I was recently ushering an event at the Aronoff Center. It was part of the Smart Talk series and featured Arianna Huffington. All I knew about her was that she was the founder of the Huffington Post, and she had basically liberal political views. I had signed up for the event thinking it was a short event to log some hours, and I'd always wondered how interesting the Smart Talk series could be. I was skeptical about this one mostly because I tend to lean to the conservative side a lot of the time, and I wondered if all she said would just rub me the wrong way.
I'm happy to say, I need not have worried. She was amazing. Not only is she incredibly smart, and a fantastic speaker, but she's real. You didn't feel like you were listening to a celebrity talk. She really seemed interested in getting her message out, and empowering the women in the audience. I may have been the usher in the back, but I felt like I could have been the only one in the room.
She spoke about having the support of a "tribe." My tribe may be small, but it's mine, and I'd be lost without them. She's right, things are so much easier when you have that tribe to talk things though with. The support of my tribe means the world to me, especially when I contemplate doing something I may not normally do. If you don't have a tribe, find one. Maybe it's just you and a close friend, maybe they're friends you meet only virtually through a common interest online. Your tribe is your support system. You don't need to have a secret handshake or password, just a mutual respect and support for one another. If you jump off a cliff, they're your parachute. Now, don't actually go jumping off a cliff to see if your friends can catch you... it's a metaphor.
She also talked about "her annoying roommate." As you're picturing someone whom she may have met in college that made her life miserable, let me explain. She's talking about that voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough. We all have that voice in our heads that criticizes us far more than any other person would. It's that voice that tells us we can't do anything right. We don't know what we're doing. We're doomed to fail. That voice is depressing.. and far too many times, that voice allows us to limit ourselves. That voice stops us from chasing our dreams because we don't think they're possible. That voice tries to make us small. Her words inspired me to try to shut out my own "annoying roommate." I want to see what I can do if I believe in myself as much as I sometimes try to doubt myself.
Finally, she talked about goals. We all have those lists that we want to accomplish. She reminded us that there's no shame to crossing something off the list that hasn't actually been accomplished. It's not a failure, it's a declaration that that item is finished. Time to move on. She showed me that failure isn't something that should be feared. Whether we want it to or not, whether we're ready for it or not, it will show up. It will rear its ugly head and make us feel bad about ourselves. However instead of being beaten down by a failure, we should use it as a stepping stone. It's just one more step on the way to success. Failure only stops us if we let it, and I won't let it for me. Not anymore.
I want to increase readership for this blog. I'm going to give it a shot. Maybe some people will be annoyed by it. Maybe some will ask me why. It's just something I want to do. Reach out to people and connect with them. So, maybe I should try to be fearless like she seems to be. Let's see how far this girl can go.