Courage, Compassion, and Connection: How The Women in the Senate Moved the Unmovable

Courage, Compassion, and Connection: How The Women in the Senate Moved the Unmovable

I started Oprah and Brene’ Brown’s Life Class eCourse Sunday morning and I thought it went well with the topic I had chosen for my blog this week:  Courage, Compassion and Connection – Tools for a Wholehearted Journey.  Last week we saw how important that was when 20 women in the Senate broke the stalemate created by the last few years of bickering in Congress. The women in the Senate had created relationships with each other – connections – that enabled them to see beyond their differences and design a solution.  Their courage allowed them to speak up and move ahead with an invitation to talk; their  compassion for their constituents  moved them forward.

Let’s Hear it for the Women

Senator John McCain gave full credit to the women.  In a USA Today article, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona said, “Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily by women in the Senate.”  The effort was led by Susan Collins, R-Maine, according to an article in Time Magazine title Women Are the Only Adults Left in Washington.  She took the floor during the darkest part of the crisis and announced, “I ask my Democratic and Republican colleagues to come together,” Collins said on Oct. 8. “We can do it. We can legislate responsibly and in good faith.”

This was followed by Senate Appropriations Committee chair Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, who happened to be standing nearby, and she soon picked up a microphone and joined in. “Let’s get to it. Let’s get the job done,” she said. “I am willing to negotiate. I am willing to compromise.” Ten minutes later, a third Senator stood to speak. “I am pleased to stand with my friend from Maine, Senator Collins, as she has described a plan which I think is pretty reasonable,” said Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski. “I think it is pretty sensible.”

Pizza, Wine, Salad and Compromise

That was the “C-Span” version of events. Time reported that the actual negotiation happened behind closed doors the night before at a pizza, salad, and wine gathering in the offices of New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat.  Most of the 20 women Senators attended and used the relationships they had built over the last 10 months to put together a compromise plan  they believed could make it through Congress.  Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat told Time “The women are an incredibly positive force because we like each other.  We work together well, and we look for common ground.”  To be fair, some of the male Senators, including McCain did get involved in the final proposal.

Is there any doubt that having women in political office is beneficial?  This happened with only 20% of the Senate.  What if it really represented the country and 50% of the Senate was women?  Maybe we wouldn’t have had the mess to begin with?  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are women in Congress who refused to compromise on their issues and no amount of pizza or wine would make them budge, but I’m so grateful to those women who did put their political futures on the line.

Ask Ajna has blogged about the importance of having women on the management team and in the board room over the last year and the results of the Senate compromise is another example of the impact they can have.  Women make connections with others, the very thing that builds relationships.  When girls play, their play is designed to propagate compromise. When they play house, any of the girls can be the Mommy.  There is no “Best” mommy.  There’s some compromise to decide who gets to be mommy today.  When boys play, the best pitcher pitches.  There is no compromise, there is only challenge.

I was encouraged to see Senator McCain state unequivocally  that the women should get the credit.  I hope each and every one of the female Senators point to this accomplishment as a turning point in how women are valued in Congress.  They made a difference and are an important voice to be heard.  It will be their legacy.  We hope it will also make a difference in the workplace as well.

Find your courage, compassion, & connection

We want to encourage you to find your courage, compassion, and connection and see where it leads you.  There is still time to sign up for the Brene’ Brown’s eCourse and join us.  And don’t forget to tell us what you want your legacy to be.  Tweet us, post on our Facebook, or upload your story on Youtube.  #LeaveYourLegacy.

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I am passionate about helping women make the most of their skills and talents in the workplace, as well as encouraging them to ask for what they want and deserve. Creating Ask Ajna with Jae Lynn has been a labor of love and if we can help women find their authentic voice and support one another, we will build a community of change.

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