Last week, I was blessed to be honored as one of the 25 Most Influential African-American Women in Cleveland by Heineken. What a great way to end the year! I was so inspired by my fellow honorees and their amazing stories. In addition to having the pleasure of spending the evening in the company of these amazing women, I was reminded of three very important things.
1. Always be prepared.
Since my husband happened to be hosting the awards ceremony (he’s a radio personality), I got a heads up that we would just be accepting the award and taking photos—no speeches. Then the ceremony starts and he says we can say a few words if we would like—no pressure! I was kicking myself for not having prepared a few words just in case. As an event planner, I know better than anyone that events are fluid and don’t always go as planned. I am the queen of carrying a plan b in my back pocket for my clients, but when the time came for me personally, I was not prepared. It’s not like it was a keynote or anything, so I winged it and it was fine. Then of course, I wrote the perfect speech in my head on my way home from the event!
2. You deserve it.
Despite all of my accomplishments, often times I still feel like I’m not worthy. Like I’m not a “real” entrepreneur and I’m going to be outed for the fake that I am at any minute. There’s actually a name for it—Imposter Syndrome. These feelings don’t always last for long, but when they are present they can be motivating or paralyzing. When I feel paralyzed, I remember that it’s normal to feel self-doubt every now and then. I try to step outside of myself and see myself they way others see me. I review my accomplishments in life thus far—personally and professional—and focus on what I’ve done right, rather than what I have yet to achieve. And when I am blessed to receive an honor as I did last week, I whisper to myself, “You deserve it.”
3. You are not alone.
After hearing my fellow honorees share story after story about overcoming various financial, physical and emotional setbacks, I realize I am not alone. Rather than trying to always go it alone, I need to do a better job of utilizing my personal and professional networks as a source of support. I need to realize that while I am strong, asking for help does not make me weak. Leaning on my networks to express my fears, frustrations, successes and setbacks can be a great way to gain new perspectives.
Now to turn all of this inspiration into a plan of action as I begin to work on my goals for 2014 next week.
What were some valuable lessons you learned in 2013?