“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” — John Lennon
I’m an INTJ with a capital “J”. I mean like a RIDICULOUSLY high “J”.
I am so well-planned and organized that even my “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants plans” are scheduled.
I have spreadsheet for Thanksgiving dinner — what I need to buy, what goes in the oven when, my recipes are indexed & labeled — all done in July.
So when a dear friend asked me, “30 Days to Launch? What’s your plan?”, my immediate response was self-shocking.
“There is no plan. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart.”
Perhaps in the past I was too well-planned.
Dreams turned into an elaborate, well-crafted plan of attack, which exposed risks and challenges. Those realizations led to fear, doubt, and a million reasons why the dream seemed unattainable. And finally, there was convincing narrative of why I shouldn’t even start.
I have a hard drive full of dreams I never chased. I have a hard drive full of plans — business, content, lead generation — a whole lot of unpursued plans.
This time though, there is no plan. I have been making plans for 38 years.
Growing Pink Mentor Network has consumed every spare moment since February. While it continues to grow in size and outreach, it has not yet equated to financial gain.
At times, it feels like I’m “running on ice” — exerting a lot of energy but not getting anywhere.
However, today I choose to call it “conditioning”.
270 – 4:13AM Work Sessions;
136 Newsletters, Posts, and Images;
12 Women’s Empowerment Events;
3 Meetup Groups & 1 Facebook Group;
& Countless Vulnerable Voices Sharing Professional Stories of Success, Challenges, and Opportunity.
“Running on ice” makes builds strong legs and endless endurance. “Running on ice” is great practice. “Running on ice” is character-building. “Running on ice” gave me time to see, think, listen, feel.
I am impassioned. I am ready. Bring on the marathon.
I have been conditioning.
In the next 30 days, that woman will transform a feel-good quest for mentorship into the business of her dreams.
Why a 30-Day Launch Sprint?
Fear has barricaded this dream too long.
This girl has BIG dreams. Anything is possible in 30 days. Even BIG dreams are possible in 30 days.
I suppose I always knew that. But it took 2,368 women to ignite it.
I’m a dreamer.
I’m a dream chaser.
I’m a dream catcher.
I’m a woman.
[Insert roar here.]
Me too. Let’s begin together.
Opportunity or Challenge — Depends on Leadership
“Your talents and abilities will never be appreciated or respected here.”
… A CEO once told me.
She added, “You grow and develop people. We don’t do that here.”
She later apologized and blamed it on a “bad day”.
I accepted the apology, but never forgot the words. In fact, they shaped the narrative I collected for the rest of my tenure.
Of course she’s not listening… my opinion isn’t respected here. Why should I care about professional development? It’s not important here. Don’t speak up — it’s pointless. Gratitude is for other people. My talents are undeserving.
The self-talk wasn’t always true. But it was always a challenge.
It challenged my confidence. It challenged my motivation. It challenged my willingness to contribute.
“We trust you. You can figure this out. You always do.”
… Declared my first boss as he presented me with the most significant challenge of my early career.
Except back then, I didn’t see challenges. I only saw OPPORTUNITY.
Opportunity to advance. Opportunity to succeed. Opportunity to contribute. Just 100% pure, endless, foundation-building opportunity. And I jumped at the opportunity!
This is my shot! What an amazing opportunity. Wow, I can’t believe it…and can’t wait to get started. Of course, I CAN do this! I’ll just figure it out like I always do. I am so grateful for the opportunity.
Frankly, I still am.
I did solve that organizational challenge — and six more years of them with unwavering dedication, motivation, and confidence.
[tap, tap, tap]
“Is this thing on?”, asks an eager young leader.
Of course it is. It’s leadership.
Leadership is an unlimited stage & resounding microphone.
Take the stage with courage, respect, and honor. The stage is a privilege, never a right.
Use the microphone with authenticity and honesty. Speak thoughtfully and passionately. Your message shapes our narrative of you and your mission.
There are infinite stages, microphones, and audiences. But YOUR audience pays for YOUR show because they believe in YOUR PERFORMANCE.
