Cooking up the Supreme Career

How did we end up where we are, right now? What were the thousand of unmemorable decisions, influences, strokes of luck (bad and good), right place right time circumstances that conspired for you to be right here. Some of you are smiling and others are not. We all have stories, do we not?! While our resumes and bios give certainty of credit and trajectory, we all know better. In fact we have forgotten most of the things that really contributed to our successes. Bits of advice, mentoring moments, what friends said or did, a death, a birth, a movie you saw, a speech you heard......hundreds of things that shaped your point of view and pushed and pulled you to where you are.

Are you noticing what is influencing, could be influencing you now? Emerson

In the last 72 hours I was reminded of the subtlety and fragility of those moments and messages. When I was younger I was "too focused" too ambitious" to see so much. I was lucky to have gained anything--and I did. I feel like I see and hear so much more today. Yeah, the clock is ticking but I am paying attention with a heart and mind that knows how much I don't know. That I still have unexplored talents and potential hidden within me. 

One of my favorite books is Instructions to the Cook  describes the Zen Buddhist concept for the supreme meal. The supreme meal is when we live our life fully, wholeheartedly---a fully expressed life.

So the first principle of the Zen cook is that we already have everything we need. If we look closely at our lives, we will find that we have all the ingredients we need to prepare the supreme meal. At every moment, we simply take the ingredients at hand and make the best meal we can. It doesn’t matter how much or how little we have. The Zen cook just looks at what is available and starts with that.

  • I lead a workshop for 74 newbies in the field of philanthropy. We all paused to reflect on the unpredictable circumstances that pushed us into philanthropy--a field none of us "majored in" or can explain to our parents! So is this a way-station to something else or is this the most important opportunity of our lifetime so far ?(choose #2). How do we make the most out of what we have and where we are?
  • Visited the incredible Frank Gehry exhibition at LACMAThe genius of Frank's architecture could have easily been lost to his stronger interest in becoming a pilot. His ceramics class unexpectedly led him to architecture. He ignored his professor who told him that architecture was not his field. And later after he designed a typical shopping center in Santa Monica, a mentor asked him if he was happy designing for others. Frank quit his cushy job and took a giant leap--and the rest is history. How do we respond to self-criticism and the judgment and discouragement of others? How do we do what we love?
  • Saw He named me Malala  film where a 14 year old girl literally gets shot in the face with her destiny and becomes the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Her unique parents, her name, her incredible personality, the influences of the needs around her and the Taliban forged her destiny. How do we uphold our values and the rights of others? How do we react to tragedy, pain and threats? 
  • And then to top it off I saw Lost Angels, a gritty documentary about the fates of regular people who end up on skid row. Poignant stories of choices, challenges, misfortune, and the ovarian lottery. How do we manage our balance, sanity, finances, addictions, and demons to stay on the straight and narrow?  How do we make the most out of what we have?

Stuff happens. Switches get flipped. New paths appear. People push, others pull. You get bored, inspired, discouraged and educated. Outside forces influence your little asteroid into a different orbit and trajectory--if you let them. What chances and changes do we prevent from happening? What do we suppress, fail to express, and under-value in our pursuit of the practical and prudent? What is right in front of you right now that you can't see because your lenses are zoomed in on what is more important to others than to you? 

All of the ingredients are in your cupboard to make the supreme meal. What do you have that you have forgotten about? What do you have that you have never tasted or used? How do you focus on where you are and what you are doing to make it supreme?

Every moment is fleeting, fragile and filled with opportunity. The emergence of your passions and purpose grow within you. Meaning and fulfillment are not foreign destinations you hope to visit some day, they surround you. You have what it takes. The possibilities within you are untapped. The opportunities around you are boundless.

I want to incorporate the flavors of the newbie beginner's mind, the outside perspective of Gehry,  Malala's courage, and the humility of the homeless into my cuisine. 

What do you want?

Put on your apron, open your cupboard, sharpen your knives---let's get cooking!!

Thanks for reading. John


The Preference for Your Own Potential

Things that grow are generally better. Whether you are trending on twitter, the equity in your home, your GPA, or your sense of well-being.

Things with potential growth are considered the better investments. Every financial investment, every hire selected considers the upside of the candidate.

