International Women’s Day: How to Get Started on Your Dream Life.

Today is International Women’s Day, and I am filled with the desire to tackle a mountain, which it feels like I have considering the amount of work that piled up while I was home sick. Last year I found myself reflecting on all of the incredible women that inspire me. This year, I want to focus on the power that we as women have, and how to harness it!

Three years ago, Carrie Abernathy, Kiki Fox (née Janssens), Mas Tadesse, Tamela Blalock and I cofounded the Association for Women in Events. Last week, I showcased us at the Exhibitor Live show in Las Vegas, and this week we were featured in Smart Meetings Magazine.

Though I have stepped down from the board of directors this year, I am still very active with the organization, and today on International Women’s Day, one thing I am reflecting on is what an incredible achievement the organization is. I remember when Carrie proposed the idea, thinking, we can’t do this! This is crazy! How are we ever going to pull this off?! It certainly was challenging and that doubt could have finished us before we started. But I swallowed my fears and threw caution to the wind, and we just DID it because sometimes you just need to take that leap. I want to remember how that felt and soak it up.

Today, I want to encourage all women to take a leap. It might be something small, it might be something big and bold, but you can’t get started if you don’t make the jump. It might not happen overnight. The greatest things you’ll do sometimes begin with uncertainty! Absolutely, starting AWE was terrifying, but it helped to inspire my next big move. Some might say, starting a new career is less terrifying than cofounding an entire women’s association, but to me it was very personal, and with my own financials involved, it was a lot more scary. When I quit my full time position managing one of the largest trade shows in the country, I had some clients, but the money was definitely not the same. In six months time though, I had brought in enough work to be making more money than when I resigned. It took an inordinate amount of hard work, hustle, and calling through every contact I had. It’s still an inordinate amount of hard work, hustle, and calling through every contact I have. But it’s worth it.

As I look at the next steps for me and my business and my blog, I’ve sat down and made some lists on how to get there. At Exhibitor Live and the breakfast that AWE and Women in Exhibitions put on, our speaker talked about designing our dream life. I’ve put together some tips drawing on her talk as inspiration, from her and me.

  • What does my dream life look like? It doesn’t have to be exact, but writing down ideas like, “mornings free” or “working from home” are what you need.
  • Look at the aspects of your job that you hate and see if there are any ways to outsource. Hire an assistant (even if it’s for a small amount of hours each week, or project based).
  • Set the goal: Decide what your goal is, before you set out to achieve it. Is it something very specific? Is it something abstract?
  • Location: Where do you want to be? How can you make that move? How can you make your current surroundings work better for you?
  • Support: Who is your network, and who can you speak with to further your plans. Tell people what you are trying to do! Even if they can’t help you per se, they might still be able to advise you or provide more information. Your contacts cannot help you if you don’t let them know you are looking.
  • Steps: What are the steps/milestones that you’ll need to take to get where you want to be?
  • Thresholds: I read an article on Gal Meets Glam yesterday, where they discussed setting threshold markers for yourself to move on to the next steps.
  • Research: learn as much as you can about the goals you have set and the steps you are designing. See if others have done it before. Find as much information as you can!
  • Start: Kick things off!

Take today to write down your ideas, make that phone call, email that client. Today we celebrate women, and to do so, we must celebrate ourselves! Take the leap, ladies. You’ll never get anywhere until you make the first step!

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