What to Do When Your Plans Encounter a Pandemic

young woman pinning notes on a bulletin board to keep track of plans

Now that at least some of the shock of living in a global pandemic is diminishing, it may be time to ask: How do we pick up the pieces and start thinking creatively about next steps—or, perhaps, even how to re-invent ourselves in a new world?

But before even beginning to try to answer that, it may be helpful to recall Anne Lamott’s classic insight into the creative process.

In Bird by Bird, Lamott writes: “the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.” There are no “good second drafts and terrific third drafts” for anyone, she says, without that first messy step.

That truth about creativity, like innovation, prompted us to talk recently with Mary Laura Philpott, Conference for Women speaker and bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink.

“Now, and moving forward with every passing week, we have to be even more creative because we’re not coasting on novelty anymore,” said Philpott, who has been compared to Nora Ephron. “We can’t coast on the excuses we had in the beginning, when there was a snow day-like feeling. We have to figure it out.”

If You Feel Blocked

But what if you feel like you don’t have it in you to create what comes next?

“What I always tell younger writers who ask me about how to overcome writer’s block is that there is no such thing. It’s a label we give to fear, when we are afraid of what we have to do or it is difficult,” says Philpott.

The same applies to innovation in business settings, she says. “There is no such thing as innovation block. There is fear. There is exhaustion. But we can do it.”

“I know many women in this audience are planners by nature and visionaries,” Philpott continued. “So many women at these conferences have told me what they were working on now, and what they were planning for five years from now.”

“I know it can be deeply demoralizing to someone who has that visionary tendency to hit an obstacle, and an obstacle that drags on a long time like this one. But we need to remember that time keeps moving forward. This is not life forever. This is life right now.”

Obviously, she added, we still have to focus on how to get through this moment. But don’t give up on your plan or vision in the process. “Save a little time every day to think about it.”


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Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Goals & Priorities, Innovation Tagged , |

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Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Life Balance, Innovation Tagged , , |

50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present & Future of Women and Power | 2019 Session

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ENCORE | Unstereotype: Tools to Un-Bias the Office | 2019 Session

The unconscious assumptions we all harbor about people who differ from us get in the way of good intentions; can bias our assessments of employees, candidates and clients; and ultimately influence decisions to hire, fire and promote. Leadership expert Deborah Pine will open the session with a brief presentation that challenges your assumptions, takes you outside of your comfort zone and addresses the systemic and institutional biases to which we are all vulnerable. Sharing their personal experiences and advice, a panel of experts will discuss systemic bias, how it’s perpetuated, and how you, as an individual can disrupt its mechanisms to “unstereotype” and un-bias your office! Read More

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Thinking in Bets: Lessons in Unemotional RiskTaking and Decision-Making | 2019 Session

Do you know when to cut your losses? In poker and throughout our lives, we are more successful when we maximize the time spent in favorable situations and minimize time in unfavorable ones. But many of us are too quick to quit when we are winning, or refuse to walk away from a losing game. Former World Series of Poker champion-n turned-business consultant Annie Duke lives with uncertainty, and has found that the key to long-term success is to think in bets. In this workshop, she examines how the interaction of many cognitive biases can cause us to miss good opportunities and continue on when the odds are against us. She shares strategies to avoid these decision-making pitfalls and learn to take a longer term view. By shifting perspective and embracing uncertainty, you will start accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, improving your decision-making abilities in your career, and at home. Read More

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Posted in Success & Leadership, Innovation, Breakout Session Tagged , , , , , |

Is there room for all of US?

Stephanie Browne“The majority of the U.S. population will be people of color by 2050.”

By Stephanie Browne, VP of Talent Acquisition and Chief Diversity Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Did you know that the majority of the U.S. population will be people of color by 2050?

Companies who count the public as the main consumer of their products and services will need to be even more aware of the likes and dislikes of all their customers. They will need to be culturally competent to understand the different cultures that shape their consumers’ opinions on health, foods, travel and community. If everyone in your company has similar backgrounds and experiences, this can’t happen. It’s important to invest and embrace in an employee base that is generationally and racially diverse, and gender-balanced. You must create a culture that fosters curiosity and respect for all ideas, allows for continuous learning and is free of bias that hinders innovation. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Innovation Tagged , |
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