Never take their attention for granted. Recognize it frequently. Earn it repeatedly. And appreciate it often.
This is YOUR STAGE. This is YOUR MICROPHONE.
Just remember the audience has the right to turn their backs at any time.
Use your stage and microphone wisely. Always.
“Carry-With-Me’s” From This Month’s Mentor Dinner
Three successful female entrepreneurs shared their stories of “GRIT TO GREATNESS” at this month’s mentor dinner. Here are some of my takeaways.
- Do what feels right to you. Not what other people think is right for you.
- Hustle hard. Just keep going.
- Feel good about where you are going.
- Make it fit.
- GRIT equals stick-to-it-iveness.
- Be resilient, inspired, and determined.
- Greatness takes stamina.
- As a businesswoman, mother, and wife; you are raising a career, child, and a marriage. Don’t forget about growing the marriage.
- Be careful of the stories you tell yourself.
- Grit is like sandpaper. Let it be your callous.
- Craft v. Business – Which one will you build? They are not the same.
- Tap into what you have — talents, abilities, network, knowledge.
- Make decisions that you not only can live with…but importantly, wouldn’t want to live without.
- We are more than the labels others give us.
In a room full of GRITTY women, I learned:
- GRIT comes in many shapes, sizes, and times on our lives. But it’s the stories of GRIT that inspire others to dig deeper, go harder, or just keep on keepin’ on.
- Every career requires GRIT. Every women has her own unique tale of GRIT.
- GRIT is raceless, classless, ageless, and genderless. GRIT is personal.
- GRITTY Women Get GRITTY Women. GRIT is a universal language of dogged perseverance and resolute tenacity.
- GRIT GETS IT DONE. BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY GRITTY.
What’s your personal definition of GRIT? What’s your GRITTY story? Who do you share it with? Who could benefit from your GRITTY lessons learned? How will you tell them?
Yeah. I’m asking YOU.
GRIT UP & GO, GIRL!
“I remember my father would hold his two hands out and say to me, ‘One hand is the essence of heaven, the other hell – What kind of life do you want to experience?
What kind of life do you want others to experience?
The choice is always yours. Always be good to yourself and to others.’
The actions of my parents aligned with this principle, and I think that played a huge part in my development. I feel very blessed to have been raised by them.”
-Sarah M. Whitmire, PhD, PLLC
Sometimes life introduces us to reoccurring characters. People whose paths we cross several times over a number of years. Sarah Whitmire is a reoccurring character in my life. And each time we are reintroduced, I am struck by her grace, beauty, and intelligence.
Sarah has a way of immediately putting you at ease. She always offers a helpful hand, kind thought, or reassuring smile. I originally attributed those characteristics to her profession. But since getting to know her better, I now understand that Sarah is the result of fantastic parenting, hard work, and a giant heart.
Sarah! … Thank you for taking the time to share your journey with us. You have crafted a very custom profession, not the typical 9 to 5. Please tell us about it.
I am a business owner/psychotherapist/supervisor. My husband and I have a 1-year-old who I decided to stay home with most of the week, and I work at my private practice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
I specialize with couples, families, and children experiencing a variety of issues in life. I’ve been a therapist since 2004 and have worked with so many different populations – from psychiatric patients, male offenders, and in private practice. I’ve also been a professor at five different universities. It is my passion to help others develop skills to enhance and heal their lives.
It obviously takes a very strong, very giving woman to dedicate her life’s work to helping others. Where does that motivation come from?
I always knew that I wanted to be in a position of helping others. From a very young age, I remember always saying that I wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor. I think my parents influenced this thinking as well. Since childhood, I can recall my father saying that one day I will be a doctor. My parents are Iranian immigrants, and as a part of our culture, education is placed as a very high priority. As a result, education and working hard was always pushed by my parents and family members.
Well, Sarah, you have certainly made your family proud. What advice would you give to young women thinking of pursuing clinical careers?
If you enjoying helping others heal and cultivate a more fulfilling life, then therapy/counseling is for you!
