One of the Onlys

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FountainBlue’s September 9 When She Speaks program was on the topic of ‘One of the Onlys’. Please join me in thanking our esteemed panelists. Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, but they had much in common:

  • They navigated personal and professional hurdles to successfully rise in influence, role and position, and continue to lead with increasing responsibility.
  • They persevered despite the challenges and continue to raise the bar for themselves and for those around them.
  • They were supported by many who helped them to succeed, and are, in turn, supporting others.

Below is a compilation of their advice and insights on how to succeed, despite being one of the onlys.
Be self-aware and self-centered.

  • Have the self-awareness to deeply accept yourself and all your many qualities – the good and the bad.
  • Filter the input and feedback you receive from others, so you can manage how it impacts the choices you make. 
  • Consider carefully the difference between the perceived intent of a comment or action vs the actual thoughts, words or actions itself. (As a corollary, minimize the negative impact any one thought, word or action might have on you, especially if you’re not even sure that there was any negative intent!)

Be worthy of the opportunity and responsibility of being one of the onlys.

  • Be curious, competent, other-centered, agile, respectful, supportive, and resilient.
  • Be clear on your objectives and your cause, but flexible about how things might be implemented and when things should get done.
  • Adapt to the social and political dynamics of each project scenario, not just to the job and project requirements. 
  • Accept that others may have stereotypes about who you are based on your  physical and other traits, but prove yourself to them, despite their perceptions of you, by focusing on getting things done and delivering exceptional results.

Communication is key.

  • Listen to what is said and what is not said to understand how to best navigate challenges and opportunities.
  • Know your audience – what’s important to them, how they would best respond to you.
  • Know your values, your brand, your unique value-add, and be consistent in communicating them. 

Lean on others.

  • Build relationships and support networks which would help you better understand opportunities and challenges.

Grow those around you.

  • Facilitate the growth of those around you, and keep raising the bar for all.
  • Have the grace to be kind and supportive of others, for you never know what we are each navigating.

Our esteemed panelists invited us all to keep reaching for stars, daring to be a bigger version of ourselves, even if we have to be one of the onlys.


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