Yesterday in the mail, I received a newly published book written by my friend, colleague and mentor, Dan Gottlieb. Thumbing through the first few pages of The Wisdom We're Born With: Restoring Our Faith in Ourselves, I began to reflect back on the lessons I've learned from Dr. Dan over the 35 years of knowing him.
We first met when I was a ripe old age of 25, fresh out of graduate school, eagerly engaged in family therapy training at The Family Institute of Philadelphia. Dan was my teacher for the first half of a three and a half year program. He stood out as markedly different from most of his peers in that he wasn't threatened by my burgeoning feminism. He loved it, engaged it, challenged it and has steadfastly supported it.
How powerful it was way back when to share dinner with my teacher and have him look at me and say in a non-threatening way: "I don't think you're really as confident as you seem to be." Trusting it was OK to be honest, I replied, "Of course I'm not." We held a gaze and in that moment I knew that he felt respect for me and held a sense of knowing about that way confidence can be projected before we fully embody or embrace it. He empowered me by his ability to talk about things frankly, without judging, to hold an open heart and to offer his depth of intuition for understanding human beings and what makes us tick.
Those earliest lessons of talk about it, acknowledge it and make it safe to have the conversation remain the keystones for how I approach every aspect of my life -- professionally, for sure, as well as in my role as a mother, a wife and a friend.
You too can be empowered by Dan if you tune in to his "Voices in the Family" show on National Public Radio (NPR) where he interviews guests, engages callers and shares his wisdom on topics related to personal and social well-being. I promise you that you'll come away a wiser and more inspired person.
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