Several thousand women from Massachusetts and beyond attended the virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women last Thursday. I want to share some of the things I found inspiring. Are you ready?

Jay Shetty, a former monk and host of the podcast On Purpose, talked about how gratitude is a science-based strategy to increase joy and happiness. That wasn’t new information to me. Gratitude signals that we are cared for and we are not alone. What was new to me was that gratitude works best when it is expressed, specific and personalized. This led me to think that the next thank you note I write should say more than just “thank you” and include more details of what it was I appreciated.

Stacey Abrams lives by the Eisenhower Matrix! With all she has accomplished in the world of politics and organizing, Abrams is also a prolific fiction writer. When she was asked how she gets it all done, she went right to the Eisenhower Matrix and combined it with “work-life Jenga.” She said, “Work-life Jenga says that there is no balance, there’s just a lot of stuff you want to do and your job is to pull out the pieces that you need and hope the whole thing doesn’t topple.” Abrams also talked about overcoming setbacks. She took time to grieve her gubernatorial loss in 2018 and then “celebrated her failure” and went right back to work. She said “by celebrating failures we celebrate the ambition and the fear and the attempt and sometimes the attempt is what really matters.” Losing the race in 2018 gave her opportunities she never would have imagined. I will be watching her next run for the top office in Georgia with keen interest.

It was heartbreaking to hear Selma Blair talk about the pain she experienced for most of her life prior to her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Modern medicine has so much farther to go to care for women’s health.

Erin Falconer was my favorite discovery. Erin is a psychotherapist, co-owner of Pick the Brain, — one of the most popular and trusted self-improvement communities on the web — and co-host of the Pick the Brain Podcast. She is the author of How to Get Sh*t Done, a productivity book for women. I’m still processing why I liked her so much. I found her fascinating and could have listened to her all afternoon. She talked about the difference between being productive and being busy and how to connect to your purpose. I may need to buy her book.

Kiana Pierre-Louis of Bentley University encouraged us to develop and maintain strong professional networks. She stated 75% of high ranking women have a close knit professional network, which helps to build and maintain confidence. I found myself nodding and appreciating my amazing colleagues who mean so much to me.

I find the Massachusetts Conference for Women to be so inspiring. I would love to hear about what you are doing for your own professional learning. Email me at drkimburns@gmail.com or connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram. You can also sign up for my newsletterSome Things to Think About.

Have a great week!

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