Freedom Through Access
Happy summer friends!
I promised a colleague that I would create content in the month of June. I’m not proud I let the whole month go by, but here I am getting it DONE!
As we go into July 4th week, celebrating Independence Day in America, it got me thinking not to take for granted the freedoms I have and others I still fight for every day to access or maintain. In the last couple of years specifically, I’ve enjoyed quite a different life.
I googled a definition of access and its “ a means of approaching or entering a place”. Two things come to mind when I think of access: 1. How am I getting it and 2 How am I giving it. Part of the way I measure success at this point in my life is by the environments of which I have access. I don’t like being boxed out of a situations based on limits. In the past those limits have been based on money or belief that I should be in certain room for environments. I’m motivated to work hard, excel in my career, work on side hustles, finish school because I know these things will give me access to spaces and places I didn’t have before.
One of the best ways I’ve gained access is remaining a life long learner. In addition to reading all the things, I ask all the questions. I’ve learned to put my fear of asking even seemingly intimidating question aside to gain access to information. I met a man on a flight recently and we started talking about boats, that conversation through my questioning quickly evolved to talking about chartering yachts and exclusive yacht memberships. In the past I would have let the conversation stop, limiting myself on what I could/could not attain. Instead I kept right on asking more questions. I didn’t even hesitate on what before I would have deemed inappropriate. Not only did I receive an invite, the very same week, I met another person inviting me to lunch at the same exclusive spot. I’m not sure I want or need a membership but now I understand a whole space exists where business networking and affiliation happen in my own neighborhood. I’ve gotten access to a seat at the (lunch) table.
I’ve stopped looking over my shoulder for someone to join me. Moving away from the DC area, my home for 40 years, has actually given me the best freedom of my life. Back home, I had a lot of friends and family. I could plan dinner or trips based on other people and their availability. Living alone and away from everyone, I do a lot of things alone. Trust me no one is flying out of Norfolk International Airport if they don’t have to LOL. If I want to have experiences here in town, I mostly have to do them alone. i’ve been all over this place alone and met lots of fantastic people, wonderful experiences, delightful food and drinks. As a result, when I travel, even for work, I’ve learned the art of choosing that one amazing spot in town, going alone, sometimes with a book and enjoying the night. I have shared the benefits of traveling solo in the past but I’ll just emphasize how helpful people are when you travel solo. I’ve gotten invites and info to amazing experiences just deciding to go it alone.
How I give access is similar. I love sharing what I learn to help others out. Its partly why I share my experiences here and on my podcast. I’m very passionate about having a transparent leadership style. I don't want the path to my success to be coded. As a leader, I love talking out loud with my team and getting the to hear my learning and thought process. It’s important to me that they see how I reach a decision or for them to be apart of the decision making process because if I’m doing my job right, they will be in a position to make large scale decisions and moves themselves. My favorite thing about leading is giving people access to rooms, conversations, decisions, opinions, info that they would not have on their own. The times in my career when I’ve grown the most have come when I’ve been given access to things bigger than my current role. Every time someone has surprised me by turning and asking me for my opinion has made a difference in my career. I love doing that for other people. What’s the point in being a trailblazer if you’re not leaving an actual trail that is helpful for others to reach you?
My simple thought going into this week: How do I continue to push the envelope of gaining and giving access?