information and community building for adoptees. True to Joy’s focus on individual adoptees’ needs, independent from their identity as a member of their adoptive families, this is the place for adoptees to tell their stories. They can also learn news about issues important to adoptees, such as DNA testing or immigration documents never filed by adoptive parents.
Joy’s personal journey as an international adoptee from South Korea, which includes an unexpected reunion with her birth mother, is an incredible one. See Joy’s beautiful narration of her story here, as told to KoreanAmericanStory. She is a humble and private person and I think it speaks to the generosity of her spirit that she shares her story for others.
I hope you will share IAMADOPTEE with anyone who might benefit from this work. You can also donate (I did--just click the "donate" button on the top right!) to support her important work.
Average of Five
Average of Five is an idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Originally a quote by motivational speaker Jim Rohn, I randomly heard about this idea on a podcast. This past month between Marissa’s wedding and few other occasions, Joy was one of my fives (in addition to my kids) and I’m very pleased about that. Ha.
You won’t always have a choice as to whom you spend most time with (fulltime job, anyone?). But maybe you can use the concept to reach out to the people you want to spend more time with during the precious hours you do have control over.
This year, I have been keeping a list of the few people I spend most time with each month, in addition to my husband and two kids. While I don’t want to design my life so rigidly or so goal-oriented that there’s no room for friends and family who aren’t contributing to "bringing my average up," I do love the chance to reflect on whether I’m spending enough time with people who inspire me and that I can learn from. Thinking about this makes me appreciate that my kids are safely on my top five list. But I realize that it won’t be like this for that much longer as they get older and begin choosing their own five that doesn’t include me.
Lazy summer evening with my kids, still solidly among the five people I spend most time with...
Sometimes, I tell the kids about my top five at the end of the month, and it’s fun to see the mental calculation on their faces as they think about who they spent the most time with that month. Then they promptly ask for sleepovers with favorite friends they haven’t seen in a while.
Since that last note, one of my clients and two women on my Notes list wrote to tell me they have recently joined as members. With over 800 current members and 5000 women on the waitlist, it makes sense that I already know some of Chief’s members.
Something the Chief co-founder, Lindsay Kaplan, said in our orientation was that one of the company values is “time travel.” With that value, Lindsay said the company aims to dramatically decrease the amount of time it will take us to achieve gender parity in the C-Suite. She said time travel could also mean that after one CORE meeting of two hours, you may feel like you have known these women for years. Wow. That’s a tall order!
What are you up to this summer? Please write back and share. I would also love to see some vacation photos!