You may want to visit the American Counseling Association and the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy websites to read more about the profession. O*Net Online serves as a wonderful tool to determine if the mental health profession is for you.
Lastly, I think it is important to determine what your personality style is and what profession it would align well with. I highly encourage taking the following personality assessments: Strong Interest Inventory (SII), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strengths Finder 2.0, and How To Fascinate.
That’s excellent advice for young women. How about for those of us who aren’t so young anymore? What wise words to you have for us?
Self-care! Self-care! Self-care!
I have to remind myself of this one often 🙂
Ahh … YES!! Such a simple concept, but SO, SO difficult to practice.
You mentioned your parents, but have there been other influences in your professional life?
One of my best bosses was a Raegan Hart, she was my direct supervisor when I was working with adult male offenders in Texas. The population that we provided services to were, well, hard. And there were some female staff members that really harassed me. My supervisor was always a beacon of light and positivity for me, and she help me navigate through some of the office politics, as well as making boundaries with the other women. She always was professional, ethics, and just in all of her actions. Truly a remarkable woman.
And I can honestly say the same of you, Dr. Sarah Whitmire — truly a remarkable woman!
Sarah is offering a two-day parent workshop called “Bringing Baby Home” on November 4 & 5. The workshop is designed to improve the quality of lives for couples and their babies through strengthening their family. The workshop will teach parents how to: maintain relationship satisfaction after having a baby, enhance communication, manage conflict, foster positive parent-baby connection, enhance quality involvement of both parents, and reduce incidence or severity of postpartum mood disorders.
For more information about this workshop or Sarah’s private practice, please visit www.drwhitmire.com.
Professional development is a constant undertaking to evergreen learners. An evergreen learner will grow regardless of the season, role, manager or employer.
Early in my career, I waited for a directive to take a new course or apply a new skill. But over time, I’ve learned that I am an evergreen learner and that it’s best to take professional development into my own hands.
NEVER WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO GROW. LEARN SOMETHING NEW. THEN APPLY IT IN WAYS ONLY YOU CAN.
That said, I have also learned professional development is much easier when it’s encouraged or supported by management. Here are some questions you should get answered during the interview process if you are an evergreen learner.
10 Questions Every Evergreen Learner Should Ask a Potential Manager:
- Where do you find professional inspiration?
- What podcasts, blogs, or professional development organizations do you belong/subscribe to?
- Who are the thought leaders or industry experts you admire? Why?
- What books or authors have had the most influence on your career?
- What was the last skill you learned?
- What was the last skill you taught?
- When was the last time someone in your department was promoted? Tell me about that experience.
- What is your performance feedback strategy? How will I know am exceeding your expectations (…because I will!)?
- How do you expect this position to grow? What skills and knowledge may be needed 6 months from now? 1 year? 5 years?
- What is the professional development strategy for your employees? How do people here grow?
And for all you leaders out there…you best be able to answer these questions. The best talent demands it!
“Life is absolutely hard but…oh well, OVARY UP and let’s get it!
As women, we are born with a set of instincts and programmed
with amazing capabilities, dig deeper, fight harder
and manifest the ‘magic’ intended just for you.”
– davita galloway, Creative Entrepreneur
(Now ladies, here’s a mentor lesson: When a woman you admire shares the women who motivate her … don’t walk, rather RUN to them! Because it’s those women who will generously give, selflessly support, and fiercely care about YOU and YOUR WORK.)
I did just that. And Davita Galloway has BEEN that…and more!
Davita Galloway is a work of art.
The moment you meet her you realize she is stunningly beautiful … inside & out. She exudes confidence and creativity. To know Davita is to be instantly inspired, and challenged to do more for your community because that is the example she sets.
After our brief introduction, I immediately had to know more about Davita. That’s when I found this video from her June 2017 CreativeMornings’ presentation on “Survival”.
Davita Galloway is a champion, mentor, and muse to artists. She has devoted her life to creating, as well as building a safe haven for art and those who practice it. She recently shared a bit about her journey and what led her here.
Davita, thank you so much for sharing some of your EXTRAORDINARY journey with us. How do you describe what you do?
