I Don't Want to be Normal... I Want to be Me

Hello You & You & You & You,

There are so many people that I want to grab by the shoulders and look them in the eyes and say… “You are amazing, no listen to me, you really are amazing, right now, just the way you are.” I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want to shout it so loud so all can hear and truly believe it from the inside out, including me. I would love for everyone to just open their door or window and scream “I am enough! I am incredible!” I am simply blown away by people who just beat to their own dance or drum and soar high. After being surrounded by so many beautiful women from all over the World, I am reminded of how unique and incredible we all are. I came back from Thailand changed forever and wanting to travel everywhere possible to learn about different cultures and hear their stories… your story.

I know, it’s crazy, I just can’t stop talking about Thailand. I feel as if I fit a lifetime into 10 days.

I traveled to Bangkok to be the keynote speaker at an International Women’s Empowerment Conference. I spent months working on my speech. I love speaking in front of people, but these women and men were the real deal. They were people gathering together to do their part for their country, their community, and spread the love. Everyone was trailblazing new ground to make a positive impact on the world, especially for women. Well, it should be no problem for me to set the stage and get the energy raised. I have done this a thousand times, this is what I do, I was born to do this. But for some reason, this one was special, this one made me a little weak in the knees. I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated after reading their resumes about all they have done for mankind.  

I was so excited at first but then I started listening to some of that chatter in my head and it went something like this. Check it out...

My Brain:

Seriously, Weston, I have no idea how you got to be the keynote speaker. What have you really done for the world? So you are a kind person who pumps people up and spreads the good news, you have never lived through a civil war, or found a cure for a disease, or got a political law changed for the good of mankind. There are so many incredible people in the world who have sacrificed so much for others. Are you sure they got the right person? This better be the best speech ever. You better earn this spot. And on and on and on. But...

What!? Push those breaks…. what are you doing Weston? Prove your spot, your worthiness? That is everything you preach against Weston. Get it together, breath for 90 seconds and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to do in this world. Tell your brain, although you appreciate its input, most of the time, this is not going to be tolerated. I am in charge of my brain and I am good enough right now, with whatever I have done because I say so. I want this, I love this and I am going to feel the love and joy through this amazing opportunity.  

And I did, I loved every minute. I had a ball speaking and getting the party started. What a rush, a high, a special moment for me. My speech was great, and I am glad I planned so much, but my favorite part, and their favorite part was me getting everyone up and dancing. The thing that came so easy to me and with such little effort was the biggest hit of all. Yes, the thing I was so concerned with… will all the countries be ok with the dancing? I wouldn’t want to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable. Especially with the song I chose, I Love Me, by Meghan Trainor.  

Just another reason folks not to second guess yourself and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are enough, you are amazing right now. Everyone plays their part in the world, big and small, and it all matters. Every little thing you do with passion out of love truly truly makes a huge difference.  

Ok, enough of my brain’s workings, let's talk about the workshop. The Conference was organized by Tomorrow People Organization, an internationally recognized not for profit organization with headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia. The women they brought together will be bonded forever.

One friend that I made on this amazing journey was Lejla Mušić who is apart of the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here is what she loved about the conference:

“I have to say that I am astonished with new ideas and varieties of different approaches to female leadership. I also got to learn new ideas, and especially interesting and inspiring steps in leadership, that are different than anything that I have heard before. I was also chosen to be part of Scientific Committee that I really enjoyed.”

Everyone got something a little different out of this opportunity, but we can all agree that it was an incredible couple of days.

It was a three-day program, which consisted of three components: study session “women’s leadership and empowerment of disadvantaged groups”, presentations of submitted papers and open discussions. It was open to those interested in gaining leadership skills and new knowledge as well as those who want to share their own achievements.

This highly exciting and challenging international Conference was intended to be a forum, discussion and networking place for academics, researchers, professionals, administrators, educational leaders, policy makers, industry representatives, advanced students, and others.

http://www.wleconference.org/

So cool, It made me so inspired to continue my international journey through women empowerment. The Tomorrow People Organization is also an incredible organization with our incredible program manager Vladimir Ilić. Thank you so much, Vladimir, you can see that you put your heart and soul into putting these workshops together:

Tomorrow People Organization is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals become educated and ethical, globally aware professionals, committed to inflicting a positive change in the world. Our focus is on leadership and cross-cultural studies. By motivating people to develop new ideas and teaching them the skills necessary to put those ideas into action, we are creating new generations of responsible and successful global citizens–future leaders.

http://www.tomorrowpeople.org/about-us.html

If you missed the conference this year, don’t worry because they have one every year.

Oh yes, that’s right, I can’t finish up without saying how much fun I had on the cruise ship where we all got to bond and dance the night away. The entertainment played music from around the world so each country could come up and show us a piece of their culture. It was 90 degrees and we were all pouring sweat but no one cared. It was the best time ever.

And a special shout out to my friends Song Yi and Gyeong Soon from Korea for leading the way with Gangnam Style, it made my year. To see mom and daughter break out on the dance floor, tearing it up, was the best, it brought me so much joy.   

I made so many new friends and connections that I just want to thank everyone for being so open and warm. You can bet I will be highlighting many of you in the upcoming months and telling everyone about your great works.

Now go travel and tell me all about it.

-SJW