I was in Atlanta last week at the World Trade Center launching To Be a Woman, a global platform for the empowerment of women, into corporate America. It was a divinely successful event and I was so proud and honored to be part of the To Be a Woman Team.
But a situation occurred just before the event that could have made it a very different experience for me. You see, an event attendee came up to me unexpectedly while I was alone in a hallway and physically threatened me. I had never experienced anything like it, and never dreamed of it happening to me, particularly in an executive building. To be honest, I was so stunned I truly don’t remember what this person was saying to me at the time.
In the next few moments I realized I had a choice:
- Let the experience and feeling of being a victim wobble me and take me “off my game”
- Take my power back and go do my job brilliantly
I chose #2 because the only way you can really hurt me is to prevent me from “shining my light” in this world, and I wasn’t going to give this person that power over me. (Although, admittedly, I spent a few minutes feeling quite wobbled.)
I went out and did what I’m here on this Earth to do: to speak, to facilitate, and to help others empower themselves by sharing my own experiences. I “rocked it” with an extra dose of “rock” for good measure. Because I had to.
The same is true for all of you.
The only way others can really hurt you is if they keep you from shining your light – your unique set of gifts that no one else exudes quite the way you do – in this world.
Here’s the critical point:
The only one who can prevent us from actually shining our light is ourselves. But so often we give this power to others. We let what they say or do to us make us believe that we either:
- Don’t have a light to shine (People who have a lack of self-worth or control issues sometimes try to make us feel this way)
- Aren’t worthy of shining our light (People who are insecure sometimes try to make us feel this way)
- Shouldn’t shine our light (People who are jealous don’t want us to succeed)
It’s not easy to take back that power we so easily give to others. It takes tremendous self-awareness and time spent letting go of emotions and fears that hold us back.
But as leaders, it’s our responsibility to shine our light, because it’s a gift!
I am blessed to be part of a beautiful team of women, and so many people comment on how there’s not an ounce of jealousy among or between us. They’re right. It’s because we all honor each other’s special gifts and talents that we bring to this world. When each member of my team is “doing her thing” I am inspired and awed.
When I got up and spoke at the World Trade Center and looked at my team in the audience, I saw looks that said, “You go girl.” Because there is no jealousy when we as individuals and as leaders honor the special gifts that others bring to our companies and organizations. We each have a unique light and we shine them in our own special way. So why try to compete or be someone we’re not?
When someone doesn’t understand this and tries to threaten you and take you off your game, or to make you feel devalued in some way, just shine that light even brighter! It’s why you’re here, my fellow leaders!
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Photo of To Be a Woman Team from Atlanta Zrii event.