“I can do this.”
I’ve said this to myself quite a few times this week. Not to talk myself into believing it, but because it was a revelation based on some pretty amazing encounters I had.
This past Wednesday I attended the monthly Working Women’s Wednesday luncheon, hosted by the county’s Women’s Resource Center. It was a no-brainer whether I’d attend because this month’s speaker was Dr. Debra Saunders-White, the first woman to serve as president of North Carolina Central University. Before becoming chancellor of NCCU she was a teacher, an administrator at other universities, worked for IBM for 15 years, and was deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. Even better – when I got to the luncheon, I saw a few of my sorority sisters that informed me that Dr. Saunders-White was also a member of our sisterhood (AKA #ftw!). When she was done speaking I was the first to raise my hand with a question: “If you had to choose, which one of your personal characteristics would you contribute your success to?” Her response was full of wisdom. She talked about knowing the difference between being hard-working and just working hard. Working hard is being reactive and responding to issues as the happen, while being hard working is being proactive and acting in advance of a problem occurring. She also reminded me to be a woman of conviction; that I should always do what’s right for the greater good without worrying about who I will upset. Simple advice, but coming from a woman with her professional history, it was impactful.
On Friday, I attended a one-day conference for the North Carolina Career Development Association. The keynote speaker for the day was Dr. Katharine Brooks, a very well-known professional in the field of career services. Before becoming Executive Director of Personal & Career Development at Wake Forest University, she was Liberal Arts Career Services Director at the University of Texas at Austin. Again, I received great insight on what my true purpose is every time someone enters my office concerned about what the rest of their professional lives will look like.
Dr. Brooks and Dr. Saunders-White are the types of women that you don’t run into everyday. But when you do, you realize that they are human just like you. They do great things, but they also teach others how to do great things. Which means that you can learn from them, and have the same kind of impact that they have. This is why it is important to have role models and mentors. After meeting them I said to myself, “I have what it takes. I can change lives. I can do this”. And technically, I already am. And so are you.
The key is seeing the potential in your every day choices. There’s a big difference between achieving goals and living your purpose. Goals get scratched off of a list that will get tossed in the trash, and that’s the end of that. Purpose is achieving that goal everyday; it never goes away and it never gets thrown out. Goals are fleeting activities but your habits make up your purpose. The ideas of “rise & grind” and working hard are cool… if that’s your thing. But if you want a life of meaningful encounters, then it’s time to start being intentional about your habits and believing in what you have to offer the world.
NTS: FAITH it until you make it!