I’m on a plane to New York. Or in New York depending on what time you read this.
I received an amazing invitation to a global leadership conference where I am confident I will be the lowest ranking person there.
That invitation could have created a lot of emotions in me if you scrolled back through periods in my life. Terror. Angst. Panic. Insecurity. But this time around I only felt one: Excitement. Well, excitement and gratitude truth be told.
I mentioned this on Thursday and will write about it more tomorrow on Leadership Tuesday (and maybe I’ll write about every week for the rest of my life if I think it will make a difference), but women (and men, but you all know I write for women here) can create comparisons and as a result of those come conflict or community.
For example, I could see another mom and find out she has triplets too. We create community because of shared experiences. Or I find out she has triplets and makes all her own organic grown dinners and teaches them concert piano and I create conflict because I feel insecure. I snidely comment to other moms, “well of course she grows her own tomatoes, she lives in the middle of nowhere and has nothing else to do.” (This is all imaginary. I’ve never met a triplet mom who grows organic food. If you are a triplet mom who grows organic food, you rock. Hat’s off to you. Can I buy some of your produce? I have a black thumb.)
Or on the other hand, my friend sees someone else working on an emerging technology in the energy industry. They create community because of shared experiences. Or she finds out the other woman is getting paid more and is better recognized at her company, and she creates conflict because she feels undervalued. She snidely remarks at an industry lunch, “Well la-de-da, I figured that out a month ago. And I’m running the non-profit fundraiser and am training for a half marathon, so I don’t know why everyone thinks she’s so great.”
Do you know this woman? Have you been this woman?
I have said it before and will say it again, women rock! Women are the best cheerleaders to have ever walked the planet. I have never been encouraged by a man, even my dad or my husband, in the way a best friend has cheered me on. And that’s not to say both haven’t been wholeheartedly supportive, but women have a way of understanding and using a lot more words to urge you on in achieving your biggest goals! I love women.
Women also wound. Sometimes unintentionally, but sometimes intentionally. It can come from a variety of sources – deep insecurity, long struggles with competition, the need to justify a situation, and on and on. I’m no psychologist and there’s a truckload of books on this topic, so I won’t bore you with the list or the reasons.
This is why we need to be intentional with our thoughts before ever being faced with a situation. I am going into this conference excited. I know that I will be far less accomplished or famous than most attendees, but that fills me with delight instead of envy. I have no idea why God opened the door for me to interface with such bright, successful women, but He has. And I’m going to go running through that door. I am not worried about how I’ll stack up. I’m not concerned that I’ll lose the competition. Instead, I’m wide-eyed at the idea of all I will learn. I can’t wait to hear what folks are researching or studying or what the political and economic climate means for women and opportunity.
I don’t have to worry about brushing off my resume to prove my worth to be there. I already know my worth. God’s been incredibly clear with me on that one. So I have nothing to prove. And everything to learn. I hope to find opportunities for community. Common ground and shared experiences. I hope to laugh and learn and lead better at the end of it all. But most of all, I plan to let comparisons be what they may and choose community over conflict.
Start spreading the news. I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York!
Photo credit: The Examiner