This last week I was reminded again of my strengths and weaknesses and why it is so important to know the difference.
One of my strengths is Maximizer which is probably why I’m always looking to improve, for both myself and those around me. I want nothing more than to see us meet or even exceed our ultimate potential! For some, change is a dirty word however the way to overcome this is to understand that change should really be looked at as an opportunity for improvement; and for continuous improvement to become an everyday thing we must have a level of trust; otherwise it will stall or be redirected away from its true destination
For the last 6 years, I have been playing by the rules, I have quieted my voice, adapted it to “fit in” and be cautious of speaking “truths”. Have you ever been disappointed so much that you just had to raise your voice, speak out, be heard?
I attended my first FSA meeting 7 years ago as an account executive for P&S. I saw a chance to help this organization be more visible through digital media. As many of you know this didn’t quite work out as planned, so I developed Empowering Brands and then I set out to be an active member of the FSA, an association that I believe in and one that had a mission I could get behind and support.
This week at #FSAFall17 I witnessed that they had finally got there! Henri Azibert, Technical Director of the FSA, presented on how to use the #FSAKnowledgeBase, an online training platform that offers free information to help engineers and end users better understand sealing systems. It just so happened that this was right after the #FSAMeritAward that was…wait for it… presented via FaceTime and celebrated on Twitter! [Happy dance time] The icing on the cake was when the next slide on Strategic Partners presentation included the Water Summit in DC and Water Environmental Federation, WEF. Lastly was to be able to see the FSA name next to HI’s with the words “Building a Future Together” I saw this as confirmation that I had accomplished the things I had set out to do under the Marketing Chair position, but also that it was time for change…
Recently I have been reading “Braving the Wilderness” by Berne Brown; A great book about learning to be vulnerable and “The Quest for True, Belonging, and the Courage to Stand Alone”. This was so timely given the happenings of the past week. It is mostly about letting the world see the real you… I would say I did that!
When I think about me… starting at a young age I had the following:
- Demanding Respect aka Your Attention
- Speaking up for those weaker than me
- Standing by my Faith
- Crying when forced to hold my tongue, shouting when something needs to be heard, and dancing when time to celebrate.
I would not be who I am without my strong and courageous mom here to support me. I was happy she was able to be with me this week as she got to see the joy I had to be in a room full of leading ladies sharing their stories, I was truly happy and had a real smile on my face!
For a long time I have believed that change is best when and if it leads to Improvement. So, for me, when I finally made my decision to step down as marketing chair, I didn’t feel as though I was stepping down, more sliding to the right to make room for another person to step up and lead for change.
At the meetings last week I spoke about career development and used the term, “You Drive, We Assist™” I can truly say this mantra has assisted me in “Growing up at the FSA” and now I know it was time for me to DRIVE in another way, tapping into my different strengths to bring positive change elsewhere. This is where my passion for TRUTH must come through… I say all the time that “I am an open book”, but I have to confess that this is just not true. There are moments when I have seen unfairness and negativity more clearly than others but I didn’t feel I was in the position to speak up. But after being told to “just sell”, “stay out of that meeting”, and most recently “just follow the script Charli”, I had enough. How will I ever be able to lead women in our industry to speak up if I don’t stand up for myself? I will not let my voice changed to suit your needs; I will share my own thoughts, my own passions, AND my own ideas…!
So this week I used my voice to make a difference, I helped connect a group of engineers, end users, marketing, events, and CEOs for PURPOSE. That purpose: to make more efficient processes that would enable our world to work together to build better systems for our neighbors. From water to energy and to the people that run those systems… These things are important… They are VITAL to LIFE. This is something to raise my voice about! This is something to get in trouble for, to break the rules for, and to go “off the script.”
Ian Baynes has often told me “Charli, you’re not a person who colors between the lines, you are at your best when you break the rules and run against convention” and for once I’m going to take his advice.
This week I selected “trouble maker” for my badge… I want to be known for pushing the limits, breaking the rules, and causing change for good… But know my Loud Voice is others… So things can Improve… BECAUSE THEY MUST!
What are you known for?