Where was this zest in my early 20s?
That’s what I’ve been asking myself lately, as I’ve had a renewed sense of inspiration regarding leadership and vision for my company.
Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had a wonderful career in politics and journalism, but I never considered myself a “go-getter.” These days, though, I feel much more that way. And I wonder where it might have gotten me had I been so excited about learning, growing & mastering back then.
It began several years ago when I discovered Marie Forleo and went through B-School. It was there I realized the potential of consulting and freelance work, which I began doing to make extra money. I started to realize the benefits of the hustle — and self-education on the Internet for (mostly) free. (*B-school is pricey but my former employer actually covered the cost for me.)
But I never had a BIG GOAL. I had thoughts of owning my own consulting business and making it my full time job but the execution work of social media is difficult to do on a 24-7 basis for more than a couple of places.
Thankfully, I have a great job at National Review — and finally feel that I have big dreams for some major opportunities we have to fill. I owe a lot to many of the very inspiring women I’ve read about, listened to and learned from in the past year.
Specifically, many of the amazing female entrepreneurs I’ve heard from on a few amazing podcasts that are constantly running through my head:
- The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey
- #GirlBoss Radio with Sophia Amoruso
- Wear Your Dreams with Alice Oluyitan
- Blissful Bites with Nicole Culver
I’m sure there are many more where that came from but I can only listen to so many podcasts a week. (I actually binge-listened the past two full years of Jamie Ivey in about a month!)
And this week I went to the Empowered Women Conference in DC. I was part of the launch team for this awesome organization, founded by my friend Mindy Finn. I am fully energized and overwhelmed with inspiration when I attend these kinds of events.
A few of the amazing women I got to hear from & started following on all things social media include:
- Kathleen Hale, Founder of Rebel Desk
- Lesley Jane Seymour, Former Editor of Marie Claire
- Linda MacMahon, Co-Founder of WWE
- Michelle Jaconi, Senior Advisor to IJ
- Poppy Macdonald, Publisher & President of National Journal
- Callie Schweitzer, Director of Audience Strategy at Time
- Kara Eschbach, Founder of Verily Magazine
- Elise Whang, Founder of Snob Swap
- Donna Harris, Co-Founder of 1776
- Katie Biber, Founder of Thumbtack (formerly at AirBnB)
- Maura Colleton, Founder of Glen Echo Group
And that is really just the short list! My friends Mary Katharine Ham and Bethany Mandel were also on panels and both of them inspire me in a myriad of ways, both professionally and personally. I was just surrounded by women who lift me up — and it was awesome.
One of my BIG take aways from the conference was that leadership requires no fear, having vision and being able to enable other people to execute on ALL THE THINGS.
One of my biggest faults is that I feel like I need to do, know and understand everything in order for things to work. Not so! I must learn to find the people good at each thing…and enable them to do their very best so that all the parts can work together for the ultimate goal.
Anyway, you don’t know unless you do. I have this incredible thing where I love my job and have a lot of freedom. I have people confident in my skills and ideas. I am overwhelmed at the moment but am working on clarifying my vision, finding the right mentors and truly making a significant difference — as an intrapreneur — in the future of my company.
I know what a gift it is to FEEL inspired, to enjoy my job, to thrive off of learning more about my industry. The “zest” may have kicked in a little later for me, but I’ll take it anyway!
By the way, Empowered Women is for ANY woman who believes in equality but not one-size-fits-all policies and finding what works for all women in the workplace, at home and in life. You can check it out here.
Lastly, I am part of a new daily email for women that is launching this month. It’s focused on politics, pop culture, lifestyle & more! If you wanna sign up for BRIGHT, do so here!