WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

June 14, 2012

Costly Toxic WordFood

On a beautiful day in Boulder, Colorado I went to lunch with one of the most powerful women in the state. My friend Meg is a serial entrepreneur, a brilliant businesswoman. She has sat on some of the boards of the biggest banks in the country, created jobs, and been a powerful force for women in her state and the business community for years.

I’ve known Meg for more than thirty years. I don’t know how old she is, somewhere in her late 80′s, I’d imagine. But she won’t tell anyone her age because of incidents like this one.

She was traveling with a business group in Viet Nam a while back when they had missed a return flight to Hanoi. One man in the group offered to rebook the flights and took their passports to get this accomplished. Afterwards, he approached her in a huff.

“If I’d known how old you were I’d never have allowed you to go on this trip,” he said condescendingly, and with force.

Meg has been an athlete all her life and she still is. She works out with a trainer, runs, does yoga, has a personal chef. She is up earlier than most of us and looks perhaps seventy. She still climbs mountains. She is likely in better shape than this dope.

What he didn’t know was that Meg was considering him for a job in one of her companies. His toxic WordFood and obvious age discrimination cost him a significant opportunity. Typical of Meg, she didn’t mention it. This fool will go on in his self-righteousness, clueless about what his ugly words cost him.

Our prejudices can be expensive. Age prejudice can make us overlook, ignore and bypass some of the most amazing and brilliant people all around us.  And our assumptions, based on those prejudices, can cost us the chance to learn from the richest resource in our society.  We may worship the young as a society but I’ll take Meg any day.

We owe our most respectful WordFood to those who came before us. Many of the things we take for granted, they put there for us. The inventions, buildings, highways, infrastructures that we depend on. And oh yeah, us.

Pick up the phone, email, go to a senior center, make the time and feed an elder the WordFood they so rightfully deserve today.

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