What to Do When Your Plans Encounter a Pandemic

young woman pinning notes on a bulletin board to keep track of plans

Now that at least some of the shock of living in a global pandemic is diminishing, it may be time to ask: How do we pick up the pieces and start thinking creatively about next steps—or, perhaps, even how to re-invent ourselves in a new world?

But before even beginning to try to answer that, it may be helpful to recall Anne Lamott’s classic insight into the creative process.

In Bird by Bird, Lamott writes: “the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” There are no “good second drafts and terrific third drafts” for anyone, she says, without that first messy step.

That truth about creativity, like innovation, prompted us to talk recently with Mary Laura Philpott, Conference for Women speaker and bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink.

“Now, and moving forward with every passing week, we have to be even more creative because we’re not coasting on novelty anymore,” said Philpott, who has been compared to Nora Ephron. “We can’t coast on the excuses we had in the beginning, when there was a snow day-like feeling. We have to figure it out.”

If You Feel Blocked

But what if you feel like you don’t have it in you to create what comes next?

“What I always tell younger writers who ask me about how to overcome writer’s block is that there is no such thing. It’s a label we give to fear, when we are afraid of what we have to do or it is difficult,” says Philpott.

The same applies to innovation in business settings, she says. “There is no such thing as innovation block. There is fear. There is exhaustion. But we can do it.”

“I know many women in this audience are planners by nature and visionaries,” Philpott continued. “So many women at these conferences have told me what they were working on now, and what they were planning for five years from now.”

“I know it can be deeply demoralizing to someone who has that visionary tendency to hit an obstacle, and an obstacle that drags on a long time like this one. But we need to remember that time keeps moving forward. This is not life forever. This is life right now.”

Obviously, she added, we still have to focus on how to get through this moment. But don’t give up on your plan or vision in the process. “Save a little time every day to think about it.”


More from the May 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Transitions, Goals & Priorities, Innovation Tagged , |

Who Do You Want to Be When This Is Over?

Indian businesswoman thinking about the future

There’s a difference between being a go-getter and being gutsy, Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code, observes in her book, Brave Not Perfect.

“So many women stick to doing only the things at which they excel, rarely going beyond what makes them feel confident and comfortable,” she writes.

But what happens when we’re outside our comfort zones—either by choice or by circumstances, such as the challenging ones we now find ourselves in?

That’s where being brave comes in. And, that’s why we thought it a good time to catch up with Reshma, a bravery expert, and hear how she is navigating these times at home with her husband, eight-week-old baby and five-year-old son with whom she’s making time to master TikTok dances. One of several things that she said is helping her is asking the question: “Who do you want to be when this is over?” Read the interview here.

In this month’s episode of “Women Amplified,” Reshma also joins another amazing woman, Laysha Ward, executive vice president and chief external engagement officer for Target, for a dynamic conversation about why we need to give up on perfectionism to find our courage. Tune in here.

Finally, in case you missed it, here are some new resources and initiative we launched last month:

Stay strong, friends! And, if you found this helpful, please share it with someone.


More from the May 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Transitions, Goals & Priorities Tagged , , |

5 Ways to Create the Career You Truly Want

Erica Williams Simon

At 27, Erica Williams Simon came to an important recognition. She was “successful” but not happy.

“So, I did what we are never supposed to do—especially as women, especially as black women: We’re never supposed to quit. You don’t quit. Well yes, you do and I did,” she recently said.

What she discovered in the time of self-exploration that followed was that many cultural and generational narratives had shaped her idea of what it means to be successful that had nothing to do with what she actually wanted out of life.

Now, the woman who had been listed on several “30 under 30” lists as a rising political star and TV commentator, is on a mission to help others understand the cultural stories that shape their lives and create new ones that will lead them to the life they actually want.

The author of the 2019 book, You Deserve the Truth, Erica shared these five insights with the Conference for Women: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Career Choices, Transitions, Goals & Priorities Tagged , , |

Here’s How to Be Happier Now

Nataly Kogan

“So many people are so stressed out and so overwhelmed that they can’t even, and I say this from personal experience, they cannot even allow themselves to pause and recognize that they’re running at an unacceptable pace.”

