Women’s Leadership Institute Reflections from Day 1

Yesterday’s travel is a blur at this point. My flight from was Charlotte was delayed and I was the one who reserved a shuttle for a bunch of people I’ve never met before…(points for connecting before even getting to the conference!) who were now waiting on me to get to Jacksonville so we could get to WLI. Although I’ve known Randi Purvis and Anne Stark for less than 2 days, I’m grateful for the them and that they waited for me. Haley, thank you too! So lesson one of WLI started well before the conference and although I knew the women I would meet would be rock stars, now, I had conformation.

After arriving, we quickly got ready and headed to the opening reception. This is where I had my first epiphany. While working my way from table to table getting freshly made pasta, olives, and ordering wine, I noticed something. I kept stepping out of the way of the employees who were diligently ensuring that everything was running smoothly. Each time I did this, the employee would look pointedly, but nicely, at me and wait for me to pass. The message hit me like a ton of bricks: This is your experience and we are here to make sure it is flawless. You go. Even as I write this, I feel like I’m not adequately capturing the sensation. I realized that I am constantly compensating for others. Allowing them a turn without taking my own. IWhat it is okay to compromise do this at home as well by contorting myself around the kitchen to not trip on the dogs or run into my partner with a pot of boiling water. I don’t own the space I occupy. I give my space up and few examples come to mine. When I don’t have time to “visit” but a colleague wants to talk. When I don’t actually want to give someone a hug, but they hug me anyway. When I need a few minutes to myself to breathe, but my mom or a friend or my partner or my dogs, really want my attention. I give up my space. I compromise my space and my needs.

Brene Brown talks about setting boundaries as one of the healthiest and bravest things we can do. Think about it, it’s hard work. Will you reject me or be angry if I say no? If I don’t hug you? If I say I can’t talk right now because I’m swimming in amazing data? Am I being selfish if I ask for space from my family and friends? Setting boundaries (and saying no) is difficult, but I need to do it to create balance and reclaim my space.

Dont compromise yourselfNow that I have realized this about myself, that I compromise and sacrifice my space, a couple of things need to happen.

First, thank you to the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island employee team for teaching me this remarkable and life-long lesson.

Second, I need to catch myself doing this, and stop. So, to the women at #WLI13, if you catch me, call me out. Please do it with love though, I’m a work in progress.

Third, if you do this, or have suggestions for how to stop, I would love to hear from you.


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