Be True To You, No Matter Where You Are

15094283_10154605973150340_8048952496933758099_n
Dunkin’ Donuts at Dubai Ice Rink,  Dubai Mall, Dubai UAE

Just a week ago I was on a 14 hour flight home from ExecSecLIVE Dubai. Here I am sitting on the couch, trying to be succinct about what I saw, what I learned, who I met, what I ate. Or maybe that isn’t so important.

Okay, maybe it is.

Here’s what I really took away from my experience.

  1. Be you. Be yourself. Don’t worry about comparisons
  2. Know your stuff (content)
  3. Learn from the attendees. At the Q& A, be open to learning from attendee questioning and feedback
  4. Honor the jet lag. Each of us had jet lag in varying degrees
  5. Always keep an open mind. I particularly appreciated hearing the message about completely mastering our core job duties before taking on more. So true
  6. Try new things! I went ice-skating in Dubai. Try new foods. I tried some very interesting stuffed dates and figs
  7. Be courteous in your host country. (Well, you should be courteous all the time but that’s another blog post.)
  8. Stop and listen. When meeting other attendees, listen more than you talk
  9. Our perceptions are not always accurate. I’m honestly not sure what I thought Dubai would be like, but I know that I found it to be a wonderful mix of modern and ancient.
  10. Our preconceived notions and stereotypes can and should be shoved aside– meet people where they are, as they are
  11. The weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday.
  12. It was obvious that the hotel was well-prepared for guests arriving all day and all night from all over the world. Many options were offered to help guests until rooms became available at check-in, including resting in the hotel spa at no charge.

I didn’t take my laptop to this conference. I took my Kindle. I had my phone. My goal was to not take so many pictures that I missed out on experiences. I also wanted to listen to the other presenters. I know if I had my laptop with me, I may not have been as attentive. That’s just the truth.

One last thought. I used to show the speaker picture (see below) to my friends and say, “One of these things is not like the other.” This was my way of saying I felt like I was not like the other speakers and did not belong there.

15039483_894250694007708_552098350506376445_o
Dubai 2016 Executive Secretary Live – Speaker Team

I will no longer utter those words. After a bit of research last week, I determined that I’ve delivered more than 100 presentations, taught more than 20 classes and have presented at the four major administrative conferences. Of course I belong up on that stage. And, I know now, more than ever, that there is no better way for me to be true to myself than sharing my administrative professional career experiences and life lessons with others. That’s why my motto is #KeepLearningKeepGrowing !

PS. I was so happy to find a Dunkin’ Donuts in Dubai!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9- Countdown to Executive Secretary Live – A Confession About Travel

Do you like flying on airplanes? Do you prefer trains? How about long drives to get where you need to go?

My first flight ever was from Boston, Massachusetts to Dallas, Texas and a connecting flight to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I think I was seven years old. The flight was in the evening so I didn’t really get to see anything. I don’t recall much about the flight– I don’t even remember sitting with my mother and sister– and I’m pretty certain we all were together. Back then passengers could smoke on airplanes..and that I do remember because my mother smoked Pall Mall cigarettes.

I’m not a great flier. By that I mean, I feel each and every bump. Take off rattles my nerves..but I can tell you it is SO beautiful to take off from Washington Reagan National Airport– as  you can see almost all of the awesome monuments moments after takeoff. I try not to think about the horrific happenings of 9/11 as the flight banks away from our Pentagon building– the site of one of the attacks that day.

And, I’m also happy to have resources– right at the source.. two friends of mine are pilots for major carriers. I can always message one of them if I am nervous. If they AREN’T flying an aircraft when I message them, they’ll usually text me right back and reassure me.

I travel with 3 vital tools..My Kindle, my iPod and my journal. I find if I stay focused on something else, I’m less likely to be anxious. On my Kindle I will have books, movies and performances from stand-up comics. My favorite is Craig Ferguson! On my iPod I have my meditation music, as well as about a dozen playlists to fit my mood. And my journal.. allows me to get all my ideas, poetry, short stories, blog ideas, thoughts, lists – out of my head.

What do you do to pass time when you’re traveling? Do you sleep? (I’m jealous of you!) How about chatting with your seat mates? (I don’t do this generally.. I prefer quiet travel.)

I do know two things that are VERY important when flying, 1) Drink lots of water! 2) Get up and walk a bit.

It’s all good, I am better these days about getting on planes. I do prefer trains, but that’s not a trans-atlantic option this week. 🙂 Safe travels to all the conference speakers and delegates. And remember the hashtag is #ExecSecLive.

journal (3)
Yes.. that’s an old-typewriter image and typewriter font on my journal… 🙂