“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
On a mild autumn Monday evening, a small group of women gathered at The Wing DC, a co-working space along a cobble stone street on a street lit nook in Georgetown, Washington D.C. to attend the Set Your Intentions Workshop. The event was hosted by Ann Shoket, author of The Big Life and former Editor- in- Chief of Seventeen Magazine. I had the opportunity to read her book a year ago, at a very pivotal point in my life and my career, and Ann coached me through the mire. The insights that she provided in her book really gave me a deeper understanding about the journalism and magazine industry that I had grown to love. With every chapter, it felt like someone had seen and heard me a bit more clearly. I had always wanted to thank her in person for her transparency and for sharing trade secrets with the reader about the field that many would not be privy to early on in their career; but never had the opportunity to, until Monday night.
In true workshop fashion, the group of women who came to participate, learn, and glean from Shoket, were invited to gather closely together and get to know the women sitting next to them. Throughout the session, the women were broken into small groups in which they were able to delve deeper into the topics that Shoket was discussing; questions that she had us to think about, she and the venue were kind enough to provide every guest with a soft leather-bound notebook and pen to more actively participate in the undertakings, which also doubled as a keepsake from the event.
The focus of the event was discovering what “The Big Life” means to you, what is standing in the way of achieving those goals, and what steps you ought to take to get there. The three main questions were:
1) When you were 16 years old, what did you imagine your life would look like now?
2) What does the Big Life mean to you?
3) What is the one thing that is standing between you and your Big Life?
Some of the women in attendance were brave enough to share their answers with the group, and like a good friend, Ann took the time to provide sage advice and imparted to them words of encouragement. Even though we all came from different places, we are working at different levels in our careers, lives, and relationships, for one very special night of fellowship, we were all a part of a sisterhood; and that is a testament to the type of community that Ann has created through her work. To have experienced it in real-time was a beautiful thing of which to have been apart.
Shoket had a lot of great points throughout the evening, but there were a few that stood out to me, these are my list of “Shoket-isms”:
1) “Though the road map to your Big Life may change, the seeds never do. Whatever is meaningful to you, is your dream.”
2) “Each “failure” [along the way] puts you in position to achieve the next step.”
3) As it relates to the idea of work/life balance, “[It is as just important that] You make room for your life when you work, because [so often] you work to make room for life.
4) “The rest of the world is not your timeframe.”
5) “You won’t know [what you’re capable of or how close you are to achieving your dream] until you get started.
The event, truly was an experience. It felt warm, and inviting, no gimmicks, just real, honest, organic fellowship and conversation, with an overarching sense of encouragement and support. That’s the type of event that makes a lasting impact on those who had the privilege of being in attendance.
When Ari isn't out covering events, she's working on bettering herself as a journalist, attending writer-related events, or enjoying spontaneous excursions in and around the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
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