This last weekend I helped coordinate a big event in Redondo Beach. It’s called FierceCon. The founder of The Forever Fierce Revolution, Catherine Grace O’Connell wanted to create an event to bring together women from her community.
From all over the world.
I wanted to write about my experience there, but when Linda Williams shared her experience with the group, I was moved beyond measure. I believe her words speak the truths of many of us there.
My Experience at FierceCon 2018 Rewire & Inspire, by Linda Williams
I am not.
That is what I have spent the past year saying every day, and I didn’t even realize it.
You probably don’t know me because I am not a blogger, I am not an Instagrammer, I am not a corporate executive at the moment, I am not thin, I am not beautiful, I am not young, I am not photogenic, I am not outgoing,
I am not comfortable at a party with people I don’t know, I am not a good piano player, I am not as accomplished as others, I am not as smart, I am not a mother, I am not a joiner..you get the idea. (For those who know me well I know they will read this and scratch their head saying WTF what is she talking about. ).
But that is the tape that plays in my head for the past year and I think until this weekend at FierceCon I didn’t even hear it anymore, it had become part of my mental wiring. Put me in a professional situation or at home, I have many close friends, and I am a connector of people in my world. I am in command, confident, and driven but socially with people I don’t know I shrink.
It was such a treat to meet the women of the FiercerFierce volunteer team ( and their extraordinary husbands) in real life. They are the friends I didn’t realize I had and I adore them.
The first night was a reception party ( my worst nightmare is a party where I know only a few people and will cling to them like a life raft). I helped check people in because as long as I had a job to do then I am comfortable.
As I watched the other women interact ( I’m an observer of people) most knew each other or of each other and it was lovely to see them together. But I am not one of them. I am that awkward looking 12-year-old girl who loved books and her closest friend was the children’s reference librarian. The girl who was smart and would read books out loud to her beautiful mini-collie Bonnie.
I had the reading comprehension of a college freshman but the senior and the social skills of a 2nd grader.
Over the next few days at FierceCon,I had the opportunity to meet many of the women one-on-one and quickly saw there was a common theme among us all. We believe in Catherine and her mission of changing the perception of women at midlife; how we see ourselves and how the world and advertisers see us, that we must embrace everything about ourselves as individuals and not worry about what the rest of the world thinks.
And for every person I spoke to, thank you for being you and I truly loved meeting each and every one of you.
On Saturday we had the gift of David Ji Between his guided meditation and live interview, I felt he was there just for me because everything he said held meaning and insight. I was captivated by his wisdom and his humor.
Moving on in the day we heard two panels of women share their stories.
Every. Single. One. Had a story that got to the heart of all the things I want to be and want to do.
They were brave, funny, smart, insightful and willing to share the good and the bad with the audience. I took away several nuggets from each speaker that I vowed to incorporate into my own life. In some ways the insight and emotions were overwhelming, and at times I felt uncomfortable and wanted to retreat but I was meant to hear those stories.
Watch the video replay; I can promise you that you will be fundamentally changed in some big or small way by the time it’s over.
Saturday early evening we had a group photo shoot. YAY?
I may have mentioned that I am not photogenic, I am not an Instagrammer, and I am not comfortable being in the spotlight, so a photo shoot is WAY out of my comfort zone.
I am still that chubby 12-year-old girl with the really bad haircut and a mouthful of braces and I have the photographic evidence to prove it. Watching how comfortable most of the women were, and just being in the moment and (not in their head) having fun made me wish I could be that way.
But I am not like them.
On Sunday we had the honor of having Peter Lee, the CEO of Saranghae Skin Care give the keynote speech. Listening to him share his story of failures and success, watching him be authentic and genuinely being engaged with our group somehow created a shift in me and things started to fall into place.
One of my dear friends Daria Mathew joined me at FierceCon and asked me ( more than once) what’s wrong with you? You’re not talking about yourself, you are so accomplished and have so much to offer. I just kept shutting myself down and off, but I didn’t realize anyone else could see that.
Did I mention that I’m not a sharer of my personal experiences because who cares and I’m not that interesting?
It was on the flight home that I began to put the mosaic of the weekend’s experience together and found clarity. The weekend was about rewiring and inspiring, so I decided to share my experience at FierceCon with you. And I also want to share something else.
Starting today, I am not going to waste one more day worrying about what I am not.