Think about the recruiter for your favorite NFL team in the Super Bowl. Consider the incredible track record of Kevin Rose, arguably the best picker of start-ups. Or the admissions offices of the top universities. They require evidence of past performance AND evaluate the future trajectory of the candidates. How do these experts balance the value of track record with the upside of potential?  Potential

Recent research out of Stanford and Harvard called: The Preference for Potential revealed:

When people seek to impress others, they often do so by highlighting their personal achievements.  Despite the intuitive appeal of this strategy, we demonstrate that people tend to prefer potential rather than achievement when evaluating others.  Indeed, compared to references to achievement (e.g., “this person has become a leader in the field”), references to potential (e.g., “this person could become a leader in the field”) appear to stimulate greater interest and excitement, which translates into more favorable reactions.

It makes sense that there is this preference and bias for potential, especially in hiring and promoting. In any investment of time and money you should expect growth and a greater return. Upside matters! The intangibles become very influential. Desire, passion, and character add credibility to potential. 

The fact that you have done it in the past is not enough to prove or demonstrate potential for the future. Competence is a starting point.

Some may say that this smacks of ageism. That younger candidates have an advantage in the race for  potential. Probably true. But if you need experience AND potential, then youthful enthusiasm is not enough. The question is how can you translate your achievements into an adaptable investment that is relevant now and into the future? How are you able to show that your skills, knowledge and abilities are in sync with the future needs of the organization and the industry?

The future is not what it used to be.  Yogi Berra

"What have you done for me lately?" is morphing into,"What will you be capable of doing later?"

We tend to over focus on our past achievements. We start to believe our own press releases, rest on our laurels  and forget our potential. We rarely talk about our own potential. We hesitate because of our humility and our uncertainty. Deep inside we know what we are capable of and what we want to do, but if no one knows but us, what good does that do?

Do you see the trajectory of your career? Can you describe it?

I meet many people who can not describe their potential at all. 

What is potential that is invisible? 

Untapped potential is a sin. I think the greatest indictment a person can hear is "you have so much potential" and not know what they are talking about.

Get to know your potential. Start by finding role models of people that are doing what you think you want to do. People who are doing what you want to do and doing it the way you want to do it. Connect with these people.

Continuous effort--not strength or intelligence--is the key to unlocking our potential. Winston Churchill

Dive deeply into your work and your field--even if you are uncertain if this is THE one. 

Then start to push yourself to gain more experience, confidence, and understanding of your potential. You will discover your strengths and your weaknesses. You will better define what you want and don't want. 

Other people want to be associated with people who are growing and knowledgeable about the trends, the field. People who are well connected, well-read, and well versed. In other words, people who take their careers seriously--people who want to be leaders in their field. 

Maybe you don't know exactly where you are going but you see yourself moving up the ladder. Then act like it! Read the trades. Follow the industry thought leaders. Join the industry associations. Take on visible roles at your employer, in the industry. 

Potential can't be a latent undefined blob within you. It is revealed by your actions and your words. You show it and people see it. If it is a genuine pursuit of your interest in the field, some may see you as a "climber", but if you are not showy and egotistical, then the preference for your potential will be realized.

You prefer potential in things and in others. Now hold yourself to the same standard! 

Thanks for reading. John


Get Energized!

The other day, someone described me as the "Energizer Bunny". They meant it as a compliment. :)I like the word energy. It defines something I value and depend upon everyday. Like all of nature, without it, nothing is possible.  I don't think of energy as just "the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity." I like the physical science definitions, such as "the ability to exert pulls or pushes against the basic forces of nature."Energizer
As we all know, energy exists in everything and everywhere, but it needs to be focused and contained to be useful. Energy is like intention. We always have it, but do we fully engage it to make a difference?

"No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined." Harry Fosdick

It may be the number one question I get asked. "Where does YOUR energy come from?" I think they ask this because they see my energy as a positive or my energy bugs them. Never sure when I get the question which it is. :) The short answer that I give yields a wry smile, "I get it from my mom and dad!" While true, not a satisfying answer. But I know that the DNA plays a role.

My energy is within me and it drives what I do and who I am. I don't think of energy as a feeling. Do I feel energetic? No, I consider energy a deeper force that defines me, but more importantly, what I do. Never used "5 hour energy", Red Bull, or taken recreational drugs to increase my energy. I do have couple cups o java every morning though. I think energy is all natural.

While we are each unique, each of us has the same potential energy within us.

Renewing, preserving, caring for and investing in your energy sources is as important as it is for our planet's natural energy. It can not be taken for granted. It is so precious.

Energy has to be renewed everyday. Energy does not last. Like eating and exercise, you need to make re-energizing a daily routine.

