April 2, 2007

Highlights of the conference and inspiration

Some of my favorite moments of the Ladies Who Launch Live Event:

Lisa Earle McLeod, author of "Forget Perfect" and "Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear," started off her presentation with her "perfect woman" bit, describing her daily routine. . . "and then I meditate for an hour." I loved when she got to the part about about putting her kids to bed at a reasonable hour, then spending quality time with her husband having meaningful conversation. The crowd roared.

Some of her main points were that people who struggle to achieve perfection and balance end up "teetering on a tightrope of insanity" and that love is the key to success. People who love what they do, and the people they're doing it with, are the most successful. She (and other speakers throughout the day) also pointed out that many highly successful people do not stop working when they make "enough" money, because money is not the reason they're working.

Chellie Campbell, author of "Zero to Zillionaire," had the stage presence of a theatrical, and somewhat crazy, money diva. Her main point was that there's nothing wrong with money and it's okay to want to be financially successful. My favorite quote from Chellie: "Do what you love and charge a lot of money for it."

She also told a fascinating story of Social Security - that it was created in 1935 to take care of people who, at that time, had a life span of about 61 years. She stated that "retirement is a lie" and that if we want to support ourselves for 20+ years after "retirement" age, then we better take matters into our own hands. This was one of those audience grabbers that every speaker looks for - something that wakes up the audience and grabs their attention.

She suggested that one thing "everyone can do today to start getting rich" is to reprogram our thoughts and use positive affirmations, such as "people love to give me money." And in case you're skeptical, she covered all bases with this one: "My affirmations work for me whether I believe they will or not." Chellie was a hoot, and made the topic of finances more fun than anyone else I've ever heard speak.

Arianna Huffington, author, columnist and radio personality, has a new book out called "On Becoming Fearless....in Love, Work and Life." She clarified her title, stating that she considers fearlessness not "the absence of fear," but "mastering fear." Aha! A woman who shares my philosophy!

She also commented on positive thinking, saying that, instead of worrying about eradicating all negative thoughts, it's more important not to get lost in your fantasies (imagining the worst) and not to "hold onto" the negative thoughts when they do come.

She also made what I considered to be a profound statement about handling criticism. She said she doesn't believe in developing a thick skin, because a thick skin keeps out the good as well as the bad. Rather, she believes in letting things "in and out quickly" - acknowledging criticism but not dwelling on it. This is a philosophy that I also share, and want to pass along in the context of public speaking.

The last speaker of the day was Jackie Collins, author of 23 New York Times best-selling novels about Hollywood's rich and famous. I haven't read her books, so I can't say I was a fan before hearing her speak, but I am now! She's incredibly disciplined; after having sold over 400 million copies of her books, she still spends some eight hours a day writing, no matter what.

She gave some excellent advice for writers who fear getting blocked: she suggested getting up every single morning and, before coffee or anything else, going straight to your desk or writing location (she writes in longhand on a yellow pad with a felt pen). Add a couple of sentences to what you wrote the day before, nothing more. Then go about your morning tasks, make your coffee and whatnot, and when you return to your writing, you'll already be warmed up - like warming up the car before starting to drive.

Every writer has stories of rejections by publishers, and she is no different. She also told of being on her own in Los Angeles as a teenager, after having been kicked out of school and sent to the States by her parents to be looked after by older sister Joan. She talked about perseverance and discipline and handling controversy and criticism.

I'm frequently uninspired by "inspirational" speakers, many of whom come across as robotic and overly polished. But the women who spoke at this event were examples of true entrepreneurs who do what they love and wouldn't have it any other way. Their stories of struggle, fearlessness and success were inspirational to me, and I appreciated their warmth and approachability toward the audience.

I also want to mention that there were sound problems throughout the day, with microphones cutting in and out, screeching feedback and other distractions. But every woman who got up on that stage handled it like a pro, with humor and an attitude of "the show must go on."

Overall, a truly inspiring and educational day.

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great event. I think I would have enjoyed it even though I'm a fella :-)

Arianna Huffington is someone who I always enjoy watching when she's on Bill Maher's HBO show.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Gosh, I haven't seen Bill Maher's show in a LONG time. She's pretty sharp - I bet she holds her own on that show.

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