Back in July, I participated in a TED style in-studio event called Inspired Success. I spoke on defining work and success for ourselves. Each of the speakers received their video file this week. I wanted to share mine and also give you a bit of background on the experience.
Getting involved as a speaker for this event was pretty random. I went to a networking lunch in June. A woman there suggested I contact Sunday about speaking for her Inspired Success event, after hearing about my work. So I called and Sunday bravely took a chance on someone she had never met!
Then as we got closer and closer to the July event, I had a lot of second thoughts about participating. The “Inspired Success” theme wasn’t resonating with me so my speech was feeling really inauthentic. I almost canceled two days beforehand! It was the “breakdown before the breakthrough” as Sunday coined it. Wednesday afternoon, I sat down and wrote what I really thought and this is what came out:
Success is an elusive concept and shouldn’t be our focus.
While I felt pretty awkward suggesting that “success” shouldn’t be our primary focus at an event called Inspired Success, the audience was wonderfully supportive. In my speech, I suggested “success” is sort of a vague idea – it’s really arbitrary, not guaranteed to be replicable and can feel really empty when we “achieve” it. Instead of success being the end goal, I suggested that meaningful work and meaningful relationships are often the things we’re really looking for. In order to see “success” in these areas, we need to redefine work. Defining work properly means we learn to see value in more than just our paid employment. We need to see success in more than just dollars and fans. In fact, we need to re-engaged with our Creator and understand his calling in our lives.
Delivering the speech felt amazing – the women at this event were truly an inspiring group and the positive energy in the room was incredible. They’re doing fantastic work in our community. I felt so lucky to get to connect with many other Seattle entrepreneurs. I’m working Carin and her WISE Women group. I love Rachel‘s vision for her Leadership Launch program. Debbie and Anna have both blessed me with their wisdom and insight.
I’m so glad that I participated after all. I learned a lot about myself in the speech-writing process and was really encouraged by the stories from all the other speakers. It was another one of those moments where I felt like my calling was affirmed and the overriding emotion at the end of the day was simply gratitude.
Inspired Success is now an on-going community and Sunday is hosting her second in-studio event tomorrow in fact. If you’re a Seattle area woman leader, check out the community on Facebook here and get involved!