There are a couple of pre-reqs

  • Physical and Fiscal Fitness: Yes, you need to be managing your physical and fiscal fitness and your level of stress. All are factors in your body and mind's ability to do things and to "show up" completely in your life of work and play. So you have to tend to these vital matters because they drain and undermine your energy. They keep you from your focus on what makes you unique and your overall ability to engage and deliver your talents.
  • Passion Alignment: Your work and your life have to have good doses of the things you care about. At work, as a volunteer, at church, in your spare time--you have to be engaging your passions.

5 Daily Steps to More Energy:

  1. Get Inspired: Seek out ideas and stories that give you a reality check on what's important to you. The needs of others is always a good place to start. No shortage of those stories today. Needs remind us of what we have and we have to help others get.

"Any time a thought, sentence, or a paragraph inspires you or opens up your thinking, you need to capture it, like a butterfly in a net, and later release it into your own field of consciousness." Steve Chandler

2. Get Connected: Engage people who can shift your perspective, push you out of your comfy box, and who help you think differently. Look for every opportunity to meet new and reconnect with existing network members. Other people's energy is highly contagious!

"Isolation is our problem, not our lousy attitudes."  Barbara Sher

3. Get Others What They Need: The satisfaction of helping others around you is so energizing. It gives you fulfillment, meaning, and energy! Do more than you do now. Volunteer! Go out of your way to assist and you will get a power surge!

4. Get Fun: Life is too short not to enjoy what we do. Get out of the toxic relationships and worlds around you. Get off the negative bandwagon and reinforce the positive.

"Laughter is an instant vacation." Milton Berle

5. Get Going!: Stop procrastinating. Start pursuing what you really want. Talk to your network about how to start or advance what you should be doing.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's learning how to dance in the rain." unknown

When you are just going through life without connecting with who you are, what you want to be, and where you want to go, then your energy can be easily sapped. Energy comes from your engagement with your life. The more engaged, enthused, and enriched by your work and your experiences, the less you think about time and regrets. You psych up for things you care about and it energizes you.

If you believe in energy as I have defined it, then the "pushes" and "pulls" of engaging your passions with others is a powerful source of energy. You get bits and bytes of energy by connecting with what's important, with the new, by rediscovering the "old" and by helping others.

Thanks for reading. John 


Connecting the Dots

Steve Jobs lived a life of great trials and tribulations, great victories and achievements.

He pursued his passions and his curiosities, not because it was part of a plan. Because it fascinated him. He found work he loved which he never considered work. He met people, had ideas, and pursued thoughts, not in an effort to reach a goal. He connected dots that made sense only in hindsight.Dots

Here's what he said: "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."


Even if you have watched this before, watch it again! It is so inspirational particularly that we have lost him.

Steve Jobs has been likened to Thomas Edison, but I have always thought of him as a combination of Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg. He was no angel, few geniuses are. But a true visionary. Never had the opportunity to meet him but like most of us I admired his insatiable creativity and pursuit of excellence.

Think for a second that his seemingly innocuous logo symbol –Apple with a bite missing—is the forbidden fruit. He always pushed himself beyond the garden of eden. After all one of his daughters was named Eve!

His story is an American fairy tale of the emergence of greatness from humble and “average” beginnings. Those of us who have been around lots of kids, if you look carefully, you can see the genius in each one of them. The genius of uniqueness and of their unfettered spirit of the possibilities. The DNA cocktail is powerful and if it is allowed to take root and grow, amazing happens. But all too often we try to conform and guide our kids to follow a formula, often the parents vicarious recipe, for success. We want the kids to fit in. Yet we simultaneously hold a contradictory thought---we believe each individual is unique and special. Why then do we try and smooth out all of the wrinkles, remove all of the weird, and push and pull our young ones into a regimented line?

I contend we lose a Steve Jobs like kid everyday to our well intentioned desire to make all of the unique birds fly in formation.

I am an addict for vision. For the people who can lift their sights from their footsteps, up to the horizon and beyond. It is not that I do not value the past or the present, but I have long understood that being satisfied with the status quo is foolhardy. That life is an endless journey about improving our lot and the lots of those that follow. In that vein, people who are restless and unsettled about the current world, yearn for the next iterations. Steve Jobs was relentless and never satisfied—that’s the way visionaries are.

We each have visions for our future, for our families future and for our sociiety. We need those visions.

One of his greatest lessons is his view of life as connecting dots. Life is the pursuit of things and people that fascinate you, that capture your imagination, that drive your curiosity and passion--with no guarantees. These are the dots that you should connect. But instead of myopically accumulating dots with a plan. Like a bad scavenger hunt, you collect interesting dots that connect you to new ideas about yourself and the possibilities.

