Friday, April 25, 2014

What the Will to Lead Looks Like



On Wednesday, I met Governor Haley.  She looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand firmly, greeted each of the panelists to whom I had been speaking, and took a question I had prepared for her.

“We were just about to share the best advice we’ve ever received,” I said. “Would you like to offer some?”
 
Governor Nikki Haley stops by Lean In Columbia
She smiled and there was a slight pause as she gathered her thoughts during which others in the room chuckled awkwardly that I’d put her on the spot.

This couldn’t possibly be the hardest thing anyone has ever asked her.

She said, “I use a 24-hour rule.” Whenever there is a decision to be made, she explained, she gives herself 24 hours to ensure it’s the right one.

“We have talked before about emotion being one of the challenges to women leaders,” I said, indicating the group, my Lean In circle, about forty of whom were in the room.

“But it’s also what makes us great,” she said. “We’re passionate.”

Our Lean In circle is gaining traction.

My co-founders and I bonded over Sheryl Sandberg’s book and we’ve been taking to the stage in Columbia to publicly encourage dialogue about issues facing women in business.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Celebrating Wordsmith Studio: Becoming a Real Writer



Before Wordsmith Studio, I wasn’t a Real Writer. I didn’t actually write. Not really. I played around some. Had a couple of novels in the deepest, most hidden files of my computer.

But in February 2012, I learned we were moving from the Upstate of South Carolina to Clemson Road. I would have to leave my real job behind.

I wanted to be a writer.

So I started this blog and I started looking around for advice, avenues, and allies. The path to real writerhood.

I found Writer’s Digest and Robert Lee “My Name is Not Bob” Brewer. In April 2012, he hosted a writers’ Platform Building Challenge on his blog. In the challenge, he had daily social media tasks. Things like read a blog and leave a comment. Open a Twitter account. Get a Facebook page.

Through comments of all the other participants, I learned there were dozens of people trying to do what I was trying to do: trying to tell other people that they were Writers.

Before Wordsmith Studio, I was a “Shhhhh…writer.”

Whispered as if unwilling to admit it.

Though my entire life I’ve felt called to storytelling, prose, composition and revision, I had yet to admit that passion to anyone.

Well, not since undergrad (1999) when it was made clear that being a writer was Just Too Hard and would never make me any money. I was encouraged to want money.

And not since my brief stint as a sportswriter (2000) when it was made clear that being a writer meant following around athletes who were Actually Accomplishing Something while I just took notes.

In 2012, I was in the middle of my dissertation research. I was writing the biggest, most important manuscript of my life. But I called myself Doctoral Researcher.

I was teaching English classes and I called myself English Professor.

I was freelancing, writing anything anyone would pay me for and I called myself an independent contractor.

I was blogging and I called myself a Job Seeker.


Then Wordsmith Studio. Born out of the platform challenge, Wordsmith Studio was the enterprising idea of early adopters who wanted to take our collaborative group and make something out of it. Give it a domicile of its own, a website, a Facebook group, a Facebook page, a Twitter account.