In celebration of the NAVC’s new We LEAD empowerment program for women professionals (NAVC.com/WeLEAD) that will be introduced at the 2015 NAVC Conference, I want to kick start the conversation with some provocative questions:
- What kind of boss, partner, colleague, parent, and/or friend are you known for being?
- If your pets could talk, how would they describe you?
- Are you satisfied with who you are?
We are all on a journey to define ourselves and influence how people perceive us, and we strive to be happy and make those around us happy. Unfortunately, we don’t become wise, happy, or respected by chance.
By considering “who you want to be,” you begin to subconsciously make decisions that support this quest. But what makes us fall short during this journey? It’s easy to forget that our overall passionate resolution to succeed is more important than any one factor in achieving our goals.
WE MUST HELP OURSELVES
We all know people who are famous for coming up with excuses for failure to achieve a goal, and it often is easier to feel powerless and be a “victim” of our circumstances.
There is a Hindu proverb that says, “He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor.” We must stay disciplined and persevere. Being who you want to become does not happen overnight. It takes vigilance and constant objective assessment of your progress. You must commit to striving forward, with courage, for your personal and professional growth.
However, change is difficult. Some of us change our ways when we see the light, others only when they feel the heat. Which one are you?
STEPS TO A BETTER YOU
Regardless of the path you choose, or when you choose to take it, here are some tips that keep me on the path to who I want to be:
1. Own your life. Regardless of your situation, be in charge of your own destiny. Who better to do what’s best for you? Try not to get derailed by others or circumstances.
2. Lean in. Be known for taking a big bite of life instead of nibbling at the edges. After you know what you want, go for it. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, calls this leaning in.
3. Don’t take no for an answer and remove I can’t from your vocabulary. Mentally slap yourself if your evil twin starts the old passive aggressive, “Well, I hope it will work but it probably won’t.” That’s deadly thinking every time.
4. Identify one or more mentors. Are they passionate people…full of light and hope and fun to be around? Do you feel like Pooh bear’s Tigger after you spend time with them?
5. Gear up as if you are taking the last train from the station. An old saying states that, “The prospect of dying tends to focus the mind.” The secret is simple: if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re going to be right. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Get yourself a copy of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.
6. Don’t be afraid of setbacks. Even if they are numerous! It’s easy to get discouraged when our dreams are vivid but progress comes in baby steps. Upon examination, we may think we have failed at times when, in reality, we might just need to try another approach. Setbacks make you stronger and wiser.
7. Keep it simple. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Study the art of science and the science of art and remember that everything is associated with everything else.” Look for patterns, trends, and connections as you evaluate ways to succeed in both your personal and professional life.
8. Learn from your mistakes. There is a saying, “Insanity is continuing to do exactly the same thing and expecting a different result.” So be bold. Think of solutions that are different from actions you have taken before.
9. Don’t worry about what others think. Fear of what others think or how they will react stops many of our best ideas and intentions. My cousin, Catherine, has always exhibited great confidence. She approaches a crisis like it’s going to be a wonderful adventure. I’ve always thought “Isn’t it remarkable that she’s not afraid?” But she is no different than you or me. Sometimes she is afraid, and sometimes terrified. However, Catherine puts her fear in perspective and moves forward past her comfort level. So can we.
Don’t become known for letting life happen to you. Be courageous and bold. Strive for who you want to be…..not tomorrow, but today!
See you at Conference! Let’s lead each other to a better we.
—Charlotte Lacroix, NAVC President