Are you remarkable?
Most of us would sheepishly cast our eyes downward and mumble a quiet “not really”.
While women are able to comment and applaud other women who are doing amazing things with their lives and career, they often forget to congratulate themselves on their own achievements. It’s a tendency for the gender that many of us still are not able to overcome, which is why a simple exercise can help to remind you of all the reasons why you are remarkable.
As part of the Leaders’ Conference in Palo Alto this year for LeanIn.org, I was fortunate to have a chance to experience the power of Google’s #IamRemarkable workshop. The exercise is quite simple, but the impact can be long term if you redo the exercise for yourself every week as a reminder.
From my experience as a participant in the workshop, I would say that my two biggest takeaways were:
We need to remind ourselves more often of all the things we manage to accomplish (or all the promises we still manage to keep to ourselves or others) despite our increasingly busy lives;
It is still difficult to tell others of my accomplishments or to even consider them AS accomplishments. Most women are overly modest about all the amazing things they do(!)
Here are the basic steps to the workshop:
Arrange attendees into groups and have them sit at their own table (our group had 10 people);
Get everyone acquainted with some ice breaker exercises;
Pass out blank sheets of paper and then let attendees know that their task is to fill out the entire sheet with things that make them remarkable (pause to capture the horrified and at the very minimum uneasy looks from every attendee - “what?! I have to talk about how great I am?!”)
After giving everyone sufficient time to fill in their sheets of paper, have them go around the table and share what makes them remarkable.
If you thought coming up with enough things to fill the page in step 3 was hard, step 4 literally made me cry (correction: bawl). If I had to describe what I was feeling as I was sharing these items I wrote down, it was a mixture of joyful tears that I have managed to keep some important personal promises and frustration with the perfectionist still saying it’s not good enough.
To get you started on your list of #IamRemarkable items, here are a few that I shared during my session:
I am remarkable because…
…I make time to see my niece 4 times per week
…I make time to eat dinner with my family 4 times per week
…I take care of my health by exercising 4 times per week (4 isn’t my default number I assure you)
…I raised $500K for my first business, the world’s first online currency exchange, when I was 23
…I licensed and produced Canada’s first VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out when I was 27
…I built a marketing agency and team that stays true to my values of delivering great work, being honest and putting the clients’ needs first
…I am on my way to realizing my dream of running a magazine with Pendulum Magazine(!)
Notice that the first few things I wrote down that day were related to my personal life and my relationships. If I had taken this workshop while I was still in my 20s, I may have stressed my work accomplishments, but my priorities have shifted as I progress into my 30s, where I recognize the importance of nurturing my support network.
This exercise isn’t meant for you to share your resume and your career highlights and compare it against other attendees; if this is how you perceive this exercise, you will not be able to experience the purpose of this workshop. Only by digging deep, observing and recognizing the big AND little things you do every day that makes you remarkable, will you truly be able to benefit from the #IamRemarkable workshop.
#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative that strives to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond, thus breaking modesty norms and glass ceilings.
To find out more about the initiative and to register for a Train-the-Trainer session where you can get certified to deliver the workshop in your workplace and/or community, visit the webpage here.