Appreciation & Mindset: conference

I recently attended the annual Forum of WXW here in Ann Arbor.

WXW was created to connect women with other women in an open, supportive environment. We host monthly events dedicated to personal development, professional development, and networking. Since 2007, WXW has helped thousands of business women connect, learn, and succeed.

The Forum is an all-day conference that’s held each October featuring workshops, a keynote speaker, networking opportunities… You know, all the usual conference-y things you would expect.

Attending this all-day conference was a great reminder.

Attending this all-day event was such a great reminder of something I try to practice: Take what you can use and leave the rest.

Not everything at the WXW conference was “for me”. And if I focused on those things, I’d have one version of the story to tell—and I might not go back.

But there was plenty in the day-long event I could use. And that’s always the story I’d rather be telling. The glass half full story. The what it was not what it wasn’t story.

Here are a few experiences in the take what you can use column:

I went to a Positivity workshop led by Sandra Finkel and was guided through my first lovingkindness meditation done in a room full of other women. I’ve done lovingkindness meditations on my own, but it was a whole different experience—and level of love and kindness—when you’re doing it in the presence of others. That experience was such a gem. I’ll take it!

Eva Neuhaus conducted a workshop on beginning from the end: If you’d already achieved your goal, how would you feel and act? And can you feel and act that way now on your journey to the goal instead of just at the destination? Eva walked us through a guided visualization (think intuitive rather than cerebral goal setting) that blew my mind. As someone who’s not willing to defer happiness in the Here & Now for the sake of goal achievement later, I’ll take it!

I don’t think of myself as artistic, so a Zentangle workshop of meditative doodling sounded outside my comfort zone. But I adore Karen Gordon, so I signed up. There was so much in this experience that broke open my tendency toward perfectionism. Karen created a fun, safe space with her Zen-like expressions and easy way of being. I felt changed at a cellular level when I walked out of the room. How’s that for a little doodling? I’m still basking in the glow of my first Zentangle! I’ll take it!

Those were a few nuggets I could use. I’m so glad I’ve added them to my bank of experiences.

In staying true to Take what you can use and leave the rest, what did I leave?

  • I didn’t attend an ice breaker session that kicked off the event because it meant taking an earlier bus—and because ice breakers are not my sweet spot.
  • I didn’t pick up literature from the sponsor tables that I would only toss in the recycle when I got home. I left the swag untouched that would just end up being donated down the road.
  • I didn’t stay to the very end for the champagne toast because I don’t drink and I could feel my being saying, This has been great, but I’ve had enough. I’m ready to leave. I don’t ignore that voice anymore. I don’t push through and follow someone else’s agenda.
  • I also left behind the need for this conference to be life changing or even business changing. That’s a pressure I think we too often put on ourselves. My goal for the day was simply joy.

Because I showed up with Take what you can use and leave the rest as my guide, it was a wonderful day. I connected with old friends and met new ones. I answered questions and asked for advice. I took notes and networked. I laughed and learned.

I took what I could use and left the rest.

How can you practice “Take what you can use and leave the rest”? Where in your life, business, or career will this saying guide you?

P.S. Here’s the link to WXW if you’re interested in attending one of their monthly events or the WXW Forum next October.