“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” ~Madeleine Albright
Amidst all the Royal Wedding madness and after only 2 hours of sleep, last Friday I rallied up the energy to attend the South Bay Conference for Women presented by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business. The conference theme this year was “Inspiration / Reinvention” and it definitely inspired me in many ways. Besides being surrounded by many successful, empowering and motivating women in business & enjoying a little bit of retail therapy, there was an incredible line-up of mentors and speakers.
Some of these women included:
- Mary Strong – host of, Fox Sports Net show, Dig and the Directv Sports Mix and owner of the Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach
- Kristina Ripatti Pearce – ex-LAPD officer who was shot and now living as a paraplegic
- Lisa Napoli – author of Radio Shangri-LA & Bhutan adventurer
- Portia Cohen – Former Mayor and Council Member for the City of Manhattan Beach
In addition, there was a panel of unique women offering their views on career, money, life & happiness. These established women included:
- Bonnie Reiss – Former Secretary of Education, under Governor Schwarzenegger
- Anne Litt – hostess & DJ of KCRW’s popular weekend afternoon music program
- Madelyn Hammond – ex-CMO at Variety & currently owner of a marketing and branding firm specializing in entertainment and media
Listening to the advice and stories of these strong empowered women really hit home for me as I embark on my journey to “reinvent” my life. I thought I’d share my top 5 takeaways & lessons learned from the event in hopes that I can help spread their message and inspire you to reinvent and push yourself to achieve your goals & happiness.
#5 ~ Positive Psychology & GNH
Positive psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. This field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. [source: UPenn] In Bhutan, they gauge their economy not by GDP, but by GNH (a.k.a. Gross National Happiness) because this is the true indicator of the social and psychological well-being of populations. If we think positively, our quality of life will improve.
Now this sounds cheesy, but a good piece of advice is to start a “gratitude journal,” where each night before you go to bed you write down 3 good things that happened in your day. Even if you had the crappiest day, find good things even if they’re minor, like you caught green lights to work or the Starbucks barista made you smile. These 3 minor good things will start to add up until you have a journal filled with all the good things in your life.
#4 ~ F.E.A.R = False Expectations Appearing Real
There are 2 types of people in this world: fear-based and love-based. Fear-based people worry and ask themselves questions like “Am I qualified for this job? What will people think if I leave my career and accept a lower paying job? Why am I not popular? Am I not pretty enough?” etc…
Most of society is raised to be fear-based. From an early age we are taught to please, win approval, fight to belong, hide our weaknesses and compete to be the best. However, how we react toward a situation, either fear-based or love-based, will have two different affects on reality. What we need to accept is that we’re not good at everything. We should focus our energy toward doing what we love because working hard at what you most want to do makes working toward a goal a lot more sweeter and encouraging.
Ironically, during the financial crisis the people who were most unhappy were those who stayed in their jobs out of fear vs. those who had lost their jobs. These people still in their jobs often feared the instability of being unemployed, while the people who were unemployed had the freedom to explore new interests and perhaps become entrepreneurial or pursue one of their passions. Fear is the reason stopping many from achieving happiness.
Friends keep asking me, “Why would you leave real estate for wedding planning? Why did you waste your time and money on an MBA if you’re not going to get a ‘MBA-type’ job?” etc. The questions are endless and frustrating because what they don’t understand is that what I love and what makes me happy isn’t sitting in a corporate job (although the salary cushion was nice), it is helping others plan memorable, influential events. The uncertainty of starting a company is scary; however, if I lived fear-based, my love for event planning would never come to fruition and I would never be happy. Could the same be true for you?
#3 ~ Trust Your Intuition
Despite the speakers’ impressive credentials, advanced education and successful careers, the one common trend linking these women was their belief in themselves to trust their intuition and gut feelings. Having confidence from within and the ability to escape all the noise and listen internally has helped them make successful decisions and fulfill happiness. In a society where we micro-analyze and micromanage every situation and scenario, stepping back and listening to your gut will give you the confidence to succeed.
#2 ~ Value Yourself
Many women are afraid to ask for more money. When a man wants a raise he demands it and takes pride and ownership of his work. Women, on the other hand, have the tendency to distribute praise and claim “it was a team/group effort” instead of owning up to an individual accomplishment. In many businesses, whether you own your own company or your work for a large corporation, knowing your worth and being confident in your value is important in establishing financial success.
Anne Litt told a story where she was planning to decline a job; so she tested her limits and demanded twice the pay (her true value)… and the client accepted! Time and experience can be more valuable than a laundry list of degrees and credentials. Be confident and take ownership of your work. If people do not respect your worth or try to undercut your value, then maybe they are not a good fit. Know that it is okay to walk away or say no.
#1 ~ No Excuses
No matter what the circumstance, challenge or adversity, if you believe in or want something, there are no excuses for why you can’t attain that goal.
I realize that I make many excuses on a daily basis about why I didn’t go to the gym, why I didn’t call someone back, why I didn’t cook, but the bottom line is if you are really passionate and motivated, there are no excuses for anything. For Kristina Ripatti, her passion for justice and fitness persevered even though a gunshot to the spine stole her ability to walk again. This life changing event did not stop her from hand-biking across America, surfing or being a mother.
We face challenges daily. Whether they are big or small, persistence, a strong work ethic, passion and belief in yourself will help you can overcome and accomplish anything.