Have you ever gotten up to speak in public and had a plan for what you’d say—then totally gone off script? That recently happened to me. I had the honor to be on a panel hosted by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce as part of their Women of the Chamber Luncheon series (#ChamberChicks). The panel theme was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was seated amongst outstanding women leaders who were inspiring in their careers and in the lives they lead outside the working day. I joined Penny Burch, General Manager of Magic City and Brandi McCune, Retail Area Sales Manager at U.S. Cellular. Not only that, the panel was hosted by someone who makes me laugh on a daily basis, co-host of the K92 Morning’ Thang, Monica Brooks.
One of the questions we were asked was related to how we have managed to overcome obstacles in our career. It was this question that caused me to share a mantra I didn’t realize has become so meaningful, “Life’s too short not to sparkle.” Not only does it apply to each of us as we pursue our individual careers—it applies to businesses as well.
Truly, when those words came out of my mouth on the panel I surprised myself. This advice is something I normally say to my five-year-old daughter half in jest. I have never shared it with a room full of accomplished business leaders from across the Roanoke Valley. While it may sound lighthearted the implications are quite meaningful. I explained that when I am at my very best, maximizing on the ways I have been uniquely gifted, I will shine. That is what enables me to overcome hard times and adversity.
Each of us should choose to unashamedly pursue who we have been made to be—and know we will shine (or sparkle) in the process. It is when we are open to embracing our best qualities and pursuing our passions that we really come alive. I attribute my success as a businessperson to the fact that I am both passionate and gifted as a marketing professional.
This isn’t just about personal development. Businesses need to take heed of this advice and find their own ways to sparkle, shine, and highlight what makes them unique and wonderful. I often find that businesses become numb to what makes them interesting and amazing. I love asking new contacts and clients “why” based questions. Why do you like your job? Why do you do what you do? Why did your company start in the first place? Rooted in why you will find what makes that business shine.
Unfortunately, sometimes the day-to-day grind dulls your shine–but not all hope is lost. Through rebranding efforts, strategy development, and a dynamic marketing plan the sparkle can be uncovered once again. Other times, it is even more simple that than. Pause to reflect on many of those “why” based questions as a means of refocusing as an organization.
Out of all the comments I shared during my time on the panel most women followed up with me about my promise to always sparkle. Maybe my spontaneous and unexpected response was a message more people need to hear and more businesses need to heed. If you find yourself in either of those categories—a little lost and without your shine—I’d love for you to reach out.