I spent a Thursday surrounded by 10,000 powerful, inspirational women at the MA Conference for Women. Stories of strength, innovation, and most of all, girl power made it a day I'd recommend to any woman looking for a little inspiration!
Several themes stood out: confidence, self-reliance, and resiliency. These successful, badass women looked at the world and the challenges they faced and said, "I can do this." Here are my top 5 most inspiring quotes from the day:
It's not enough to change the status quo; to do so, we must also change ourselves. We get so caught up in what we don't know that we don't think about what we can do. Ingrid Jacobs, chief diversity officer from Raytheon, made the point that sometimes, those fancy VPs or SMEs don't have a strategy, so you might as well give it a shot. Even though it's something you've never done before, you need to do it to move to the next step. Why not you? (And if you haven't ever read anything from Levo League, I would suggest poking around!)
It's not the external environment that defines your success, but your attitude each day that makes a difference. What ways are you approaching the work you do every day? Everyone makes mistakes, but successful people find joy in learning from and overcoming those mistakes. It's all a matter of perspective.
I love how Adams flipped this platitude around. She reminded us, "Most of us don't know what we're doing most of the time." Asking for help from others is not only ok, it's important, because we risk missing out on alternate perspectives that take our ideas from good to great.
One thing is clear about Sophia Amoruso: she doesn't take sh*t from anybody. She emphasized relying on yourself to get things done. Just like how there's no Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet, there's no mentor that can magically make you successful. When it comes to your ideas, no matter how radical or crazy they might seem, they might also be brilliant--because they're yours. Most of all, she encouraged all of us to "own it," whatever "it" may be.
This quote summarizes one of the themes of the conference for me, which is that doubt alone can't stop you from moving forward. Sharing the story of founding Kiva and the incredible success of entrepreneurs across the developing world, Jackley reminded us that it takes faith in your vision of the future, whatever it may be, to make change. We can't let reality be what stops us from moving forward because we're in the process of creating a new reality.
Seeing role models as real people having real conversations inspired me the most. It can be intimidating to look at someone who's been doing "this" for 30 years and think, "How can I get there?" The idea that you don't need to know all of the answers, and that there is always a way forward, will stick with me for 2016.
What a great day and already saving the date for next year!