10/29/2012 11:19 am ET Updated Dec 29, 2012

Carpe Diem, Ladies!

So here I sit on a cramped airplane heading to North Carolina. It's been a long day, and it's only noon. A steady rhythm of snores is emanating from the man sitting next to me. He's passed out cold with his head tilted back and his mouth wide open. If it were my husband, I'd give him a swift elbow jab to startle him out of his state of nasal inertia. But, alas, he is not my husband, and I resist the temptation. Despite these circumstances, I sit here ecstatic. Why?

Well, if you had told me a month ago that I would be blogging for the Huffington Post, I'd have most likely given you the same unbelieving look I'm giving the human wind tunnel sitting next to me now. Truth is, I've never written a blog before. At the most, I've crafted a few witty social media posts that had greeting-card potential. So how did I get the honor of this platform? I seized an unexpected opportunity. Carpe diem.

A few weeks ago, I attended a women's leadership conference in Pennsylvania with thousands of amazing women. Arianna Huffington was a keynote speaker and her confidence and wit inspired me. At the end of her speech, she invited the attendees to email her with comments or questions. I quickly scribbled down the address she provided and hurried off to get a good spot in line for the restroom (it was a women's conference, after all, so bathroom stalls were at a premium). That Friday night, as I was cleaning out my briefcase, I came across the notebook in which I had written her email address. Without much thought, I pulled out my laptop and wrote a brief note of thanks. I mentioned the good fortune in my working life: Not only am I privileged to have a great career at an organization that actively supports the advancement of women in leadership, but I also currently oversee an all-female leadership team. Needless to say, her comments on women leaders, diversity of thought, and sleep deprivation (that's another blog) had resonated with me on many levels. By the next morning, Arianna had responded with an invitation to blog on the topic. Carpe diem.

As I've sat here reflecting on what to write about for my first blog, I realized that "seizing the moment" has been a pattern in my life and one from which I've benefited greatly. That message, in and of itself, is one worth spreading, I believe. You see, life moves at a fast pace. If you are not careful, it will pass you by, along with the many subtle (and not so subtle) opportunities that present themselves to you along the way. In those moments when opportunities surface, you can choose to do one of two things. One option is to dismiss the opportunity (we women are good at that) by telling yourself things like "I'm too busy," "I won't have an impact anyway," "they weren't really serious," etc. You know the drill. The other option is to ignore that annoying voice feeding your self-doubt and act on the opportunity that has presented itself. As a female colleague once told me, "You've earned a seat at the table -- so sit at it!" Get the point? Carpe diem.

I'd like to say that everything I've accomplished in my life has resulted from my possession of a clear vision, a carefully laid-out plan, and the organization and rigor to set a goal and execute against it. Yeah, I'd like to say that. For those who know me well, however, it's all too plain that I'm simply not that organized. Unfortunately, even for the blessed few who have organizing, planning, and list-making down to a science, the pivotal moments in life tend to come quickly out of nowhere and just as swiftly disappear. Are you paying attention? If you are, what are you doing about it? Carpe diem, ladies. Carpe diem.