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 , |

The Fix: Overcoming the Invisible Barriers to Creating Cultures of Equality at Work

Michelle P. King
 
For years, we have heard that to succeed at work, we have to change—lean in, negotiate like a man, hold back on being nice. But Michelle King, Director of Inclusion for Netflix and author of the new book, The Fix, says we don’t need to fix women, we need to fix work—for the sake of women, men and the future of innovation.
 

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, Job Advancement, Innovation, Podcasts, Women Amplified: A Podcast from the Conferences for Women Tagged , |

3 Ways to Use Technology to Make Your Life Easier

Stephanie Humphrey

Stephanie Humphrey is a Technology & Lifestyle Contributor at ABC News who considers it her job to show people how technology can make their jobs easier.

Here are three tips she shared with the Conference for Women community: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Life Balance, Innovation Tagged , , |

The Q&A—On Better Goal-Setting

With GLG’s Catrina Harding

Catrina HardingOne of my favorite phrases is: ‘Don’t boil the ocean.’ It means don’t set yourself an impossible objective.

Q: As much as we love New Year’s resolutions, most of us are notoriously bad at following through on them throughout the year. What’s your approach to goal-setting at the beginning of this year?

My philosophy is that it’s important to set goals at the beginning of the year – but it’s just as important to be flexible as circumstances change.

Every January I ask myself: What are the top two to three things I need to execute this year? And I keep those in mind as my North Star. But life is unpredictable, and work is unpredictable, so I make sure I maintain a reasonable level of flexibility with the goals I establish. If business conditions or strategies change, or something changes personally that makes my goals obsolete or not as relevant, I allow myself room to change them. It’s important to be OK with adjusting your goals when it makes sense. It’s when you don’t give yourself permission to make changes that you get stuck or boxed in. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Success & Leadership, Innovation Tagged , |

ENCORE | Finding and Engaging Male Allies | 2019 Session

When men use their power to advocate for women and support the creation of an equitable organization, everyone wins. But how do you inspire a male colleague or boss to be your ally in removing the barriers to your success? Join workplace gender expert Brad Johnson and a panel of men and women who are working on the forefront of this issue for an enlightening discussion about overcoming reluctance to allyship and identifying the actions allies can take to support your career.

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Posted in Success & Leadership, Innovation, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

ENCORE | How is Bias Affecting Your Organization | 2019 Session

We all have blind spots: hidden unconscious biases that can influence the culture of our organizations and the career trajectories of all its employees. But when we learn how to identify these blind spots, we have the power to make change. Sharing best practices and lessons learned from their first-hand experiences, diversity consultant Tiffany Jana and this panel of experts will examine what helps break down these biases, and what all of us can do right now to create systems in which all people can thrive. You will walk away with concrete strategies to tackle structural bias—both individually and organizationally.

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Posted in Success & Leadership, Innovation, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

Finding and Engaging Male Allies | 2019 Session

When men use their power to advocate for women and support the creation of an equitable organization, everyone wins. But how do you inspire a male colleague or boss to be your ally in removing the barriers to your success? Join workplace gender expert Brad Johnson and a panel of men and women who are working on the forefront of this issue for an enlightening discussion about overcoming reluctance to allyship and identifying the actions allies can take to support your career.

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Posted in Innovation, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

How is Bias Affecting Your Organization? | 2019 Session

We all have blind spots: hidden unconscious biases that can influence the culture of our organizations and the career trajectories of all its employees. But when we learn how to identify these blind spots, we have the power to make change. Sharing best practices and lessons learned from their first-hand experiences, diversity consultant Tiffany Jana and this panel of experts will examine what helps break down these biases, and what all of us can do right now to create systems in which all people can thrive. You will walk away with concrete strategies to tackle structural bias—both individually and organizationally.

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Posted in Success & Leadership, Innovation, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

Foster Your Inner Entrepreneur and Innovator | 2019 Session

Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about starting a business. It’s about being a pioneer and thought leader. And, your next innovative idea could lead to breakthroughs—maybe even change the world. So, what’s holding you back? Whether you are in startup mode or looking to generate that next big idea within your current organization, this session will help you explore the essential skills, characteristics and habits to help foster your inner entrepreneur. From corporate professionals to business owners, this interactive panel will share their firsthand experiences to help you with idea generation and scalability. They will also offer strategies to help you navigate the obstacles that have kept that audacious idea of yours from becoming a reality.

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Posted in Innovation, Breakout Session 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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