If you can not make sense of the people and experiences you encounter except through hindsight, then how do you know if you are doing it “right”? A better question is, how can you reject the opportunity to meet someone or to experience something if you won’t know the value until later?

Actually that is what this little blog is about. Trusting yourself to take chances and to make leaps of faith. A lifestyle of connections not driven by selfish needs but a lifestyle of making connections to help people and to discover the world. A world that will teach us about ourselves by trusting our guts and our hearts to become the best of who we were meant to be.

Thanks for reading. John


Networking to our Future through our Past

Re-acquainting ourselves with ourselves can be the most powerful experience. Clearly the elements of your uniqueness, your passions, and but it may be your story and your genealogy that paves the most revealing paths to expand and diversify your network. We are all multi-faceted, multi-talented multi-racial----we are all immigrants, we are all diverse---probably more than most of us understand or know. Just the discovery process of asking your parents, grand parents or any relatives will give you insights into who you are--and I promise will set you on a new networking journey.

Went to the opening of Kip Fulbeck's new exhibit called Mixed Race. Check out the book. Multi-racial Americans are the fastest growing demographic/ethnic group--that will be again confirmed by the 2010 Census.

My mother's family traced her family back 1100 years! And in Japanese families, these family trees always lead to a famous Samurai! And of course so does ours. That inspired my own roots search. I went to Japan with my best friend Willie Banks, who happens to be African American and is more Japanese than me. I wanted to find Kunta Kobara.:) Believe it or not Willie was my interpreter, like a sitcom, quite the site! Just imagine Japanese people talking to me, my mouth is not moving, and a perfectly accented response is coming from Willie's lips towering above me. We traversed my grandparents homeland and met some of of my Samurai relatives. I confronted my past and my friendship with Willie deepened. My view of myself was altered.Samurai

In Hawaii, most everyone is "hapa" meaning part Asian and other races. On the islands, there is a pride in the number of ethnicities one claims. Some used to say they are chop suey like the made up Americanized Chinese dish that combines many ingredients.

One of my parenting goals is instilling pride in our children about their heritage. My kids are hapa. Half Japanese, a quarter Korean and a quarter Irish, Welsh and German. Kind of a sukiyaki, kim chee, irish rarebit stew with a splash of sauerkraut.

We want them to appreciate their lineage, but if you have kids, their identities are their own.  They care less about race and ethnicity than us adults. They are smarter! No matter what you do, birth order matters. Our oldest daughter Jenna enjoyed a comprehensive education about her histories. And my youngest Bobby, also got a good dosage to help him form his self-concept. This story tells the tale of our middle child, Malia. For and knife

I took my three heirs to a local Mexican restaurant. We are munching away quietly and Malia, about 8 or 9 years old, says, "Dad this food is really good, what is it?" "Malia, it's Mexican food! We have it many times", I retort. ","Oh yeah," she says, "because we are Mexican." My brain freezes and instantly turns to panic. I have done such a bad job as a parent! I quickly recover and assert, "No no no, we're not Mexican. Nothing wrong being Mexican but we're not." I pull my plate to the center of the table in front of Malia and Jenna knows what I am going to do. Jenna takes over as the big sister. She takes her knife and lays it down the middle of the plate and says, "Malia this is you", pointing at the plate. Malia looks on with curiosity. Jenna points to left half of the plate, "this half is Japanese, you are half Japanese", picking up her fork. She lays the fork across the knife to form a cross on the the plate. Malia points to the other side, "What's over here?" "This is you too", pointing at the top right quadrant, "You are also a quarter Korean." Jenna's forefinger glides down to the bottom right corner and finishes, "Oh this is you too, you are also a quarter Irish, Welsh and German." Malia was carefully following Jenna's place setting lecture and a look of understanding washed over her face and she exclaimed, "So we are not Mexican!"

Parents can only do so much and frankly are only one source of information! The process of discovering who we are forces us to network beyond our parents. To network with our families. Network with people we truly care about or relatives we don't know. Those discoveries will trigger conversations, questions and inevitably interests that will expand our universe dramatically.

And those discoveries lead to new interests and other networks you previously were unaware of.

Right now your concept of yourself is limited. It always is and always will be. Because the process of understanding who we are is never ending. I meet people who settle on their identities, on their possibilities, on their destinies and it makes me crazy. They don't even see the incredible potential others do. Part of that process is the comprehension of where our chromosomes have been. Not to understand our differences but to fully appreciate our commonalities. Do you really know who you are? Make this discovery part of your life's quest to understand your history and your network will expand in ways that will open your eyes to the future.

