Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of taking a Women in Leadership course to fulfill my elective requirements for my master's degree with the beautiful Cari Guittard. (Yes, like Guittard Chocolates). And let me tell you, it was AMAZING! Prior to the course, I assumed it was going to be a course discussing the many women leaders that are global influences and a lot of theoretical regurgitation for an entire weekend. I was interested, but at the same time I was unsure what I was getting myself into.
I WAS UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY WRONG!
To begin the course, Cari shared with us the article "Why Women Can't Have It All" written by Anne-Marie Slaughter. This article talks a lot of different subjects regarding women in leadership roles, especially in corporate America, but the one that stuck out and resonated completely with me was,
"Women can have it all, just not at once."
I walked away from this article thinking, "That makes sense, but why not?" This question was soon to be answered. Cari eloquently intrigued all of our minds with various guest speakers that shared so many personal stories and answered our questions that kept the conversation flowing. These different women had wide forms of experience ranging from running start-ups and working at Fortune 500 companies to ordinary everyday women that had recently been sitting in our seats. Each one had her own unique life and share how they navigated through the working world as the woman feating different adversities, maintaining their ground and developing as leaders along the way.
What stuck out to me most was that all these women had one thing in common. They never let anything stop them because they were women. They did not sacrifice their integrity, their priorities, nor their womanhood to get to where they were. Yes, there were mistakes, but they remembered to stay true to themselves. The two speakers that stuck out to me most, Stephanie and Hillary, brought their humanity to the podium. Very down to earth. No real agenda and just let us into their personal lives. Yes, they did answer questions about their jobs and what they were doing professionally, but it struck me because at the end of the day, they were dedicated to being happy with themselves. Never sacrificing their priorities.
From these discussions and readings, I found that there were 4 main lessons to remember from this course.
First and foremost.. YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL. (Sometimes, not all at once) It depends on what you define as all. - Ask yourself, "What are my priorities? What's really important at the end of the day? What is it I define as my all?"
Secondly, NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR INTEGRITY OR YOUR PRIORITIES. Otherwise, you won't be happy.
Thirdly, STOP TRYING TO BE A MAN.. especially in the working world. It doesn't matter what people think of you. BE TRUE TO YOU. And if they can't except you, that's their problem.
And Lastly, LEADERSHIP HAPPENS IN MOMENTS. Nobody leads all the time.
Remember to feed your brain, feed your mind, and to feed your soul. Stop saying, "I'm sorry, but and I'm just." Stand proudly and tall. Walk with authenticity and confidence in your chest..
And if you ever find yourself flustered. Go to the bathroom.. Set your watch for 5 mins.. and freak out. 5 mins. Nothing more, nothing less. Then handle your business.
And always, always remember to take time to reflect.