There are times in life when we must accept that IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT YOU! We impact others based on the choices we make, the words that are said and even those left unsaid. Someone maybe watching, listening and following your footsteps even when you are not aware.
I was one of 700+ lucky women to attend the 10th Annual BE YOU Women’s Link Leadership Forum hosted by The Home Depot (In prior years, I did not make the cut, but NOT THIS YEAR!!!). As I prepared for the day, I committed to being present, engaging with someone new and following my instincts.
Lisa Nichols, best selling author and motivational coach, was the keynote speaker (It saddens me to admit that I did not know who she was before this event but she has changed me forever) and she was indeed #blackgirlmagic! She shared some incredible gems that I must share with you:
- “Give yourself the freedom to disrupt the environment you’re in. Once the soil is disrupted you can plant a new seed. What do you want to grow in your next season?”
- “In order to get something new you have to do something new.”
- “Start the journey back to you. Share the real you with the world; not the you you think they expect you to be.”
- “Some of your best blessings come wrapped in sand paper.”
- “Are you willing to stop asking for permission and start giving notice?”
At the conclusion of her talk, I felt compelled to ask a question. Now that may seem incredibly simple but please recall the room was filled with over 700 women excluding the countless program volunteers and Home Depot executive leaders. To add to this, the microphones were stationed in the middle of the room and I LOATHE being the center of attention! But nonetheless, I walked to the mic without knowing what I was going to ask (fortunately there were 4 women ahead of me so it gave me some time to think, I am a procrastinator at heart so pressure usually creates gems). I told myself that I was doing this for me (this was my something new, why not start doing things differently now) but I ultimately realized that it was not about me at all.
I believe that moment happened to:
- Encourage Others – Ask the Question! Countless women approached me because they had the same question but did not have the courage to ask. Others still that are members of my team stated they would have never thought that I could have a confidence issue like them given my title and my public/professional persona. I wore my new favorite cape that day, not knowing that I could be someone else’s hero by simply choosing to speak my truth.
- Reinforce Bonds – You are not in this alone! I had friends, mentors, advocates and sponsors in that room. They all reminded me of my greatness and most importantly their commitment to my success. For some reason, I chose to not ask for help from people that have helped me successfully navigate through several periods of disruption in my life. I needed to be reminded that I have a tribe for a reason, it’s not only about me!
- Recognize Others – The most impactful interaction was an email, 2 days after the conference, which read “I just wanted to let you know how awesome you were – you were courageous and so well spoken! What an inspiration you are!!” I wondered, how did she find me (my name is uncommon and I doubt that I could have found me if I wasn’t me)? How long must that have taken? What led her to do this? I quickly realized the profound effect of that simple note. Which again confirmed that it is not only about me, this was never only about me! From her simple note, I’ve learned the importance of sharing with others the way in which they impact you.
Life is like weaving delicate fabric. With each interaction, we have the ability to guide the hand in a way that builds on the pattern which in turn allows you to encourage others, to reinforce your bond with others and to recognize others. In doing so, I believe, that they too will know that it’s not only about them.
“Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St Catherine of Sienna