In a recent blog post, Linhart PR team member, Shannon Hughes, shared some of her takeaways from the Women Inspiring Leadership Development (WILD) 2017 Summit. My colleague, Kelly Nash, and I also collaborated to share some our key learnings and three action steps for growing in your personal and professional life:
1. Establish a network, then maintain it
In a panel session titled “It Takes a Village– To Build a Career!”, local business women, including Jane Miller, founder of Jane Knows; Rachel Shayne, co-founder and CEO of Cubspot; Gale Dunlap, president of Standout Strategies; and Andrea Guendelman, CEO of BeVisible Latinx; shared how to maintain and expand your network at any stage in your career. They encouraged attendees to meet new people in a way that works for us personally, whether that means going to networking events, taking someone out for coffee or even striking up a conversation with someone while in line at the airport or grocery store. Once the initial connection has been made, they suggested maintaining the relationship by reaching out when appropriate — for example, in response to something exciting you’re doing or when you have something of value to share. Each panelist reminded us that professional networking is about creating value for others, not just seeking value for ourselves.
2. Take bigger risks
Risks sound dangerous. However, for many of us, the risks we take in our professional and personal lives may be more uncomfortable than dangerous. In their breakout session, “Risky Business: Harnessing Your Woman Power When Things Get Hard,” Lizelle Van Vuuren, CEO of Effectively, and Ash Beckham, known for her TEDx talk “Coming Out of Your Closet,” encouraged women to embrace those butterflies that keep them present and honest. Being nervous and uncomfortable in new situations means (surprise) you’re human and doing something outside of your comfort zone, which is where growth happens. Van Vuuren and Beckham also reminded us that it’s okay to fail. Taking risks becomes a lot less risky when the goal isn’t success or avoiding failure, but learning and enjoying the journey along the way.
3. Stop limiting your ideas
Denise Soler Cox, filmmaker, speaker, and blogger, is a determined woman. As the event’s afternoon keynote, she spoke while propped up on a stool because she injured her foot the night before and didn’t want to cancel. Despite her sense of determination, Cox shared how her dream of making a documentary film got off track because of a personal limit she set early in the planning process. After nearly 20 years of waiting for the “stars to align,” she realized that the perfect day to start planning may never come. This realization led her to travel from coast to coast to create her film, being ñ. Since the film’s premiere in 2015, Cox has traveled across the U.S. to share her story and encourage her audiences to drop their internal limitations and jump on their dreams now.