Live Smart Series 2015, the second annual conference for Smart Girls Group, featured an exciting new aspect this year: the Smart Book. When the schedule for the conference was released, attendees wondered about this “activity” and eagerly anticipated discovering what it would be since there was no description given. As it turns out, the Smart Book was Emily’s brainchild and was cultivated by her and the rest of the SGG team as a means to extend the conference’s effects beyond the time together in New York. In order to accomplish this task, each page of the book was dedicated to a different topic.
The pages and lessons of the Smart Book were very similar to those of the five seminars designed for SGG Campus Chapter programs. Everything attendees wrote in the book was for the benefit of their own self-reflection in order to meet the goal of the SGG team: to make the conference a turning point for all the girls there so that they could continue to be inspired well beyond their days in the city. I believe this was accomplished, and in case you didn’t get to attend, or you did and are looking for more guidance on how to continue being empowered by what you accomplished at the Live Smart Series, here are some takeaways from when Emily spoke about the purpose of each page:
“We really believe the first step to knowing you’re smart and owning that power is how you speak about yourself.”
A huge point that Emily made was the notion of changing your language to change your world. Each and every one of us is smart, but we have to own that and let other people that we know how #girlboss we are. If we speak negatively about ourselves, or try to brush away the compliments people give us, we aren’t fully embracing our smarts and exuding the confidence of a Smart Girl. We have to work to eliminate the no’s, the I can’t do that, the impossibles, the I’m not good/right enough from our language. You can do anything, you just have to believe it and show others that you know what you’re capable of.
Be aware of your blind spots.
When you’re trying to assess your strengths, you have to also know where you’re blind to them. Maybe something that used to be a strength is something you could now work a little bit more on. Or perhaps a “weakness” is actually a strength. You have to constantly check in with yourself to ensure that you’re keeping up with changes you go through, and that you’re evolving to continue to perform well and be your best Smart Girl self. We’d hate to see you fall behind because you lost your sense of self-awareness.
Don’t get too comfortable with yourself, but don’t get too stressed out either.
There was something Emily said that really stuck with me, “We have anchors, but we need to have wind that can push us forward.” We all have our strengths, the things we’re good at, the things that keep us grounded and sane. But we wouldn’t be Smart Girls if we always stuck to doing what we are comfortable with. What makes us smart is taking on challenges, even if they seem time-consuming and restrictive. You have to give them a chance to be able to say that you really have tried to push yourself to do more, to be better, to become a true Smart Girl. No one ever made history making the “safe” choice.
But on a similar note, you also need to make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard. Learn about what you can and can’t control. If something is stressing you out but it’s something that is entirely out of your control, walk away from it for a while and then come back to it with new insight and new energy. In the meantime, focus on what you can control and leave your unique Smart Girl touch on it.
You’re the only one who can achieve the life you want.
Emily asked us all, “What does your day feel like when you wake up in the morning?” No, you didn’t read that wrong. It really says feel. I was surprised, too; most of the time people ask what your day looks like when you wake up. The purpose of examining what your day feels like is that it allows you to do a self-check, to analyze your energies and emotions, in order to decide what path and tone your day is going to take on. It also allows you to get down to your innermost desires to determine what you care about and how much you care about them. From there, you have to fine tune what your priorities are and act in accordance with the order of importance you develop.
The Live Smart Series Smart Book was an incredibly useful exercise in discovering what inspires us, what matters most to us, and how we can use whatever those may be to change our own life and the lives of others. My hope, and the hope of the SGG team, is that the entire sisterhood continues to be empowered by the Smart Book exercises (and if you couldn’t attend, you can still get the Smart Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)!