Purpose

This was written while drinking wine and ignoring The World Series… 

I am currently in a course titled “Leadership Stories: Literature, Ethics, and Authority” and this week we’ve discussed social media at length. Specifically, how the digital age has evolved story telling. A clear theme from the class discussion was one’s ability to curate their life and to manage the way they are perceived. Some shared that they tend to only share positive things; one student referenced an ESPN article she had recently read about a girl who committed suicide even though her Instagram profile reflected something else. This caused me to reflect on the image I put forward of myself both through social media and this blog.

In many ways, I try to share both my highs and lows. The purpose of this blog is to connect with others online. Sure, a majority of my readers are family and friends, but there are also a lot of people who just stumble upon it. I want to show how someone who suffers from depression and who had a difficult childhood can still achieve and take matters into her own hands.

At the same time, not all the stories in my life are my own to tell. Which is sometimes why I sorta drop from the site. I don’t always know how to share my own internal struggles while upholding the privacy of others.

Personally, I’ve said and done literally tons of stupid things and I never try to appear perfect (except when I’m trying to convinced Joe I am perfect, but that is a little different). I can fully imagine a future-world in which I question my decision to be so public about my thoughts and feelings. However, writing and sharing my feelings has allowed me to grow in ways I may never fully understand. Which is why I don’t think it will ever be something I regret.

At the same time, I can be very lucky. I also believe I make my own luck. I hope there are things about me that make people think “wow, I can look up to her AND I can see parts of myself in her” and “oh! maybe I can go to MIT/apply for this job/put myself out there too!” I believe inspiration is most powerful when you are able to see yourself in another’s shoes and that’s pretty much all I want. I want others to know they can.

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Come as you are

I have a mentor in my life that I very much look up to. She was my first manager after college, and even though we only worked together for a short time, we have remained in contact. It can be hard to describe what makes certain people just click, but with her, its her ease. She is so approachable and you know that she has your (well, my) best interest in mind. I can say or ask anything, and that’s always okay.

She is also extremely driven. I see a lot of me in her, in that even though she has a very successful career, she still pursues interests academically. She is working on getting her Ph.D while working full time, raising two children, and being involved in local organizations. I think she also has really good taste in cars.

Anyway, this mentorship relationship works because while I am so impressed with who she is, she see’s so much in me. This evening, she and I were wrapping up a board meeting and she nearly got teary eyed talking about how excited she is for my future. When I sometimes forget it myself, it is really nice and reassuring to know that other people believe in me too.

One lesson that really sticks out from her though, is that her philosophy is “come as you are.” Whether you are working on her team or with her on a board, she doesn’t want to shape anyone into being something they are not. When she first tapped me to be on this nonprofit advisory board I was all like “umm… okay… but, I don’t know anything about nonprofit boards and I don’t know anyone who can give a lot of money and I’m not really sure what I will bring to the table…” but she didn’t care. She knew that I had a lot to offer and even though it wasn’t in the form of money or to people with money, it was valuable to the organization.

Further, I get a sense that it is okay to be me. I came into this board not knowing what I would do, and even though it has taken a few months, I’m finally beginning to see my role. I love networking and meeting with people and collaborating any way possible. So, yes, I have a lot of random connections throughout the cities and yes, I will leverage them to help everyone out. And yes, I will just come as I am.