Monday, December 8, 2014

If Someone Asks for Directions to a Place You've Already Been, Always Share Your Roadmap!


I used to think I could change the world when I was younger.  Any injustice or disservice was met with a letter or phone call from me.  I championed every cause, looking to make a difference.

Over time, I grew weary of the aggravation and my energy slowly evaporated into apathy.  I rationalized it all as measuring the value of whether or not my time was worth the effort to be right…and slowly drifted away from my youthful, active-minded self.

As I’ve grown older, and debatably wiser, I have come to appreciate that fiery side of myself more.  My “stands” are few and far between, but I can assure you they still have meaning.  I like to think that time has bridged the gap between energy and empathy and created a new resolve to make a more meaningful difference in areas that matter the most and where my time is worth the investment required to make a change.

And so I spend less time arguing with nuisance calls about pointless subject matter and more time with people. 

As a woman in the workforce, I can’t honestly look back and share many role models that paved a path for where I walked.  Twenty or thirty years ago it was less common for women to succeed and sadly, more common for those who did succeed, to squash the rest down given the tough terrain.

Almost serendipitously, I began to realize what a loss that was in my own career as slowly, younger women starting out in business began to approach me for advice.  And it brought me full circle in a world where I began to believe that no one could make a difference and realized that you can…it just happens one person at a time.

Today, I received a thank you card in the mail from a young woman, who reached out months ago asking for coffee and advice.  I don’t work with her, I didn’t know her, and she wasn’t introduced by anyone.  I accepted her invitation and shared freely what I take for granted as my personal journey…I also realized in reading her note that making a difference in one person’s life goes both ways as she most assuredly left an impression in mine.  She wrote:

“It was such a pleasure getting to talk with you about careers in communications.  Thank you again for your willingness to meet, your valuable input, and for sharing your story with me.  As a young woman, it means the world to me to hear from strong, bright women – and to be influenced by their perspective.  Thanks again.”

My advice to anyone, who asks directions to a place you have already been, is to always, always, share your roadmap!

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