Discovering Y-O-U

Learn how to hone your power and strengths within

“You must take risks—everyday and every hour,” asserts Audrey Smaltz, founder and CEO of The Ground Crew, in the Entrepreneurs Masters Class session. Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home made it even simpler: “What is a part of failure and risks?” She asked. “Resilience.”

No matter the session or keynote I sat in on yesterday, the theme stayed the same: YOU (which was fitting since it was Valentine’s Day!). Be it your confidence, choices, competency, or commitment, what you do and how you do it determines who you are and where you are going (or perhaps not going). And like it or not (or believe it or not), you are in control of you. “You can consult all the people you want,” says Tina Wells, founder and CEO of Buzz Marketing Group. “But the decision is all yours.” And that goes for anything.

On yesterday, the first full day of the 2008 Women of Power Summit (WPS) kicked off the with a rousing challenge from multi-façade entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson for each of us to play some type of role in solving the challenges of today (big or small), rather than allow them as well as the past issues to hold us back. “Live in the light,” urges Johnson, who adds that as we gather to both follow and lead, we build upon the sacrifices of women before us. With that said, many of the speakers throughout the day urged attendees to be more cognizant in the workplace and also the world we live in. The goal is to make both a place to joyfully experience on a daily basis. But how do you do that? For starters, the panelists stressed not only going above and beyond but thinking on a higher level as well; make decisions that highlight that you are in sync with your surroundings. “Think about that thing that will distinguish you from the pack,” says Joyce Roche, President and CEO of Girls Inc., who along with Shirley Bridges, Chief Information Officer/President & CEO of Delta Airlines/Delta Technology of Delta; and Debra Sandler, Worldwide President for McNeil Nutritionals LLC, discussed the importance of devising a playbook (knowing what you are going to do based on the circumstances that are presented). “Everything I’ve done has been me being able to step into an uncomfortable place,” says Roche, who created a playbook that welcomes risks. “You’ve got to be willing to step outside of who you are.’”

But what if you don’t know who you are just yet? Although Roche says that those not knowing should take the time to do a self-assessment, she stresses that this inner comfort could very well be already there. Of course, discovering it means looking inside of Y-O-U. “It’s not so much that we don’t have it, but that we discount ourselves, we discount our ability, we discount what we bring to the party,” she says. “It’s building up that confidence and that’s something that we as women need to learn how to get

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