This week I attended the Women’s Success Form event presented by the Leadership Investment in Denver. For me, two of the sessions stood out from the rest – the keynote speech by Debra Benton author of ten books including The CEO Difference, and the breakout session with Tama Kieves author of This Time I Dance and Inspired and Unstoppable.
The key takeaway from Benton’s talk was to “expect acceptance” and give acceptance. In other words, always view yourself as an equal to the people you come into contact with throughout your life – not above or below anyone. If you walk into a situation with the idea that you are somehow not at the same level as the person with whom you are communicating, then they are less likely to view you as an equal. When you expect acceptance, no one can it away from you, nor can anyone give it to you. She also mentioned that asking questions when interacting with others is a great way to maintain their self-esteem and make it a positive experience for both parties. The other quote from Benton’s speech that stands out in my mind is: “it’s the risks that you don’t take that you regret.” Be ok with failing and falling down, without taking risks we can never grow.
Next I went to Kieves session about learning how to live and work from inspiration instead of fear. Kieves left her job as a high-powered attorney to write. She is now a successful author and publisher. I knew I was going to like the session as soon as she started us off with a five-minute meditation. Kieves talked about the fact that an inspired life is not linear and can’t be planned – you follow moment by moment to see where it’s going. She talked about fear and the desire for “security” that keeps many of us from pursuing our dreams. In reality, the safest thing you will ever do is what you love and are passionate about doing. It was a friend of hers who pointed out if she could be as successful as she was at doing something she didn’t love, just imagine how successful she could be at doing something she loved.
Kieves took us through a “mojo mastery” exercise during which we spent a few minutes thinking about the things that give us energy and the things that drain us. Then we talked with another attendee about what we desire and what “jazzes” us. She talked about the concept that what we focus on grows. We tend to start with inspiration, but then we talk ourselves down by being “practical” and reasonable. However, for our biggest dreams, we likely don’t know the steps and need to follow moment by moment. The good news is that nothing real can be threatened. Kieves states “Follow your calling. People will tell you it’s dangerous to walk out on the edge. But baby, it’s dangerous to stay in the middle. Find your true voice. You have a power in you that is not of this world.”
Kieves closed with this “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” I left the session inspired and with a renewed energy. I know it is fear of the unknown that has kept me from taking active steps towards my dream and passion. I have been stalled by the overwhelming to-do lists, and paralyzed by the idea that I need to plan out every detail before I can even start. The most valuable lesson that I took from Kieves is that I don’t need to worry so much about a defined plan and timeline – I just need to start and follow where my passion takes me.