But does it light you up?
As you're building your business or personal brand, it's important to be specific about they kinds of things you say yes to.
I have struggled the last few months with keeping my promise to myself to not travel. I knew March would be a month full of opportunities for speaking and sharing my story with audiences, but I also knew that I wanted to stay put to make this season of wedding planning and getting healthy easier on my body and mind.
Well, I found a middle ground. This month I was scheduled for four speaking events in NYC, Toronto, and Grande Prairie. I decided to cancel two, and keep two on deck. My criteria? The potential for meaningful impact on the audiences. One event was a donation of my time to a cause that was dear to my heart, and the other, an opportunity to inspire the youth in my community back home in Grande Prairie.
So, how did I decide what to cut? I focused on my instincts.
When I received the request to speak at the Punjabi Community Health Services annual International Women's Day gala in Brampton, there were no other words that I could say than, 'yes, of course I will'. I had never spoken in front of a primarily Punjabi audience before, and this gala was focused on 'Stories of Survival'. Everything about the event, and my amazing friends who were putting it on felt right to me, and I knew the value of the potential impact I could have on the people in that room if I made the most of the opportunity.
It was a hell yes, and my gut told me so from the second I heard about it.
Last Friday was the gala, and it was the best speech I've given so far in my career.
A week prior, I woke up at 2 am and grabbed my journal and a pen and wrote what would become my 10-minute keynote. I shared the story of my grandmother and mother and how being a 'survivor' is a gift I inherited. I shared that I had to learn that with that honour comes the responsibility to heal and find joy in our lives in spite of what's happened to us and those who came before us.
I knew as I wrote that speech that the stories I had to share would fall on hearts that would get it. Often, when I enter rooms with audiences that don't look like me, or that don't come from the same culture as me, I know I have to shift or cater my stories differently. But on Friday, I just got to tell them from my heart and soul. The response was phenomenal.
Growing up in Grande Prairie, Alberta, I didn't have a strong community of creatives my age who were Punjabi. But in Toronto/Brampton, there was an active network of young people my age coming together to uplift one another and to build a community who have grown together over the years. This was my opportunity to introduce myself, and it couldn't have gone better.
Not only was I able to make a lasting impact with people for whom my story resonated, but I was able to share my story with my peers who I look up to and admire. It was the best kind of introduction I could have asked for.
Friday is a night I'll never forget. And my instinct wasn't wrong, it was a 'hell yes' of a night.
My only other speaking event for this month is coming up this week, and I can't wait. I get to speak to the college community back home in Grande Prairie about my entrepreneurship journey and how coming up in GP helped me become the woman I am today. I also get to go home to see my family one last time before our wedding in July, a huge win/win.
I'm realizing more and more that the value of events I say yes to now comes down to two things. The event's potential for impact, and my gut reaction. What is the potential for impact on hearts and minds of the attendees in the room? What impact will this have on my wellbeing/life? What does my gut say?
This is a great compass to have when deciding what to say yes or no to. If the value of the event, opportunity, whatever it may be, fills your heart with joy and your mind with creativity then go for it. If it's a full body yes, then do it! But if it feels like something you 'should' do because of 'exposure, connections,' or whatever, then screw it. If it makes you sluggish, or gives you anxiety when you think about it, then forget about it.
This may be counter to a lot of advice out there these days, but I swear by it.
It's not worth your precious time if it doesn't light you up. It's taken me years to figure this out, and sometimes I question it, but it's more important to keep your promises to yourself than to chase things that don't actually matter or have real value in your life. So for me this month, that meant cancelling a few events so I could enjoy life more, stay true to a commitment to myself, and be even better/less run down for the events I said yes to.
Look past the smokescreens, and dive into what really matters to you.
I have, and it's been a glorious shift in perspective and life.
Until next week,
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