Creative Entrepreneur. I co-own a few creative studios with my brother, Dion Galloway and on a daily basis, I ensure their processes. While activities range, they fall into three basic categories: retail, art and events. More, I also oversee the content on SPREAD, our digital platform, as well as CrownKeepers, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining the art and creative culture in Charlotte.
Wow!…UNIQUELY DAVITA! To many of us, having the courage & confidence to create your own career is incredibly admirable. Tell us a little about how you got here.
To speak in general terms, I knew I wanted to create. Growing up, that was always my way of giving back, of expressing myself. It was my safety blanket and was where happiness was found.
Love that! I think women, myself included, have a hard time envisioning roles that are uniquely us, and then finding the courage to chase those careers. What advice would you give us?
Ultimately, it’s about walking in your truth. Opportunities arise when you’re genuinely, actively participating in your purpose. My advice is simple, go with your gut!
Prepare for what’s next by envisioning yourself already there. You want to be a social influencer? Live your life like one! Act like one, talk like one, move like one!
That’s wonderful advice. Your passion is contagious, Davita!
To say that I’m passionate about my work is an understatement. Essentially, creating, is my EVERYTHING!
…And it shows!! The GRIT, the PASSION, the GREATNESS — Where does it come from?
Life has been and continues to be my best boss. I am constantly learning from its teachings and my career is shaped by what I see and experience. I’m able to assess a need in life and create an art-influenced solution.
What insight do you have for women who are interested in pursuing a career like the one you have shaped? A professional life that is uniquely them??
To speak in a transparent manner, I have my hands in a variety of great treasures; however, the work can be very taxing on one’s self. With that, I, oftentimes, neglect the needs of myself to ensure that everything else is running properly. I realize, though, that this is backwards thinking and am working to reverse this process. To learn more about what I, specifically, do, I encourage conversations.
And with that, Davita opened the door to conversations that will inspire, encourage, and possibly transform lives. That GRITTY mentorship, and more of Davita’s journey will be featured here.
Last week’s Mentor Dinner moved me.
The content and speakers were phenomenal. The attendees were warm, honest, and generous. The environment was supportive and inspirational.
It was all EXTRAORDINARY…but none of THAT brought me to tears. Probably because after hosting several of these events, I EXPECTED all that.
No, rather it was the UNEXPECTED that shook me to the core.
It was the one attendee who had been drug to the event by a speaker. At the beginning of the program, she explained that she was “done with corporate”. She had climbed a professional ladder, reached a peak, and chose to step away.
She appeared strong–both physically and mentally. She radiated the type of confidence that only comes with accomplishment, experience, and wisdom. I was drawn to her during the program because she was totally reaction-LESS. I couldn’t tell if she was enjoying herself or bored silly.
Perhaps that’s why her UNEXPECTED feedback came as such a shock.
At the end of the event, she grabbed me firmly by the shoulders, gave me a slight shake, and demanded “KEEP PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE! GREAT THINGS WILL HAPPEN. ”
That one simple comment brought me to tears. In 9 UNEXPECTED words, she validated 9 months of work and an ambitious dream.
PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE. — Such simple, but difficult advice.
PUTTING – Means action. Sure, it’s scary and a hell of a lot easier to stay home. But no one ever made a difference or a change by sitting at home binge-watching Netflix. The world needs your talents, abilities, and personality. Share them.
YOURSELF – Bring the YOU only YOU know. Show up honestly, genuinely, and whole-heartedly. The world is reciprocal. We get what we put out there. GIVE your best to GET your best.
OUT THERE – Out where? OUT THERE! — Try new things. Meet new people. Explore interests. Craft hobbies. Find the gifts that come naturally to you and nurture them.
Go now. Go often. Go with a tender heart and strong mind. Just go. Be the unexpected that shows up and forever changes the program.
So now, where will you put yourself next? Who or what is waiting for YOU?
The answer may be UNEXPECTEDLY GREAT!
GO! GO! GO!
This piece was featured in the Pink Mentor Network’s September 2017 newsletter. The entire newsletter is available here.