2013 ACUI Women’s Leadership Institute Reflection and Impact

Last week I attended ACUI’s Women’s Leadership Institute. The event was held at theĀ Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island in Florida. You cannot beat the beauty and comfort of the location! The content was wonderful, the people were amazing, the food was to die for and the views were breathtaking.

I attended with expectations of having my mind blown by the content of the experience and the opportunity to meet new people. What happened instead, has had my head spinning for the last few days.

My group arrived at the hotel five minutes before I was scheduled to meet up with a few others who were also attending the conference. I rushed to my room, literally threw on appropriate attire and raced to the meeting location nearly out of breath. From there, dinner were served and the networking with new people began. As an introvert who rushed into the event, it took me a few minutes of observing others before I caught on to how I should behave in this environment. I began to slowly make connections while internally editing my behavior in relation to others. The night ended much later than my usual bedtime – it had been a busy but good time to this point.

The following day, a more typical conference style structure provided me with a bit of comfort. I took in what was being shared. Shared my thoughts and dreams with small groups and took time for an afternoon run to reflect. Again, the night ended much later than my usual bedtime – the good time continued.

I found my grove the next day. I branched out and interacted with many more people as well as shared more and more of my thoughts during the small group time. The content was seamlessly orchestrated and I was finally riding the high I had expected. Another afternoon run provided more endorphins to fuel my conference high. That night, however, was brutal.

My roommate was a woman I had never met in person. As it turns out, we were a perfect match and hit it off from the beginning. Candace Denning is an amazing woman! We had been engaging in great conversation each night thus far. This night was not any different; until she unintentionally and unknowingly shoved me off the proverbial cliff with one short sentence: “You will find your voice.”

Hearing that sentence was like my mind running full speed into a closed glass door. I asked for clarification and she explained. Her feedback was legit and continues to haunt my thoughts. To steal an out of context quote from the movie Juno, “What does that even mean? I continue to reflect and journal on this one sentence and what it means for me.

I am grateful for my roommate and that sentence for creating the most meaningful experience of the institute for me. My reflection on that little sentence is far from complete but, thanks to my roomie, it has at least begun!

#WLI13 wasn’t what I expected. It was so much more!

Have you ever had someone make one small statement to you that quickly altered your thinking?

Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!

Don’t Throttle Back

We have a made up verb we use in our house: “to Anne something”. I have a habit of making a decision and going full throttle in that direction, 100% commitment to the idea and the achievement of a goal; thus, to Anne something.

An example. I was talking with my husband about his desire to run the Keys 100 in May 2014. I finally worked my brain around to the idea that I could do this with him. A few hours later, I had found a training plan for 100 miler first-timers, learned what we should be doing to prepare in regard to eating on the run, and started our own blog as form of accountability and reflection of the experience. I totally “Anne-ed” the idea of joining my husband on the Keys 100.

I recently had an experience with a woman I highly respect. She asked if I wanted to read the book Lean In with her in preparation for the Women’s Leadership Institute we plan to attend in December. I responded with the fact that I had already read the book and would happily engage in conversation/discussion with her. To this point, I had not yet “Anne-ed” the situation.

Reflecting on this conversation triggered me to send a follow up email where I outlined a personal/professional development curriculum I had experienced over the last few months consisting of Lean In, Multipliers, Start With Why, Daring Greatly and (Forget a Mentor) Find a Sponsor. Yup, this is the point where I “Anne-ed” the situation.

After work, I was telling my husband about the situation. I was in the middle of asking him if I went too far and his response was simply this: Don’t throttle back, be Anne!

I grinned, grateful for a supportive partner and agreed. I can only be me. And that means I will continue to “Anne” things…it’s how I do!

The take away, Don’t throttle back, be you!

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Until next time, keep it real and keep showing up!