Power of Shared Experience

I had a very nice meeting this afternoon with my cancer surgeon.  He is working to improve the experience of patients at the Stanford Cancer Center and wanted to get my perspective as a former patient of what they do well and where they need to improve.  He wanted the benefits of shared experience.

Along with everything else, I suggested that they develop a cadre of former patients that could talk to the current patients – patient to patient – letting them know what to expect.  How difficult things might be in various ways.  When they would begin to feel better.  That they could expect to lead a “normal” life again.  These are all things that I heard from my doctors and nurses, but hearing from someone who walked the same path carries so much more weight.  The patients need to hear from people who have experience and are willing to share that experience.  I volunteered to be the first member of that group of former patients.

We have all benefitted from other people’s experiences.  Every teacher, coach or mentor is sharing what he or she has learned and experienced in the past; as the saying goes, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.   I believe that he best way we can thank those who have shared with us is for us to share with others.

This is what I do when I teach my classes at the Law School.  I have not academically researched the venture capital industry.  I have lived in it.  I share what I have learned through the years with my students – sharing my experiences – so they will be better prepared when they have clients that are VCs or (more likely) have clients that want to do business with VCs.  They will be better lawyers because they will understand their clients better through sharing my experiences.

That is the power of shared experience.

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