Who supports you? Who keeps you strong?
In America we have this myth of individualism. That people who achieve great things–or even small things–do it alone, without help from anyone.
I don’t believe that myth. I think we all have someone who tells us, “Yes, you can. You can do this.” And whether they speak words or just show you…it’s still telling you.
I wrote a short post on Facebook about scientist Barbara McClintock, the first person to make a complete genetic map of corn. When she presented her findings in a lecture in 1951, no one believed her. That was okay with her. “When you know you’re right,” she said, “you don’t care what others think.”
Although I admired her belief in herself, I wondered how she got to be so strong. So I started digging. And I found something that made sense.
After she received her Ph.D., she continued to study at Cornell. She made friends with three scientists who were eager to discuss their own findings in genetics. In her words, it was “an extraordinary period.”
Over the years, she maintained warm relationships with these three scientists. The association, she reported when she received her Nobel Prize, “profoundly affected each one of us.”
So that’s how she could stand alone after that 1951 lecture. Because she wasn’t really alone. She had friends.
I have my husband, my sister, and some extraordinary friends. Who supports you?