Normally I’m rather wordless on Wednesday, but yesterday I found myself in the presence of wisdom that I’d really like to share.
Unaccountably, I found myself at the opening address of the Professional Businesswomen of California (PBWC) conference. Are you wondering how this happened? Are you wondering if I was the only poet in the house? All I can say is: crazy s#$t happens in California. And yes.
(Okay, actually a dear friend of mine was on a panel at the conference, so I went up to the city the night before, we had dinner, then yesterday went to the conference).
Anyway, one of the speakers was Rep. Jackie Speier who founded PBWC, and who has devoted her life to seeking equality for women, consequences for non-payment of child support, an end to sexual assault and harrassment, and other worthy causes. Then two women from different fields — Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey (National Geographic Fellow) and Charlotte Beers (advertising guru) — spoke together about what they’ve learned from their work life journeys. The keynote speaker was Arianna Huffington, who needs no introduction.
Partway through the speeches, I realized bits of wisdom were going to get by me if I didn’t write them down. I grabbed some paper and started jotting notes. Here’s what I’ve got for you today:
Wisdom from Jackie Speier:
- Research shows that success correlates more with confidence than with competence, and that men have more confidence than women. It shows taht men tend to over-estimate their skills and abilities, while women tend to under-estimate theirs. Researchers call this “honest overconfidence” on the part of men (Perhaps this is why women writers don’t always submit like a man?). Jackie says: Women, be more confident!
- Research shows that involving women in positions of leadership and decision-making improves the bottom line.
- Make room. Make room in your life for what’s important to you and what energizes you.
- Be authentic.
- (here come’s my personal favorite) Life should not be a journey with the goal of arriving in a perfectly preserved body!
Wisdom from Elizabeth Lindsey and Charlotte Beers:
- Burn modest. (Meaning burn that word, do not be modest about your genuine worth and achievements).
- Keep your own scorecard (Meaning don’t worry about the scorecard others keep for you, or that the world keeps for you).
- The way to thrive in a storm is to transform.
- Be a wayfinder.
- Navigation means standing in your own power.
- Shed other people’s ideas about you. Claim your own, true self-image.
- Pay attention to your energy. Do the things that energize you even if they’re contrary to what others want you to do.
- You can only see in another that which exists in yourself.
Wisdom from Arianna Huffington and her most recent book Thrive:
- The third women’s movement will be to change the way the world works, because it’s not working the way it is.
- Burnout is becoming the disease of our civilization.
- We are drowning in data and starved for wisdom.
- Sleep is a miracle drug. Try getting 30 minutes more sleep each night and see what happens.
- Do not begin your day by looking at your smart phone. Begin it with one minute of deep breathing and intentionality.
- Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.
- Quoting Rumi: “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.”
- Quoting Carrie Fischer: “Resentment is a poison that you drink thinking the other person is going to die.”
- Quoting The Onion (and can we just all pause for a moment of appreciation for a woman who will quote both Rumi and The Onion in the same talk): “World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100%.”
Her main message was that we all need to take better care of ourselves, and that power and money are not the only two metrics upon which to measure success, although those are the metrics our current society uses.
I hope a few of these tidbits of wisdom resonate with you today.