Being the CEO of Your Life

The TrustThis week, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST 2015 Forum in Minneapolis. Save for the snow in April, it was a fabulous event designed to celebrate female leaders in health care. The room was full of outstanding and accomplished women who have made a significant difference through their work in the industry. They were inspiring and fabulous all at the same time and I was in awe.

Aside from seeing PadillaCRT’s own Janet Stacey onstage presenting as the current president of the TRUST, the highlight of the evening was a keynote address from Cynthia Lesher. Though she is the former president and CEO of Northern States Power Company, she must have been a standup comedian in another life. The 900+ women in the room collectively went to snap a photo with their phones when the slide with Cynthia’s 9 facts of life appeared. These were my favorites:

1. LET GO of guilt

If only it were that easy right? While debriefing with my colleagues, this was the take away that resonated with the majority of us. In a client service industry, we expect excellence and often perfection of ourselves because we want to give our best to our clients. But, the truth is we are human (though I still think some of the women I work with have super powers) which means sometimes we will make mistakes. The mistake doesn’t define us, but how we handle it can. We have to let go of the guilt of not always reaching perfection, because often the guilt holds us back from the future greatness we could achieve.

Catfish 22. TWEEZERS are your friend

Cynthia says she has a pact with her daughter to not let her look like a catfish in the event that she is incapacitated and can’t pluck her own chin hairs. She’s even considering adding it to her health care directive. Hence, the tweezers and the extreme laughter from the audience. Valuable advice from a wise woman.


 3. If you don’t want to burn out, STOP LIVING LIKE YOU ARE ON FIRE

Thank God someone said it! Nowadays we live in a society where saying “busy” is a response to “how are you?” And, we are constantly running around like the task at hand is THE most important task we will EVER be assigned – until the next most important task EVER. Not everything is an emergency and the truth is, the world won’t fall to hell if you take a break for a hot second (though we all like to think that).


 4. You cannot have too many PAIRS OR SHOES

In my opinion, a truer statement has never been uttered… just ask my fiancé.


5. You are not “lucky,” YOU ARE GOOD

Preach sister! This statement brings out my feminist side because this action of belittling our accomplishments seems to be a woman thing. We are so used to being the background orchestrators, the ones taking care of everyone else, that when we get recognition, our first reaction is to say it was luck or right time and right place. Stop it! We need to learn to recognize when we’ve kicked ass and celebrate that!

BossCynthia ended by asking us, “If you aren’t your title, who are you?” Wow that hit home! I get so much confidence and self-worth out of my job that I rely on my title for my identity. But what happens if I’m no longer an account executive at PadillaCRT? Who am I? Cynthia would say, “You are the CEO of your life!” At the WHL TRUST Forum I was surrounded by influential women who had clearly taken that to heart, and we’re all phenomenal CEOs if you ask me!


Photo Credits: Target, Beyond Black & White and Quotes Frenzy

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