Something to Think About

Trusting your instincts, branding your best

If yesterday was about awe, today was about reflection. In our first full day of sessions, the speakers offered some thought-provoking ideas, and I left every session with some little nugget that touched a nerve and that I knew I’d have to come back to.

The weather was unexpected chilly, but the mood was still warm as we greeted each other-most of us wearing red for Valentine’s Day. Some of the questions posed throughout the day were so profound I don’t have answers for them yet. After all, “Who are you?” is not the kind of thing you respond to off the top of your head. And most of what we were being challenged to do boiled down, to me, to just that: to do some real soul searching, figure out who we are, what our passion is, and how to use it as a “catalyst for good,” as Sheila Johnson said.

In the keynote luncheon, playwright Anna Deavere Smith told us to love ourselves by trusting what we believe in-usually “the simplest things taught to us when we were young by those who love us.” Many of the women nodded in agreement, with some saying aloud that they were taught what’s important by Mom. But what are those formative lessons for me? Nothing immediately came to mind.

Then, in a session on branding yourself, one of the panelists suggested we ask those who work with us what they think of when our name comes up. It reminded me of my favorite question to ask applicants when I’m interviewing to fill a position, “How would your co-workers describe your work personality.” It gets to the heart of what you can expect to get from them. But I’d never, before yesterday, thought to answer that question about myself.

Everywhere I went here at the resort I overheard snippets of conversations between other attendees trying to process what they were experiencing (like the two women in line in the bathroom marveling over Anucha Brown Sanders’ integrity during her four-year ordeal with Madison Square Garden). Clearly I’m not the only one starting to think.

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