I started my blog for several reasons; some of the main ones are: 1. I enjoy the process of writing as it helps me clarify my thoughts. 2. I tend to have realizations and learn lessons that I sometimes forget, so I hope my articles will serve as a reminder for myself. 3. The side benefit of all this is that if at least one of you finds them helpful, that is amazing!
I attended the Texas Conference for Women this week, and it has been amazing connecting with so many inspiring leaders and creating new connections. I was so inspired that I want to share a brief note with myself and all of you because I don't want to forget some of the lessons I learned.
1. Introduce yourself with your value (not your title)
This is so simple, and yet many of us don't do this. What is the value you bring and the outcome it creates? What's your mission statement that speaks about what you do and who you are aspiring to become? It may require some deep thinking, but once you get this down, it becomes a natural and powerful way to introduce yourself and let others know what you stand for.
2. Advocate for yourself
It is easier to advocate for others than for ourselves, and after attending several networking sessions over the last two days, most of us struggle with this daily. At the same I'm thinking - why is this so hard? It is nothing but common sense that nobody but us can be our best cheerleaders. Get to know yourself, learn your skills, understand the value you bring, and communicate your results and achievements. Because if you don't do this, who else should do it for you? Would you rather rely on someone else to do the job? Why should someone else advocate for you if you cannot do it?
3. Network, network, network
Networking is a skill, and like any other skill, the more you practice, the easier it gets. I have to admit that walking into the Austin Conference Center; I felt small butterflies in my stomach. This was my first in-person conference since COVID, and knowing that I didn't know anyone attending felt a bit strange. And just like anything else, you jump in, say hi to someone, ask a question or two, and the conversation starts flowing. Then you meet some people, and after 20-minutes of conversing and sharing your experiences, you realize how interesting the person is and how much more you would like to learn about them and their life. Creating time for networking is very important, and it can certainly be a challenge with our busy schedules. I have a few strategies I plan to experiment with that would allow me to make this a more sustained habit. If you have a strategy that works well for you, please feel free to comment and share.
Takeaways I don't want to forget:
1. "We plan too much! Dive in, start doing things that interest you, and be adaptable." José Andrés
2. "Use your voice even when it shakes." Brené Brown
3. The Power of Regret. "Regret can clarify what we value." Daniel Pink
4. I recognized that I have some misconceptions about Power. This is the next topic I will be diving into. The session by Julie Battilana was very thought-provoking.
5. "Don't apologize for winning!" Tabitha Brown
6. "Speak up early." Susan Cain
7. "We need more women's stories of all kinds." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
8. Also from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 'Listen in silence. Many people listen because they wait for someone to stop talking so they can jump in and speak, but they don't actually take the time to truly listen and take in what one has to say.'
9. "Trust is nuanced." Tamara Fields
There is so much to unpack with each of the above points. I may dive into some of these later. In the meantime, consider them as parking lot topics. If you are interested in unpacking any of these, you can use this article as an invitation to reach out.