Thanks for reading. John

The networking gene and how I forgot to network

We all know that job networking--the personal process of finding opportunities and being referred and recommended for a job--is the most effective way to get hired. This is an undisputed fact that is supported by dozens of studies and surveys. To say today's job market is "competitive" is a felonious understatement! If you are qualified, then the most meaningful way to separate you from the pack or should I say the mountain of resumes is by networkingSo if your job search and/or career exploration does NOT include a robust networking component then you know you have seriously reduced your chances to succeed. It is the most fundamental premise of this blog and I usually assume that we all get it.

Dna So why aren't all smart people employing a networking strategy? The answer may be as complex and diverse as the population. However, I have observed three common behaviors that undermine people's networking capabilities:

  1. I do not have the networking gene. We tend to be so hard on ourselves. We believe that many talents are in our DNA or not. That we are born artistic or not. That we are good public speakers or not. That we have been dealt a stack of chromosomal cards and that hand can not be improved. We think about networking in the same way. But it isn't true. Yes we all have been born with many strengths and talents. Only a few of those talents will be developed during our lifetimes. Clearly some have been born with great gifts that they have discovered and others live in ignorance of them. Most of us mortals have to try and work with what we have, which is always more than you give yourself credit. Great evidence that people can develop any and all of their talents. Art, public speaking, and leadership can all be honed from novice to extraordinary levels with practice and persistence. Strengthening the networking muscles is even easier. There is no special networking gene. Everyone has the capacity to network well with very little effort.
  2. I just don't have the time. We tend to take the path of least resistance. Networking takes another step or two. And let's be honest, we are lazy. We know what we have to do and maybe we feel even confident about our networking ability, but it is easier and simpler to just send in the resume and cross our fingers. In doing this, we have inconveniently forgotten the value of the network. Investing a little time and effort in networking, especially in the job search, will yield far greater outcomes.
  3. I just need some help right now. We have not adopted the lifestyle, the lifestyle of networking (and mentoring) all of the time. We fall back into the old habits of only using networking when we have an urgent need. Adopting the lifestyle requires that you network continuously. Not just when you need a job or a favor. How do you feel when you are on the receiving end of such a request? We always have to avoid desperation networking. Networks are nurtured in good times and bad. They are a precious investment that need time and attention. Make a withdrawal from your network bank to address your current need, just remember to make regular deposits of goodwill to keep your account strong.

All of these behaviors are rational and defensible. Part truth, part fear, part procrastination, part time management, and part humility. Doesn't matter how much each part represents, it is a recipe for lost opportunities. Opportunities that are sitting right in front of all of us.

Some people are born great networkers, some achieve great networking, and some have great networking thrust upon them.--apologies to Shakespeare. Who will you be?

Like most things, we become better networkers by doing. Knowing and not doing is a masochistic sin.  

First of all anyone can do networking and do it well. Networking does not require:

  1. Any formal training or techniques.
  2. A personality makeover--to be more extroverted for example.
  3. Any cold calling. There is always a preference for warm calling.  

Here are some basic things that we all have to be reminded about:

  1. Networking focuses on your existing network. People you know well, people you trust and who trust you.
  2. Networking is ethical and uses your unique comfort to guide its limits. In other words, you are never going to do or say anything that feels wrong.
  3. Networking is mutually beneficial process that builds community. Helping each other is part of life and being human.

So if you have no existing network of associates, friends and family. You are not ethical. And you are not interested in helping one another. Then you are right, networking is an innate and esoteric skill that you will never master.

On the other hand.......

You must connect with people to get feedback on your resume, to get an insider perspective of the companies you are targeting, to get a direct referral at a senior management level to make sure your resume gets read. You do this by connecting with your network and by communicating your needs and interests. Connect with your network about your short term needs and adopt the lifestyle. Connect with your network to make it stronger. Just connect with your network.

I have tried to reduce the number of excuses that hinder your networking. You have the right DNA, you have many hidden talents, you have the potential to be a great networker, you have the time, and if you have the will, your horizon of opportunities will be far greater.

