I am fresh back from a week long training session. I was fortunate to tag on at the last minute and lucky enough to have a manager that is both flexible and supportive. So off I go to a full week of women’s leadership training. There were approximately 50 of us in attendance and we came from all over North America. The training was local for me, so I came and went from the sessions everyday, while others stayed in the hotel.
Reflecting on my life prior to Kevin’s death, training wasn’t important to me. I knew what my future was, it wasn’t about career, it was about retiring with him and just being and doing together-type stuff. Take him out of the picture and things have changed dramatically. Now I don’t know whether I will retire at my earliest possible date, I may just stay on, I just don’t know. So when a spot came available for the training, I grabbed it.
It wasn’t a week of men-bashing, it was a week of contemplation, awareness, strategy and development. When it began it struck me that there was a great deal of posturing in the room. That this was a collection of assertive, aggressive women. I have worked with aggressive females before, some good experiences, some not so good. There are those that will throw you under the bus and step on your writhing body to get ahead (but there are men like that too). Then there are those that will support you and look for ways to bring out your best. Life is quite arbitrary in all sorts of ways, who we have to work with is usually out of our immediate control. I think for this particular training, we all went into the week not knowing what to expect and, let’s face it, nobody wants to look or sound dumb.
We had some crazy good sessions and today, the final day, gave us a session with a financial planner extraordinaire – she was fabulous and if we could have taped the session and shared it with others I would have. She wasn’t local though, and she will fly back some place south of the border and leave us to action what we learned. (Max out that TFSA and get rid of that credit card debt! For us females, we may want to consider long term care insurance as we get into our mid to late 60’s. And, so much more.)
We ended the training with a career planning discussion. We were set up in groups of six, each group led by a senior “executive” high flyer (a female who has made it to that corner office) who talked through each of our plans, as well as having roundtable input from our peers. It was at this point that I realized how far we had come from that first day. The trust and honesty in the group fairly hummed around us. If I had to use a colour to describe it, I would say it was a kind of golden yellow, the warmth of the sun at the end of the day.
I left the training feeling stronger. Which is a relief because after the first two days all I could think was that there was too much to take in, and if I made new neural connections then I would have to keep “feeding” them, and if I didn’t keep feeding them then I would become a vacant, blathering idiot! Anyway, I think if I did fire up some new neutrons that hopefully they came with synapses too – which would be a good thing, since I don’t want that stuff filed away in some dormant foggy area of my brain. This training really kickstarted me into thinking about my future and the degree of control I have over it. I met some remarkable people and I learned some pretty valuable stuff – not just work-related but life-related. All in all a smashing success for me.