Well, I was inspired by the chandelier in the guest bathroom at the VIP reception the night before The Texas Conference for Women, but not in a way that applies to my life in a particular way. When it comes to my life, I thought I would NOT be inspired by this conference with more than 5,000 attendees and over 100 motivational speakers because…
It isn’t that I don’t believe in living fearlessly and following my dreams, but I also believe in health insurance and paying for my kids’ college. Too many motivational speakers are superficial and full of sound bites without addressing the real issues, the gray areas and the complicated mess that make conquering your fears and following your dreams not-so-simple.
As the conference began, I had two thoughts:
1) I will NOT be inspired by superficial “Live Fearlessly” speeches.
2) If I wasn’t inspired, it wouldn’t be because I didn’t try.
I reviewed the program ahead of time and chose the topics and people I liked best. I attended as many sessions and workshops as time allowed. I met authors I liked at the book signings. I brought my resume for a resume critique. I met with a mentor at the mentor match. I didn’t leave until they were breaking down the booths and sweeping up the floors.
They made me cry twice.
The first time was in the morning in a panel session with Shannon Buggs, Gina Otto, Karen Walrond and Bobbie Weiner. All of these women had made transitions into a second career that were challenging and risky. Their stories weren’t superficial, they were real, and they had good advice. I asked a question during the Q&A, about how you give up the money and the security of a stable career when you have kids. How can that be fair to your kids? Karen Walrond said that your kids want parents who live a satisfying life more than they want money. I cried just a little because I knew she was right.
The second time was in an afternoon session. The presenter asked us get into pairs and share with each other. The most honest answer to the first question one that made me cry, just a little. By the end of the session, my partner and I were good friends. She said she felt my pain and asked if she could pray with me and we did. We didn’t practice the same religion, but that didn’t matter, she had a kind spirit and she wanted to help. It was a very personal moment and it made me cry again, just a little.
(Hey, wait, is that three times?)
And just so you know, I don’t go around crying all the time when I go to a conference. It just happened this way this time.
I left the conference with two very clear insights about my next steps. Maybe I would have had them eventually anyway, but taking the time away from everyday life and sharing a day with 5,000 women and a few motivational speakers didn’t hurt. And with all that crying, I have to be honest and say…
I Was Inspired.
(NOTE: Stay tuned this week for one more post on the Texas Conference for Women about the one thing I really didn’t like.) UPDATED with link.