Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting and mingling with members of the OIWC (Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition), as one of their speakers in their year long series on Change – an event hosted by REI in Berkeley CA. I was struck by how much fun it is to be with a group of aspiring and inspiring women leaders.
Last night, I had the added pleasure of attending their Burlington event, hosted by Terry Bicycles, full of more inspiring and aspiring women leaders, our treasures in Northern Vermont. Liz Robert, CEO of Terry Bicycles, was the speaker for this event, and a big draw that got me in my car in the midst of the drumbeat of business. Liz’s message of paying attention to opportunity – no matter how it presents itself, is one every leader and aspiring leader needs to keep top of mind in these times of change.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, we shared some common themes in both our talks. One of which, and I’ll steal a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt to capture it, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do”, is key to seeing and taking the opportunities that open unexpected doors for women who aspire to inspire. As a leadership and change coach, I’m often asked to share tips and techniques in achieving success in change. Here’s the one that goes along with Eleanor’s quote, and which Liz described as ‘taking the quantum leap’ – Pay attention to what you want, without knowing how you are going to get there. It’s about taking action, one action, and then – of course – it leads what’s next.
This way of focusing and taking action is especially important for women because often women have a less direct path to walk through life and work. We’re more apt to have our attention and energy diverted by childbearing, family, and a different set of expectations as we set out to navigate life’s changes. You must do the thing you cannot do to take the quantum leap.
Both Liz and I shared stories at OIWC of taking jobs for which we weren’t sure we had the right experience, without clear expectations of what they would entail – whether it’s the risk taking of the entrepreneur or working within the biz/corporation.
Doing the thing you think you cannot do, taking the quantum leap, means being open to what is needed/offered and knowing you can provide value – even though you’re not sure how it will play out.
Many of life’s greatest gifts are surprises. If you navigate change like riding a bike, you’ll make the most of the opportunities along the way!