A Culture of Care

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

John Maxwell

In September 2013, AWiB started a new forum to address members’ personal issues in the context of a group – Round Table with Nahu and Seble.  It is a deep experience and a show case for AWiB’s endeavor for addressing women leaders’ personal development.  We may accomplish a lot, publicize successful stories, give the impression that we are all together in our lives; and yet have little things that bug us and drag us behind.  AWiB, focusing on the bigger picture of leadership, is also creating a platform whereby its members can address personal struggles.

The first round table was on – “Overcoming Fear”.  Let me mention four major issues discussed and addressed:


“I feel that I blame the same thing over and over again and yet would not move an inch to change the status quo.  My position in the public sector, as `Gender Directorate Director,’ availed me with opportunities to be in an influential position and to deal with gender inequality. However, I keep on giving the same excuses that I gave six years ago for not changing the conditions.  That sounds like fear of change. I believe in change but feel incapacitated to take the first step.”

“I am an educated woman.  I used to live abroad for some time but came back to my country and at present run my own business.  I feel successful in all areas of my life except one.  I would never tell my age to anyone.  I feel overwhelmed when I think of growing older.  I am single and over thirty-five but do not have kids.  The monthly period cycle is a debut for my monthly three days depression.  When will it stop to declare that I can no longer have my own baby? I am afraid of aging, am worried that my monthly cycle would not stop before I have children of my own.  I think of myself as a free person but bound by society’s expectation of me to have children.  I feel forced to marry whether or not my boyfriend is the right candidate for marriage because I have to have kids before too late. I am in an impasse.”

“I don’t mind my own business.  I take everyone’s business as mine and bother a lot.  No boundaries.  Though I have a good marriage and I have a child, I seem to find myself in everyone’s life and try to fix problems of others.  Nobody asked me to do so.  Yet, I feel obligated to fix others’ issues.  To summarize, ‘Yilugnta’ is my problem. Could it be fear of rejection?”

“My object of fear may sound ridiculous to you.  I am afraid of a spider.  I watch all night following up its whereabouts once I trace a spider in the roof or the wall and cannot go to sleep.  In terms of my day to day operation, I am okay.  I am a medical professional, have a wonderful family of origin as well as my own family, lead an organization as the Director but this thing, fear of spider, is something that I need to deal with.”

The second round table revolved around “Minding your Mind” – following up on Dr. Mehret’s presentation, we personalized and assessed where we felt stuck in terms of the mind’s functions: attitude, imagination, reasoning, motivation, language, creativity and knowledge/wisdom, in relation with self, ideas, environment and relationships.  For the mind to function fully, the brave discussants decided to identify their vulnerable areas that need to be strengthened or resolved.

“My father built a good relationship with his children until last month.  One day, he came home with new rules and told us that he was going to enforce a curfew whereby every child would have to abide by.  This was a blow for each one of us.  Unlike his style of open communication, he said, ‘I want no discussion with you for I don’t want you to talk me out of my decision.’ Second, he imposed a rule that would endanger our relationship with him.  I am so resentful towards him.  My attitude is blocking me.”

“I have anger issues.  I almost lose my mind when I quarrel with people.  I want to handle my emotions in a mature way but feel lost in them.  This hinders my relationship with friends and family members.”

“I love to please people.  I have a wonderful husband and am a mother of two.  I have my own business and have bigger vision which I dream about.  When Dr. Mehret talked about the mind issues, I was reflecting on what was being a hindrance in my life not to be able to align my life to my vision.  I see some sort of conflicts between my work and passion and the way I manage my family.  I have so many things to juggle with: family, clients, new business, finance, sustaining the business model I initiated, and many more.  I want to be successful in all. I could not put my finger on the exact problem but I feel something is wrong.”

“After listening to my family’s long standing plea to give them attention and an ultimatum from my hubby, I observed that I was endangering my family life in pursuit of my career.  Then I reprioritized my life’s direction and made major decisions in creating right balances.  I have no regrets at all for leaving my prestigious job but now I am questioning if what I am doing is really bringing the desired results in my kids.  In other words, is the sacrifice worth it? Am I making a difference in my family’s life? I am not happy. Rather, I am confused.

AWiB is pioneering a culture of care in a round table format.   The first Saturday of the month after AWiB’s monthly Thursday program is dedicated to Round Table with Nahu and Seble.  This is helping members to explore their lives, deal with glitches, and take homework to design their life with new perspectives.  The group dynamic creates a sense of, “Headaches shared are headaches divided.”  Actually, more than that – it is creating a culture of care – “I care about what you care.” The amount of information exchange, support given to each other, affirmation, challenge, and different perspectives has left each one of us enlightened, understood, cared for, and shared by the time we ended up the sessions.

Leadership is also about facing personal issues objectively.

Join the Round Table with Nahu and Seble!