Scroll down and click Play to listen in your browser. Or subscribe to Women Amplified wherever you get your podcasts, and take advantage of Conference for Women speakers year-round!

 

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Posted in Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Podcasts Tagged , , |

The Happy Perfectionist: Managing the Trap | 2019 Session

Are you thorough, efficient and conscientious about every detail of life both at home and work? Do you set high goals and work hard to achieve them? Welcome to the Type A Club! You have many positive traits that are great for impressing the boss. But, as you probably know, they can also impede your personal happiness and sense of self-worth. The good news is there are many tricks and tips that can help us perfectionists find more contentment, even amid imperfection. Join this session to learn strategies for building resilience when times get tough so you can be happier without having to do everything right.

Read More

Posted in Life Balance, Health & Wellness, Goals & Priorities, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , |

Proven Ways to Pioneer Equity and Diversity

Group of colleagues meeting

You might want to take a deep breath before you take this in:

  • At the rate we’re going, it will take another 202 years for women to be paid as much as men, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • The percent of women CEOs on the Fortune 500 list is still less than 7 percent—despite the fact that women represent 47 percent of the workforce.
  • And, it’s all worse for women of color (despite last month’s report that the majority of Americans now entering the work force are people of color, primarily women).

Now for the good news! Research is revealing what works—and what doesn’t—in efforts to give all women a fair shot at career advancement; and Lori Nishiura Mackenzie of Stanford University Clayman Institute for Gender Research knows what they are. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership Tagged , , , , , |

How to Master the Tiny Habits That Will Help You Reach Your Potential

One step at a time

When he was a teenager, James Clear got hit in the face with a bat during a baseball game. It took surgery and nearly nine months for him to be able to work on regaining basic functions, like walking in a straight line. And even then, he could only focus on developing one tiny new habit a time. But together, these tiny habits turned out to make a difference—big enough that, in college, he was named an Academic all-American.

Luckily for us, Clear also went on to be an expert in how tiny habits can help us reach our potential—insights he compiled in 2018 New York Times best-selling book, Atomic Habits and is sharing with the Conferences for Women.*

“Excellence is not really about making radical changes,” he says. “It’s about accruing small improvements over time and committing to this philosophy of continuous improvement.” Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership Tagged , |

‘The 4 Pledges That Have Helped Me Find Balance’

Dipti VachaniBy Dipti Vachani, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Automotive and Embedded Line of Business, Arm

Several years ago, at bedtime one night, I was cuddling with one of my daughters when she said something that broke my heart. “Mom,” she said, “I think I am ugly.” She was just seven at the time. 

I was working then as a general manager at Texas Instruments, running a multi-national business, and it was a rare night that I was home. I had been traveling internationally, quite extensively, leaving my kids with my very loving and committed husband. I was running myself into the ground traveling multiple weeks in a row, stressed out and sleep deprived from the multiple time zones.

And now I was failing at my most important job: teaching my children self-confidence, self-respect and self-reliance. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership Tagged , |

The Mindset That Wins: Strategies of an Elite Champion Runner

Desiree LindenIf anyone knows persistence and how to stay motivated, it’s Desiree Linden, last year’s winner of the Boston Marathon in the women’s category and the first American to win in 33 years.

Here’s a peek into Linden’s winning mindset.

It starts with a no-regrets attitude.

Linden had success as a college athlete, but she wasn’t one of those stars that everyone was watching. Still, she decided to pursue her dream of going pro.

“For me, it was worth the risk of answering that ‘what if’ question,” Linden explains. “I felt like I had the ability, and if I just put in a little bit more time, maybe I could do something special. There were no guarantees that I could even make a living, but I didn’t want to look back in 10 years and go, ‘What if?’” Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Embrace the Unknown, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement Tagged , |

Cut the Complexity—and Do More Valuable Work

Lisa BodellMeetings, overflowing email inboxes, procedures and policies are all adding complexity to our jobs, hurting our productivity and, most importantly, blocking us from doing the work that has meaning to us.

“Typically, we’re not [even] doing our best thinking at work because we’re so busy doing stuff,” says Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of futurethink and author of Why Simple Wins.

Here are five ways Bodell suggests simplifying work: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Job Advancement, Innovation Tagged , |
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