“Beyond Inspiring” A reflection of my time at the C200 30th Anniversary Celebration
“Beyond Inspiring” was the title of the 30th Anniversary Conference for the Committee of 200 hosted at the Four Seasons Resort in Chicago, where over 300 of the most powerful women in business from around the world gathered to spend time with old friends, learn, motivate, celebrate and honor their successes. I was fortunate as a C200 Scholar to attend this event and meet these business leaders. Since the event I have been pondering on the name of the conference, Beyond Inspiring. I have been asking myself, what does it mean to go beyond inspiration and move to action?
I began using the term “micro Inspirations” just before the C200 conference. I define it as the little micro moments that we have in life that motivate and inspire us. In my life they take many forms ranging from a good feeling walking down the street on a nice day, to failing on a difficult assignment. The compilations of these little moments combined with my larger moments of inspiration, are what inspire me to move to the next moment, look beyond the next opportunity, and go after my dreams. But to go beyond these inspirations is to move them to action and take a step further into making dreams and ideas a reality, something I have been working on since returning from Chicago.
The event was glamorous, flawless and smooth moving. Being in the room with over 300 women who have climbed the ranks to land in some of the most powerful positions in business was both humbling, intimidating and motivating all at the same time. At one point in the conference there was a celebration of the C200 founders, most of whom are in their 70’s and 80’s, and many of whom were the “first” in their industry and in the world. It was marvelous to watch these women walk on stage surrounded by their friends and receive recognition for being the founders of C200 and for their accomplishments in their careers. I realized as I watched them on stage and listen to them talk about their accomplishments that they were the trail blazers for me and my female peers. These are the women who built my future, and through their hard work, they, along with thousands of others, put in the work that changed the expectations and norms for women in business. These changes are what have supported me in reaching success in my own career. I realized as I sat and reflected on this is that I am one of these women to the young girls of our future, and whatever I do with my path now, will influence the generations of women who follow. This was an empowering thought, a thought that pushed me beyond inspiration.
The conference was full of motivational moments and lessons, but being around these women and thinking about the fact that even if I don’t reach their level, my personal success influences the future for coming generations of women was what motivated me to take action. In fact, I took action immediately and began to pitch my business idea in conversations with these women. The reaction was positive and the more positive responses I received the more I was pushed to action. I found myself listening to the speakers and jotting down business ideas in my notebook. There was something about being in this environment elevated my creativity out of me and my ideas started to become clearer.
I am home now and the action has continued. I am working on my business plan in a formal capacity, feeling the confidence necessary to move forward, and successfully managing my fear of failure. It can be intimidating to go after your dreams for fear of disappointment or failure, but unless you try you will never get there. This entire experience has taught me to keep my eyes open, listen to my intuition and take advantage of my situation. When life hands you an opportunity, or when you create one for yourself, stay focused and do what you can to grow and push forward. From micro inspirations to huge life changing moments, the lessons learned, the honor of being recognized as a scholar by the C200, and the opportunity to be part of this community, most certainly, was far beyond inspiring.