Texas Conference for Women: Power of Possibility

Today’s blog post by Heather Caraway is the third in our series about the 2013 Texas Conference for Women. Make sure to check out the first and second blog in the series. Come back next Tuesday to read the next blog in this series!

Heather Caraway is a Global Project Manager in Commercial Sales Operations at Dell, Inc. She helps to lead the global deployment and optimization of a sales enablement tool designed to deliver Dell’s hardware and services to customers for evaluation. Heather has been involved in CASA, Hill Country Conservancy, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Leadership Austin, and served on the Board of Directors for the Young Women’s Alliance. She is currently enjoying life as a newlywed and loves reading, writing, fitness, anything outdoors, exploring new things in Austin, and traveling. 

As weird as it is, I often think about the mortality of human life and how we only get so many chances. It’s easy to discount your life and to think that there is only one of you and a ton of issues or problems to tackle so why try or make an effort?
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Texas Conference for Women where the theme was “The Power of Possibilities”. I couldn’t help but ask myself as I sat during the opening session amongst 5,000+ women feeling fairly overwhelmed: But how do you take the idea that there is only one you, and a ton of possibilities for your life and actually DO something about it?”  I have a tendency to overcomplicate things (ahem, analysis paralysis) so when the answer hit me around 10 a.m. as I was attending a session with the fabulously hilarious Mel Robbins, a CNN and HLN Legal contributor, lawyer-turned-life coach, and author of Stop Saying You’re Fine, it was a little too simple for my taste – how do you take one you, one life, and create the limitless Power ofPossibilityYou just do. We sabotage ourselves at every turn. Our brains don’t want us to work outside our comfort zone and as long as we are trying to do things that take extra effort or brain mass (which let’s face it, is anything worth doing), we are going to tell ourselves no. We are going to come up with a million excuses why we shouldn’t do it instead of one as to why we should.
I’ll give you an example from about 5 minutes ago – writing this blog post, I told myself about 10 reasons why I couldn’t/shouldn’t do it: I got sick for a week and I missed the deadline, the deadline was over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I am still getting over being sick, I’m too busy with family, I’m out of town, I don’t know what to write about, I haven’t written in a long time, what if it isn’t relevant, it’s not that important that I write it…so on and so forth.
And then I started to think about Leymah Gbowee, a keynote speaker at the conference. Leymah is a Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian peace activist who helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 (whoa, bring on the power). At one point she and her family lived as homeless refugees, begging for food and almost starving, yet she took the single act of getting a group of women together to talk about what action they were going to take to stop the violence affecting so many – and she did it. I wonder – how many times did her brain tell her no, and that she couldn’t do it? And how many times did she forge ahead anyway?
In today’s world, we have an infinite number of decisions on a daily basis and those decisions lead to possibilities…or they don’t. How many times do we let those moments to grasp a possibility or change for our life pass us by because we let our brains win? I think sometimes we feel said action has to be some large gesture in one swoop, like losing 50 pounds, writing a book, or ending social injustice in the world. But it doesn’t – it can be something as small as turning off the TV and going for a walk, writing a paragraph in a notebook, or volunteering once a month with an organization that brings development and opportunity to the disadvantaged. If we get into a place of action, of doing, then we are automatically putting ourselves into the Power of Possibility.But if we do nothing, then our brain will continue to tell us no, our lives don’t change, and the world doesn’t change.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Stop Saying You’re Fine:
It’s time to reconsider your limits. In the modern world, fear is baggage. You need to question all those feelings and signals that your unconscious mind is sending you. Caution keeps you from making a change. Worry stops you from taking action. Uncertainty prevents you from exploring and breaking out of your routines. Anxiety inhibits you from taking even the most basic risks…You must break out of your personal ruts so you can truly and honestly feel happy and satisfied with your life. Finding meaning and purpose in your life is the “new survival.”
So, that is my challenge to myself and to you – what is the ONE action you are going to take today to reconsider your limits and open yourself up to the Power of Possibility? What is the one thing you can do today that may change your life next week or the world in a year? Ignore your brain, and go do it.

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