I had the honor of attending the Seattle Ignited Women Project event last weekend.
An evening of conversation and connection among some pretty awesome women, left me feeling all kinds of inspired and ignited.
How so? Well it’s really not because of anything groundbreaking on ways to live a better life or what not. Instead it’s because while standing in a room full of strangers (I knew absolutely no one), that I realized that this city, was my new home and I had the rare opportunity to recreate myself, start afresh, make as much of a mark on my community as possible and grow in new ways.
Not many people have that kind of opportunity, but I did. Wow! Epiphany!
LET GO OF THE PAST
A little backstory and why this is even relevant:
For the past two years I’ve been mourning my former life, and all that I left behind when I moved to the USA with my husband. As exciting as it had sounded initially, starting over turned out to be so much harder on me emotionally and mentally. I simply could not find my bearings and that feeling of not knowing what to create, being unknown and alone (referring to making friends), losing relevance and no one caring about it, made a mess out of me.
And it took standing in that room amongst people I had no idea how to strike up a conversation with, for my subconscious to finally smack me and say “Holy shit, I get it now!” *Insert slap forehead emoji here*
With one foot still stuck in my past life, no wonder I felt stuck, doubted so many of my ideas and fell victim to the comparison game. Despite all my talk of growth and embracing the person I was becoming and blah blah, this aha moment cried “bullshit!”
STEP OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
So in a city that’s still much of a strange place to me as I am a stranger to it, my attendance at this event was me stepping out of my comfort zone and throwing my own ‘welcome’ party.
Color me surprised that not only did I ‘get what I went for’, but I didn’t leave as the complete stranger I went to the event as. Striking up conversation wasn’t hard, and as a result met some phenomenal women who are doing awesome work in their communities as entrepreneurs, activists, truth speakers, thought leaders and change makers.
Watching and listening to all the women in the room relate to the struggles, fears, hopes and ideas of not just of the keynote speakers and panelists but each other, felt nothing short of uplifting.
Knowing that these women (at the top of their fields and one time or another), shared similar journeys to us regular folks, yet still have been able to define their platforms and use them to champion causes affecting us as women, was reassuring.
That no one has their shit together, and we’re all trying to find our place (some having started over too) and make the most of our time on earth.
The burden becomes slighter when we acknowledge that there is more than enough space for us all, and we can change more than we think when we work together and in support of each other.
As cliche as it that sounds, I’m certain many of us came to that same realization, or at least were reminded of it that evening, and then we all breathed a collective sigh of “whew! Thank God I’m not alone”.
LESSONS IN EMPOWERMENT
Beyond that, I couldn’t possibly recap every single piece of awesomeness shared if I tried. What I can say though are the four things that resonated deeply with me. While they may not be new, given the aha nature of my evening, were perfectly timed reminders.
OUR STORIES MATTER
When you are asked “what’s your story?” think about whether or not the tale you tell is the one you were handed or the one you’ve put your heart and soul into creating.
If you aren’t happy with the one’s that unfolding, know that you have the power to change it because it’s the one that will always matter.
YOU ARE ENOUGH
If you think that you need to be a certain size, or make a certain amount of money, or to dress a particular way to be loved, taken seriously or be successful, recognize that you don’t.
You are enough as you are. Never be afraid to take up space, ruffle feathers, go against the grain or love yourself in whatever shape, form or mindset that you currently are. The world will shift to accommodate you as you are.
Whether its invited or not, within or outside of yourself, feedback is inevitable. What we do with it will determine where we go.
If your knee jerk reaction is one of fight, or push back, take a moment to determine its root. Better yet, before you even react, acknowledge it – if its from outside say “thank you”, then sit with it. We often find if there is some truth to it [feedback], this sit down will be extremely uncomfortable, but eventually yield so much good stuff [growth].
BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
Trying to please anyone other than yourself will make for an unhappy an stressful existence. You accomplish nothing and get nowhere. So turn than focus away from being all things to all people, and honor who you are by showing up for yourself, as you are EVERY DAMN DAY.
Simply put, “do you booboo!”
This is where I realized I had an opportunity to either move forward or stay stuck. My fresh start doesn’t mean I’ve failed in life. Rather it’s the rare chance to do whatever the hell I want to do and be happy about it. Which do you think I was going to take? Opportunity of course!