Thanks for reading. John


Baby networking -- the science of attachment

The magic of DNA is profoundly manifested when you have kids. You and your spouse put your DNA in the martini shaker and pour out the DNA cocktail that is your child. DNAIt is one of the greatest miracles and mysteries of life! Every child has unique qualities and attributes that may not resemble the parents! The Nigerians have a beautiful word --Amachi-- roughly translated means "Only God knows what this child brings". Locked inside of this tiny person are all sorts of possibilities and talents. Parents then go through the amazing and challenging push/pull dance of nurturing the nature or vice versa. How much guidance do I provide to allow this child to become who they were meant to become? And for those of us blessed with more than one child, you learn quickly that the operator's manual is different for each and every one. No matter how much equity we want to apply as parents, we realize real fast that appreciating the differences is far more important. For if we don't recognize these unique qualities, we will miss the genius within. Like a box of crackerjacks, there is at least one prize inside each child a unique talent, skill, idea, a way of being that yearns to be discovered and appreciated.180px-Mozambique024

Do the mysteries of a baby--how to help the child realize his/her potential--tell us anything about how that baby develops relationships? Are the seeds of networking planted during those early moments of infancy where the brain is an evolving grey mass of possibilities and the manifestations of the secret blend of DNA emerges?

Recently, I was introduced to a body of research on the attachment of infants. Simply put, it is the process where the primary caregiver relationship, the attachment, to the new born forms in the first months of life.

The attachment bond is a research based theory that has shown that the seeds of relationship capabilities is planted in early childhood and is highly influenced by the bond that forms or does not form between the primary caregiver and the baby. Put another way, your perspective on networking may have been largely formed through your attachment. According to the experts at Helpguide.org, the following activities are critical in forming this attachment bond.

Nonverbal tools for communication between parent and baby include:

  • Eye contact and facial expressions. Eye-to-eye contact between parent and baby is key to feeling connected and developing a secure and loving bond. A warm smile goes a long way, too. Babies also like to imitate facial expressions, which can be a fun way to play with your baby.
  • Feeding. The act of feeding can be very soothing to a baby. Watch for cues that your baby is still hungry or if s/he needs to be burped during feeding. If you are breastfeeding, you will naturally be holding your baby close. If you are bottle feeding, make sure you are holding your baby, ideally cradling him or her while feeding- don’t “prop a bottle”.
  • Gentle handling. Avoid rough, abrupt movements in very young babies and be sure to support a newborn’s head.  Older babies might like more active, playful movements at times, but check frequently to make sure they are comfortable.
  • Rhythmic movement. Babies love rocking, swaying, swinging, and even gentle jiggling (notshaking). They may enjoy “dancing” with you.
  • A soft soothing voice. Talk or sing to your baby. Your baby can’t understand what you’re saying, but he or she can enjoy just listening to you. While you are also building language skills, the reassurance of your voice is very important in building secure attachment.
Like adults, babies want eye contact, smiles, gentleness, and of course food! Great ingredients for networking! And the attachment bond determines how adults approach relationships and ultimately become fulfilled
J0438625 Here's the shocker, at least for me, parents are not educated or even told about this attachment process. They certainly are not aware of the cues and milestones that the parents, especially the mother needs to know. Rich moms, poor moms, there is no difference. I can only imagine that clinics and hospitals that serve low income communities are not teaching it. And equally concerning are the well-to-do households where the nannies and the au pairs become the de-facto primary caregivers. Awareness and even more important, the general understanding on how to form this attachment is not part of the pre-natal and new motherhood education process. My wife and I never heard of it. Friends of mine who just had babies were never told of it. Mothers and their newborns are being discharged as quickly as possible and are lucky if they get a bag of baby discount coupons, but nothing else. No "manual" for the new born. And the pediatricians are often not a source for this information on attachment either. There is a huge emphasis on the functions of the baby, crying, sleeping, eating, elimination, burping etc. But little or none on attachment. 

I am working with some donors who are trying to fund the development of an "attachment toolkit" to be distributed to new parents/caregivers. This toolkit will concisely show parents the benefits and the methods of forming this attachment bond. More on this later. 

While the DNA dice have been rolled and many things are pre-determined, the role of the caregivers/parents in these first days and months of life are crucial. We have to tell others about this. If you know someone who is pregnant, please tell them about the importance of the attachment bond. Parents that pay close attention to this bonding process can lead to early diagnoses of mental health issues and other early childhood challenges. And our adult relationships, our self-confidence, our resillience, and our self satisfaction are ultimately linked to this attachment! In other words, there are many payoffs for the creation of the attachment bond. And as we all know, we will never get this time back. While you have been reading this blog 75 babies were born in the US!

Networking with our babies to attach by connecting and bonding, like all networking is mutually beneficial.
Thanks for reading. John