Ode to Nabica

Nabica is a colleague of mine. For the past year or so, we’ve been working as part of a team to develop a training curriculum that educates resident physicians how to evaluate patients for substance misuse, abuse, and dependence.

It’s white-knuckled, hair-raising fun, let me tell you.

Anyway, part of our work includes collaborating with a research expert and a computer programmer who developed an online training module. Well, you can imagine what it’s like for a handful of “living in the gray,” “sensitive-feely” types to assimilate with “black and white,” “binary code is the clearest language” types.

Sometimes conflict is inevitable. Resistance is futile. So when it occurs, what can be done?

A common approach involves clashing of communication styles and all around head butting, with neither side listening to the other. We’ve all been there, amen? Of course, it usually leads to grudges and more stand-offs, leading to even bigger hurdles to overcome.

To get back to my ode, Nabica does a fantastic job of “joining up” with a person stiffly holding onto their opposing viewpoint. (Yes, I borrowed the term from the Horse Whisperer. No, I do not mean she switches sides to agree with “other side.”) She makes the person feel understood and then softens them to another idea closer to the middle. Instead of employing the Art of War, she employs the Art of Negotiation.

Hint: Jedi mind tricks DO come in handy. Yes, it’s true. All shrink types use the force.

(Disclaimer: The opinion of the above statement does not reflect the opinion of the blog as a whole.)  * cheesy grin *

To get back to my original point, Nabica is one of my favorite people to look up to. Her style is calm, humorous, and open. She voices her opinions honestly, without condescension and judgment. Oh, and she’s so freakin’ intuitive I have the feeling she just “gets” it.

Not to get gushy here, but I have told Nabica how much I appreciate working with her. Sometimes it falls short. I don’t think she really knows just how much I’ve learned from her even through simple observation.

I must say this holds true to the people I’ve connected with through writing and blogging. Fortunately, I’ve found the “supportive ones.” At the same time, they don’t shy away from telling me directly what needs to be improved. They are, as the cliché says, worth their weight in gold.

Role models and mentors usually give their time and knowledge willingly and for free. Bonus! In what other situations can you get so much without making your wallet significantly thinner? Nowhere.

So how do we keep the spirit of goodwill, learning, and service going?

By giving back what we’ve received. A wise someone once said, “There’s three types of relationships each person should have. First, a teacher—someone to look up to and receive knowledge from. Second, a peer—someone at your level to exchange equal information with. And third, a student—someone to impart the knowledge you’ve gained, thereby passing on the gift of information and skill.”

Final thought: It is important to let our role models know we look up to them. It is important to share information with our peers in an open exchange of thoughts and ideas. It is crucial to sacrifice our own time to pass on the knowledge we’ve gained.

Tell me, who has had an influential role in your life and what have you done to show your appreciation, not only to him or her, but to your peers and your “students?”

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2 comments on “Ode to Nabica

  1. AAA says:

    so very true. I too am a fan of Nabica for very similar reasons. I have the priviledge of working with another mentor of mine, Melissa, and try not to forget to thank. She certainly does not have to do what she does, but continues to – if even just for the satisfaction that she is not colluding with the internalized sexism that tends to happen in higher level academia. After reading your blog, however, I think I’ll thank her agian.

  2. Brenda Drake says:

    I think by passing on what your teacher/mentor has given you is a way to show your appreciation. Yet, I don’t ever forget to give credit where credit is due and always thank them right away with friendship and small gifts like taking them to coffee or a movie. I do this for my walking buddy (she was an editor for nonfiction books before she retired). She always gives free advice to help me grow.

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