Women of Great Personal Agency

Agency is a favorite area of thought for me. Why wouldn’t it be? There may be no more appealing concept than that each of us has options in every moment to take a little bit of control back from the universe.

Got two great role models of personal agency for you to meet today.

  1. Jessica Jackson — law school mentor to Kim Kardashian West, partner of Van Jones in social justice and prison reform — has more moxie in her little finger than I have in my whole body. She was a 22 year-old high school drop out with a 2-month old on her hip watching her husband go to jail when she decided to be a public defender. Which is exactly what she did.

It’s a story to hear.

2. Barbara Lee — a 74 year old newlywed and also one of the first Black women in congress who was first elected 22 years ago. The first thing she told me is that she was once a single mother on public assistance getting her college degree. She brought her kids to class. Later she became the only person in the House to vote against the war in Iraq. The only one. Her concern was that the wide berth would not expire after the crisis passed, and it didn’t.

Here are 2 seasoned optimists who are making change and giving the rest of us a reason to BELIEVE in a moment when belief is hard to come by.

I invite you to get to know Jessica and Barbara in this week’s podcast, up now.

Three takeaways from talking to these insanely impressive women:

Agency involves belief in self -efficacy— recognize what you have already done and let that prove that you can do more.

Small change is generative. Micro leads to macro

People with high agency believe in multiple solutions.

And here’s to free thinkers, hard workers (14 hour days) and determined women!

Kelly Corrigan writes books, interviews people for PBS and has a podcast.

New York Times bestselling author, host of new podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS show: Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan