11 Things I Learned About Myself This Weekend
Over the past week couple weeks, I've been very active in my community. I joined a couple of women's organizations, attended rallies and a nonpartisan candidate training workshop. It's been wonderful, particularly because I'm on a path of self-discovery. I'm grateful for these experiences, but I'm especially thankful for everything I'm learning about myself and all of the wonderful women I'm meeting in the process.
The cherry on the sundae of an awesome couple days has been attending the Office Depot Foundation's Women Symposium this weekend. The Office Depot Foundation Women's Symposium is a two-day seminar where women speakers shared their personal stories to coach, inspire and demonstrate that while everyone has baggage or struggles, achieving your definition of success is still possible.
We did several individual and group exercises designed to help us push past our mental blocks and onto the path of reaching our ultimate goal. In doing these exercises and listening intently to the speakers, I learned so much about myself, what I want to do and where I want to be. And since I was reminded this weekend that vulnerability makes us stronger, I'd like to share my crazy (my big lofty dream or goal) and things I learned about myself with all of you.
- I'm going to start by sharing my crazy or lofty goal. I want to take 2017 off. What does that mean? It means part-time work or no work is what I'd prefer to do this year. I want time to decompress, enjoy being a stay at home mom and stay engaged in my community while I execute my next steps.
- I have to stop playing it safe. Fear has kept me where I'm most familiar and comfortable. That's not a place where I can thrive. I have to be brave, embrace my crazy and step out of my comfort zone.
- I love talking to people about my vegan journey and the benefits of making good food choices.
- I'm seeking clarity in my life right now, more so than direction. I know what I want to do; I just need to get clear on the actions I need to take to accomplish it.
- I want to start my own business. What kind of business? Well, I'm happy you asked; I want to start a business consulting firm to help small businesses implement sound infrastructure and achieve profitability.
- I want to take a stab at motivational speaking. This kind of relates to #3. While sharing my vegan origin story with my workgroup at the symposium, I realized that I really want to teach people the value and importance of food awareness; knowing where your food comes from, it's ingredients and encouraging people to cook more at home. At the event, I often thought about how I could be on that stage sharing my message with a group of women eager to learn about improving their health.
- Everyone, this includes me, is searching for answers they already have. Most of us were at the symposium searching for guidance and validation, not realizing each of us already knows the answers to questions tugging at our heart. We just need to have the guts to follow our dreams, regardless of the outcome.
- Networking, one of my least favorite things to do, is actually quite fun. The key I learned is focusing on the person you're talking to, not yourself or what you plan to say next. Listening and being present made networking much easier for me than it has been in the past.
- I'm uncomfortable asking for help or allowing people help me. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I met some amazing women this past week, but when one woman offered to help me by paying for a luncheon we're all attending next month, I turned her down because in my head I kept thinking..."we just met, why would she want to help me". When another woman from the group asked to buy my ticket for the luncheon, I almost said no again. However, I decided to say yes because I realized that in saying no I was being selfish. If someone wants to do nice things for me, I need to let them. It's insulting to refuse their gifts and it's always good to know you're appreciated.
- I'm way too hard on myself. I'm sure this is something everyone can relate to. I often feel like I need to have everything figured out. And all the steps need to be in place before I take action; which is probably why I'm still overthinking #5 - starting my own business. One of the speakers, Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour - a former police office and the first African American women combat pilot, reminded us that we need to "take off from where you are". Stop waiting for every to be perfect. Get gutsy, take action, refuse to settle and go for what you want.
- I can break an arrow without using my hands. Really, I can. Don't believe me? Watch this video.
If you have the opportunity to go to a women's symposium or conference in your area, I encourage you to go. It was so amazing being in a room of 400 women supporting, sharing and encouraging one another to step into their power. I want everyone to experience what I experienced. So go out and connect with your community. Attend workshops or events that allow for you to create that space with other women. This vibe is definitely needed right now; because involved and passionate women can make the world a better place.