#SWAAYthenarrative
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Life Lessons I've Learned On Becoming Ageless

Self

The earth rotated around the sun once again bringing another birthday my way. The ageless reality I face is that the older I get the more I realize that if I were to meet my younger self today, I would absolutely not be able to identify with or recognize who she is! I would not want it any other way! I celebrate that fact every birthday. It suggests growth, it champions change, and it screams legacy and success!


Younger me would not have had the tenacity to endure 5 years of entrepreneurship. She would have gotten frustrated and lost focus. Older me gets it. Being a founder is about change and appreciating the nuances of running a business when it is perfect, as well as when it is not.

Younger me had a lot of excuses. She spent vast amounts of time waiting. She thought she had forever. Older me appreciates that my time, my best time, is right NOW. I am richest when I invest in what I can do today.

Younger me lived with fears unrecognized. The me of the moment challenges fear, not to be fearless but to fear LESS so that I can accomplish and DO more of what I love.

Younger me spent time in yesterday and tomorrow. Today I am in TODAY. This alone is an energy life hack that drives choice and purpose in ways that I never knew were possible. Every year we add to our birth brings us closer to the reality that the time we can impact is not what was or what will be, but what actually is. This small tweak drives your legacy and shifts your energy allowing you to pivot toward what you most want rather than away from what you do not. Instead of backing away…you are pivoting with purpose and moving ahead.

Younger me thought that she could only handle one thing or another. This OR that. Current me realizes the impact of replacing the word OR with the word AND then completing my thought. Today I resonate with the opportunities and possibilities this supports, something that a younger version of me simply could not, and would not, explore.

Younger me was resourceful because she needed to be. Older me is creative and curious because she wants to be.

Younger me thought she knew what she wanted in life. Older me knows what she is saying yes to in life and she gratefully celebrates that.

Younger me made mistakes. Older me makes mistakes that lead to discoveries and opportunities to renew and shift course. Failure does not exist because perfection does not exist.

Younger me imagined that she knew everything. Older me knows she is always learning something.

Younger me believed that you made choices that lasted forever. Seasoned me realizes that nothing lasts forever other than the relationship we have with ourselves. This is the one thing in life you can control. Everything else is subject to change and interpretation from a new perspective.

Younger me would not have had a meaningful and intelligent conversation with older me. She would not have seen the advantage. Yet, today I cherish the relationships I have collected, connections and conversations with people who matter, which incidentally includes accessing my own wisdom! I seek all of this out for the insight and human spirit it provides.

Yes, I was numerically and biologically younger yesterday. Yet today I am actually ageless. Today I am rich with opportunity and perspective that is steeped in what I CAN accomplish now.

Now is my new next!

Now is your new next as well! Today is a 24-hour window to invest in a 2020 vision. It is in today that we each have a unique-to-us chance to live our legacy, to engage in what inspires us, to seek the unknown and make it known. Today, we can challenge who we have been in favor of pivoting toward who we have not yet allowed ourselves to become.

It makes little difference where you are in the cycle of birthdays. What is important to remember is that you are not adding years, you are increasing experience. If every birthday is a marker of growth, then by extension, every day is a barometer of action steps, decisions, opportunities and ownership. Where will you challenge and own individual accomplishment? Where will you seek out the next step? What makes today different from yesterday?

So…in the 365 days ahead in the everyday of today what changes?

Don't wait. Do.

Don't quit. Pivot.

Don't juggle. Balance. Begin with your relationship to YOU!

Don't overthink. Think it over.

One life.

One legacy.

Grab your control back and choose.

Grab your success back and celebrate it.

Grab your life back and live it fully.

Set the tone for 2020 impact! No birthday needed!

Be legendary!

​4 Min Read
Business

Please Don't Put Yourself On Mute

During a recent meeting on Microsoft Teams, I couldn't seem to get a single word out.


When I tried to chime in, I kept getting interrupted. At one point two individuals talked right over me and over each other. When I thought it was finally my turn, someone else parachuted in from out of nowhere. When I raised and waved my hand as if I was in grade school to be called on (yes, I had my camera on) we swiftly moved on to the next topic. And then, completely frustrated, I stayed on mute for the remainder of the meeting. I even momentarily shut off my camera to devour the rest of my heavily bruised, brown banana. (No one needed to see that.)

This wasn't the first time I had struggled to find my voice. Since elementary school, I always preferring the back seat unless the teacher assigned me a seat in the front. In high school, I did piles of extra credit or mini-reports to offset my 0% in class participation. In college, I went into each lecture nauseous and with wasted prayers — wishing and hoping that I wouldn't be cold-called on by the professor.

By the time I got to Corporate America, it was clear that if I wanted to lead, I needed to pull my chair up (and sometimes bring my own), sit right at the table front and center, and ask for others to make space for me. From then on, I found my voice and never stop using it.

But now, all of a sudden, in this forced social experiment of mass remote working, I was having trouble being heard… again. None of the coaching I had given myself and other women on finding your voice seemed to work when my voice was being projected across a conference call and not a conference room.

I couldn't read any body language. I couldn't see if others were about to jump in and I should wait or if it was my time to speak. They couldn't see if I had something to say. For our Microsoft teams setting, you can only see a few faces on your screen, the rest are icons at the bottom of the window with a static picture or even just their name. And, even then, I couldn't see some people simply because they wouldn't turn their cameras on.

If I did get a chance to speak and cracked a funny joke, well, I didn't hear any laughing. Most people were on mute. Or maybe the joke wasn't that funny?

At one point, I could hear some heavy breathing and the unwrapping of (what I could only assume was) a candy bar. I imagined it was a Nestle Crunch Bar as my tummy rumbled in response to the crinkling of unwrapped candy. (There is a right and a wrong time to mute, people.)

At another point, I did see one face nodding at me blankly.

They say that remote working will be good for women. They say it will level the playing field. They say it will be more inclusive. But it won't be for me and others if I don't speak up now.

  • Start with turning your camera on and encouraging others to do the same. I was recently in a two-person meeting. My camera was on, but the other person wouldn't turn theirs on. In that case, ten minutes in, I turned my camera off. You can't stare at my fuzzy eyebrows and my pile of laundry in the background if I can't do the same to you. When you have a willing participant, you'd be surprised by how helpful it can be to make actual eye contact with someone, even on a computer (and despite the fuzzy eyebrows).
  • Use the chatbox. Enter in your questions. Enter in your comments. Dialogue back and forth. Type in a joke. I did that recently and someone entered back a laughing face — reaffirming that I was, indeed, funny.
  • Designate a facilitator for the meeting: someone leading, coaching, and guiding. On my most recent call, a leader went around ensuring everyone was able to contribute fairly. She also ensured she asked for feedback on a specific topic and helped move the discussion around so no one person took up all the airtime.
  • Unmute yourself. Please don't just sit there on mute for the entire meeting. Jump in and speak up. You will be interrupted. You will interrupt others. But don't get frustrated or discouraged — this is what work is now — just keep showing up and contributing.
  • Smile, and smile big. Nod your head in agreement. Laugh. Give a thumbs up; give two! Wave. Make a heart with your hands. Signal to others on the call who are contributing that you support and value them. They will do the same in return when your turn comes to contribute.

It's too easy to keep your camera turned off. It's too easy to stay on mute. It's too easy to disappear. But now is not the time to disappear. Now is the time to stay engaged and networked within our organizations and communities.

So please don't put yourself on mute.

Well, actually, please do put yourself on mute so I don't have to hear your heavy breathing, candy bar crunching, or tinkling bathroom break.

But after that, please take yourself off mute so you can reclaim your seat (and your voice) at the table.