Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions…Day 9.

Last night Jake and I were lucky enough to be in the presence of one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. Her name is Susanne Conrad, her title? Director of Possibilities for lululemon. I really didn’t know what to expect as we walked up to the door that houses my favorite group of creatributionists (Imagine1day- My expectations of the night were pretty heavy since I was told by friends (and anyone who’s met her) that she would teach me how to get out of my own way, which in my eyes is the only thing that has ever held me back (it was about 5 minutes into hearing her speak that let me know that it was a lot more than that). Seeing Susan for the first time was a little intimidating, she is tall, confident, striking and gives off a very powerful aura like she has it all figured out (but wants to take you on the train with her). When she speaks she becomes relatable to everyone in the room (which is a great thing because keeping the attention of a room full of big dreamers is challenging in itself), and she doesn’t waste anytime by putting the big picture right in your lap.

She began by explaining (in her sassy, brutally honest way) why we were here and zeroed in on the power of being a great listener. She spoke of what it really means to be a generous listener (versus a stingy one) and explained the importance of goal setting backwards. All of us sat writing a 10 year vision that we trickled back from laying out health, personal and career goals for next one, five and ten years of our lives. A hard-hitting moment for me was when she spoke candidly about leaving her first relationship and how afraid she was to leave it because of how ‘bad’ she would look. She also talked about leaving her prestigious position at an environmental consulting company to pursue what she really felt passionate about in life. I felt like she was speaking right to me. In the last year I had made a giant career change (my degree is in Fire Science and Engineering) and I had left a 4 year relationship, both of these events would have been done a lot sooner but I had carefully placed heavy self-imposed expectations on my shoulders that would cause me (god forbid) not to ‘look good’, needless to say I dismissed both decisions for a longer than I should have. Part of last night included forgiving myself for that. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be with Jake holding my hand. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be sitting beside the man of my dreams and felt compelled to turn to him during the evening and let him know how thankful I am for his support and love. I also felt very thankful to be in a room (and part of a company) that cared enough to want to be the very best versions of themselves and get the most of this life. The most important thing I took  away was my goal to write and take pictures professionally. It’s something I have hidden and shared bits and pieces of, and as much as I have wanted to take it seriously,  I haven’t. Leaving there made me feel empowered, like anything is possible and that I didn’t have to change who I am to find my dream job.

I can’t tell you how important listening to her speak was while I up to my neck in this quest to recreate myself. This experience was literally the best slap in the face I have received.

Up Next…lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.

Follow me on Twitter@olimaughan or on Foursquare!


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