The beauty of living everything with the Beginner’s Mind
Global WIN Live 2020 – Leading the way in a new beginning
How long was the last time you did something for the first time?
I will tell you mine: I decided to participate in the Global WIN-Live 2020 Conference (30th of September – 2nd of October), a human generator of changing and unpredictable emotions.
Believe me, being among a thousand people is a powerful experience (even if it is all about videoconferencing), it fills you with happy thoughts. Even if the event was virtual because we are in the middle of the global pandemic, the Women’s International Networking – WIN – knows it is the right time for a new beginning.
The Global WIN-Live conference is designed to “help women generate new awareness, skills and connections in an inspiring and nurturing environment, enabling them to accelerate their impact in the world, at work and in their lives. The conference helps attendants get up to speed on emerging trends in business, technology and society as well as the latest thinking on the future of work and careers, and new practices in individual growth”.
Here’s what I learned. Treasure it too:
1) Seeing the world with a beginner’s mind is wonderful. You unhinge everything and you find yourself upside down, overturned like sweaters worn inside out. And the advantage is not so much to get new ideas as to get rid of old ones. It is the leap that in psychology is called the Einstellung effect: it is precisely the preconceptions that prevent us from finding an unexpected way to face each test.
The most effective method of unhooking? Acting with a pure, virgin, inexperienced gaze. In this issue you will find ideas for doing something new: have you ever thought about joining a Coaching Program (like the one proposed by our member Dr. Paul Vanderbroeck)? or have you ever thought about starting your own business?
Look at the Crunchy Tales article on our October’s Newsletter: Why launching a start-up in your ’50s is the new normal?, under the “PWA Community: Member’s Tips” section.
2) It is an illusion to think that you can make yourself indispensable. Nobody really is. A famous research, from the University of Waterloo, shows that at work people always tend to overestimate their tasks, feeling essential, decisive. Of course, it is a reaction linked to the great need to be at the centre of a productive and affective system, to give meaning to one’s own commitment and efforts. But it is also nice to disappear, to become invisible, to lighten the load and make our life sustainable.
Sometimes it’s okay to give others some space to take their own responsibilities. Sometimes, we need a pause or a new way to deal with our duties. In particular, now that many professional women are struggling (more than ever, due to the pandemic) not only with extra stress at work, but also with housework and care-giving responsibilities. For some thoughts and help, read the article written by our PWA friend, Dr. Paul Vanderbroeck, published in the Opinions section of this month’s Newsletter.
3) Passion teaches us that difficult things have more meaning than easy ones, What does not challenge you, does not change you, As Sam Shepard said: “When you hit the wall – of your imaginary limits – just kick it through”.
Try to do more things that ask you to go beyond your means, search for difficult tasks and prepare for take-off in your work and career, or in your individual growth path. To give yourself an extra boost, look on the Net for the owe-inspiring story of Ramona Hood, or read “Insicure di successo. Abbraccia la paura e provaci lo stesso” (by Cecilia Sardeo), a manual that invites you to get into the wild without wanting to necessarily appear perfect. The book tells the story of a woman, who went from receptionist in a Kuala Lumpur company to CEO and co-founder of the Italian division in the same company. Get inspired!.
4) Doing this job as Newsletter Editor makes me discover, every time, that there is an immense amount of activities to do and time is short trying to carry on a family, a professional job, and a volunteer work at the Association of the heart, PWA.
What to do? Raise your hand and invoke the neighbor’s solidarity. Knowing how to ask is an art. And it is also a growth tool. At a very popular TED Conference, Amanda Palmer, musician, said: “Asking is not easy because it makes us vulnerable. But if you do, you make contact with people. And they help you”. Begin to be brave and ask for an interview with your boss requesting for a promotion, or find out how learning new technical skills can make a difference in the way you work. For more ideas about this last argument, read the amazing life story of Maja Ivanovic (our Unstoppable STEM women!) and join our eConference named “Leadership in digital transformation: Why women matter?”. Registrations are still open: just email us!
5) Often a certain number of imperfect individuals can form an exceptional unique social unit. Because genius is “group architecture” and the most unpredictable beauty comes from a collective enterprise. With this having in mind, I think we could create the right conditions for all the members of the Board to work together and carry out a wonderful female reality that focuses on relationships between professional women.
Easy to say, hard to do? Maybe. However, the PWA’s Board is a heterogeneous, multicultural, and multidisciplinary group of highly skilled women, which never worked together before, but with all the right ingredients for success. In my opinion: We just have to learn to dance at the same beat. Music educates humanity; it makes us understand what it really means to learn to listen and to listen to learn.
Finally after the WIN Conference, I took some time to meditate on the whole PWA Board experience that I am living now, and realize that all this won’t be happening if I hadn’t raised my hand, showed interest, and lastly stepping in the unknown.
In preparing the first issue of “The People We Are” in September, my first thought was: “I am doing tons of mistakes. I am wrong doing this job”. Yet the real mistake is not in making mistakes, but in stopping without delving into it. So, don’t listen to good advises and enjoy every moment you stumble. The purpose of life is to grow while allowing yourself to fail in ever larger enterprises, never giving up! But to get up, to move forward by treasuring the experiences, don’t you think?
As Ramona Hood said in an interview when becoming the first African American divisional president and CEO of FedEx’s Custom Critical (on January 2020) after a three-decade career with the company (starting from being a 19-year-old receptionist and single mother at the same company): “Those experiences taught me that it was important to stretch myself and get comfortable with the uncomfortable”. She decided to take on some job tasks and responsibilities that weren’t completely align with her past experience and learn something new, while bringing her fresh beginner’s mind to it.
This is what I am doing in my professional and personal life, now. And this is what I wish for you: Achieving success by getting comfortable with the uncomfortable!
By Luisa Lopez
Rome, October 2020