I kicked-off my year of truth with a high impact move by meeting with Billy Dexter, Partner with Heidrick and Struggles and fellow Teen Living Programs executive board member. Billy agreed to meet with me and provide feedback on my ability to convey my point of view, create authentic connections and establish credibility. His feedback was insightful and galvanizing. Here are the highlights of the feedback I received from Billy’ Dexter.
- Be in the moment. Don’t think so far ahead that you miss the opportunities in front of you. Be fully present and open to opportunities.
- Listen for the silence. Pay attention to what is not being said. That may be more important that what is actually being verbalized.
- Practice introspection. Come to the table knowing your strengths, motivations and weaknesses.
- Embrace your success. Own your accomplishments. Toot your own horn and be confident in sharing your achievements.
- Don’t wait for the accolades. You may not be in a supportive environment. Don’t let that stop your forward momentum. Plot your course forward and keep moving.
- Speak with authority and give examples. Once you are in the room, recognize that you belong there. Women often approach meetings and presentations as if they’re being tested. When you feel confident and comfortable, it’s infectious.
- Don’t play to your competition. Play above it. Keep an eye on where you are but focus on where you want to be. Plot your path to success with the help of a mentor, and if possible, a sponsor.
- Most of us do not look like our stories. For many, perception is reality. Don’t leave people to their assumptions. Tell them who you are and what you stand for.
- Be aware of your body language. If your speech and body language are sending conflicting messages, your body language typically wins out in the message people believe you are communicating.
The last point presents the greatest challenge for me. For years I have shunned the idea that I must share my personal self. Even worse, I was also expected to be comfortable and confident while doing this. This entire process reeked of vulnerability to me and I wanted nothing to do with it. If given the choice between speaking uncomfortable personal truths and being companionably silent, I’ve chosen silence more often than not. I don’t hesitate to speak up for others but I am typically not my own biggest champion. Well, not any longer.
A couple of days after the meeting with Billy, I received an email titled The Hustle for Worthiness. My curiosity would never allow me to bypass such an enticing email. It turned out to be a promotion for Dr. Brene Brown’s last video lecture.
According to Dr. Brown, “our lives are a collection of stories – truths about who we are, what we believe, what we come from, how we struggle, and how we are strong. When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness – the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging.
If we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and have to hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness lives inside of our story. It’s time to walk into our experiences and to start living and loving with our whole hearts.”
I am weaving my own path to enlightenment as a leader, blogger, mentor and non-profit champion. Want to share your experience and point of view? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categories: Professional Development