Recently, on Jazzy Gonçalves' podcast, The Shrug, she described me a a Vocal Mommy-Friend. Before I go on with what I want to say I urge you to listen to Jazzy's reading and observations in the episode linked below, as well as her previous editions. (Yes- you can wait until you finish reading this!)
My First Thought
When she said it, my first thought, as I winced, was 'oh no, not again!' This is not the first time I've been referred to as the 'Little Mother' of a group, and I felt a tinge of shame that I'd not matured past that, and even brought that into my Vocal Community.
I remembered back to my days as an Assistant Manager in a bookstore, listening to my manager and friend refer to me as the store's Little Mother. Although she smiled, it was clear that it wasn't a compliment.
I was somehow less than a leader because of it, and it wasn't because I had children of my own that I was called that- it's because I kept asking why people did the things that they did instead of just dealing out the consequences of their actions.
It was because I'd say things like: 'So and So needs the hours, I'll work with them so they can learn to shelve quicker.' And 'He or She doesn't realize the way they come across to customers, let me talk with them about it.'
I was too soft, that was clear. I needed to toughen up to be a manager. But; did I really?
Manager and Corporate
I did become a manager. Did I hold people responsible? Of course: that's business and everyone on the team needs to work towards a goal. But I didn't really change the way I related to and worked with the staff.
I didn't, and still don't, see it as mothering. I think it's nurturing. Supporting. Mentoring. Empathetic. Those qualities can and should transcend gender. All people can be nurturing. Ideally: we are all always nurturing of each other.
I was a good manager. I was a good salesperson (and I still am, I believe). But when I was really happiest was when I was a trainer and could coach and help others to do their very best. To see them exceed results they didn't know they could reach. To watch them achieve success.
I took that with me as a corporate manager in Store Operations. Again, it was the ability to smooth obstacles out of the way, to create and teach processes that reduced frustrations, to partner with trainers, consult with buyers, and deliberate with the communication team.
When the store teams were successful, when they achieved bonuses, when they were promoted, when we recognized their gains, well; I generally cried. I was so happy to see their victories.
Even now, working in a non-profit that helps the employees and owners of bookstores and comic shops when they experience unexpected disasters that lead to financial crisis- even now I am still happiest and most fulfilled when supporting others and getting them back on an even keel.
Now on Vocal
And now? Now I am a Vocal Mommy? Have I learned nothing? Evidently not. And, do you know what? I am OK with it.
Let's face it: much like my stubby little fingers that I've long wished were tapered and graceful like Amy's in Little Women, my character isn't likely to change much now that I am the age that I am.
I still want things to be as fair as possible for everyone. That we all get along together. That we cheer for and support each other. That I can elevate someone that is getting overlooked, and boost someone that is falling behind.
I believe, deep in my heart and in my every pore, that we are at our personal best when everyone is at their personal best. When we all know the rules. When we all know where to get the answers. When we all know that we are heard.
The success of someone else doesn't diminish my life- it enriches it.
So I'll own it: #VocalMommy. And, I hope; your #VocalFriend.
One of the Mommy-things is, I suppose, the guide I'm creating to identify (without the use of a program) AI-generated content on the Vocal platform.
Vocal DOES permit AI-generated/assisted content as long as it is so identified. Too often, it is not, and sometimes even sneaks into receiving a Top Story. Here's the intro to the guide, and subsequent chapters are linked.
The reason I do this is explained in this next post, and it has everything to do with helping to create an even field for all Vocal creators.
And, because some people are poem people- this one is for you:
And one last thing: Did you know that Vocal and I worked together on the Creator 101 Content? If you haven't read them yet, click on the Resources tab at the top of the page, or just click here:
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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!