Women in Business – Lessons I Learned

National Women's DayIn honor of National Women’s Day, I’d like to share my experience at Kent State’s “Women in Business” conference that myself and two coworkers attended yesterday.  At Fathom, we are very lucky to be given the opportunity to attend conferences to further our learning experiences, industry knowledge and to grow, both personally and professionally. If you’re one of those people who question the value of conferences or feel they bring nothing new to your world, please read on!

Heading into this conference, I must admit I was skeptical.  Being a woman in business, I was wondering what else I could possibly learn that I didn’t already know.  From the struggles women used to face to the opportunities we have today, I was pretty sure I’d already heard it all.  But boy was I wrong!  Leaving the conference, I was filled with an energy, passion and desire for the little things in life.  These feelings were brought out by the inspiring women who told their stories, shared their successes and provided insight into the business world and beyond.

The main point most of these successful business women made was that life is not about being successful at business – it’s about finding the place where your passion and the world’s needs collide. When you’re passionate about your profession (or anything for that matter), you can and will do great things.  The same is true for your company – if you can find something that differentiates you from your competitors and turn that into a value proposition that speaks to the needs of your customers, you’ll find a recipe for long term success.

Another key takeaway was to eliminate the negative influences in your life.  Whether it’s on a personal level with your friends, or a professional level with fellow employees, it’s important that you surround yourself with positive people and inspire others around you to be positive.  Positive people will catapult you (and your company) forward.

The keynote speaker, New York Times Best Selling author Regina Brett, was perhaps the most inspiring of all women at the conference.  Throughout her life, Regina experienced struggles – as a single mother who battled breast cancer, she was forced to accept truths about life that helped her overcome personal and professional obstacles.   Her truths were outlined in a renowned column titled “50 Life Lessons”.  They were also included in the book “Be the Miracle – 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible”.  The entire “50 Life Lessons” article can be read here, but a few key thoughts that can be applied to both your personal and professional life are below:

  • When in doubt, take the next small step
  • Over-prepare, then go with the flow
  • No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed and show up
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get
  • Get busy on the possible
  • We all do the same things – it’s how we do them that make a difference
  • Sometimes it’s enough to make one person happy
  • Get in the game
  • Aim higher
  • We aren’t meant to live forever – create something that will

In addition to these points above, Regina also mentioned a powerful quote that is now hanging above my desk.  This quote is one by Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, and begs the question –    “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to be doing what I’m doing today?”.  This quote is thought provoking and speaks to all who truly are passionate about their jobs, companies and professional futures.  If you or your company are not on the path you always envisioned, don’t be afraid to take the broken path to where you want to be.  You might stumble along the way, but taking one small step in the right direction is all you need to start achieving your goals.

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