The marketing materials when I sat down at my first ever coven at the University of Pennsylvania said:
“Establish intention. Listen In. Believe in a better world. Lead with empathy. Create every day. Authorize yourself. Build Community. Make it Happen.”
Last week I had an opportunity that truly changed my mindset of changing the world. You see, since I was in third grade, I always felt called to do more but I could never pin point what that even meant or how me, Lisa Thompson, was going to change the world.
Take a step back…
But before I get to the details of how my mindset changed, lets step back in time to October 2018. I was googling information on social impact and finding new ideas for Self Love Beauty, when I came across an opportunity at the University of Pennsylvania for Social Impact. I immediately opened it up, read on it and then shut my computer. I kept thinking there is no way I would get accepted into that program; then I thought is that even something I want to do, I hated school. A week went by and the deadline was approaching. I was brushing my teeth one night around 9:30pm and the deadline for this program was at midnight. I went rounds in my head fighting an internal battle when I finally said to myself, what do you got to lose by applying? So since it was a video application, I started to get ready with hair and make up at 9:30pm at night and I spent the rest of the evening working on my application. I submit and went to bed.
A couple weeks went by and I received an email about the program. I had been accepted. I remember I had just gotten home from a trip to Denver and was texting one of my best guys, when I screamed and screen shotted it to him to celebrate this with me. Then it hit me, I got accepted into a program I didn’t think I was capable of or good enough for. I had spent more time focusing how I wasn’t good enough instead of that I DESERVED this chance. So I started school in January 2019 and have been learning weekly ever since.
150 people, 20 countries
This past week, I came together with the other 150 people in my class from across 20 countries. Travel was on our own, so I met two people from South Africa and one from DC via Facebook messenger and we booked a week together at an airbnb. Now if you know me, doing that didn’t make me blink an eye. I was excited to meet these new people and understand WHY they are attending the same program as me.
The first day I was ready to learn and BE PRESENT. Something I had to really learn to work on over the past year. This week was not what I expected but it was better than that. We spent a lot of time focusing on feelings internally, learning about others backgrounds and focusing on new tools and resources to shape our own initiatives. We cried together, we laughed together and we learned together. I learned about how my journey has set me up to be where I am now, I learned that India and African women are way stronger and intelligent that I could fathom and I learned that even though the media has shaped us to believe there is so much bad in this world- that there really is a lot of good.
Being True to Who You Are
I learned from people who gave up their 6 figure salary to help others and create change, I learned about a man who hasn’t given himself a raise in SEVEN YEARS so he can instead give his employees raises, I learned about a woman who at the age of 22 had a staff of thousands but traded it in to help non-profits, I learned about peoples stories through transition and I was reminded that the work many of us are doing is molding a beautiful world.
When I was little I find myself always feeling called to do more, to be more and to not live the status quo. I fought that a lot, I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to be quiet in class, to not argue against superiors, to fit in with the girls around me and to have the dream of white picket fence, husband, kids and jobs all before 30. If you have been following SLB or my story, you know all of those things did not fall into place for me. I instead continue to be who I am through and through, I have let others take the glory of work and taken the back seat and been punished for it, I have argued with superiors to not follow the status quo and have been deducted for it and lastly my white picket fence included me buying my own home and getting a puppy to go along with it. You see I didn’t fit in and I have learned through my journey that is okay and it is my beautiful story.
This past week I discovered many people have been feeling the same way with me. I mean they have given up successful $$$ careers to follow what they believed is right and they have given much to others.
I learned that I will change the world and I will lead with empathy because that is what makes me, me. I grew in my understanding that we are on the right path with SLB but lots of work to do. I also came to appreciate those that supported, believed, contributor and follow us. I realized that even though I felt out of place many times in my life, there are places for me and that I need continue to become uncomfortable and believe in myself to find my places I feel me the most.
This week inspired me to truly continue on my journey of growth, to get out of my own way when is comes to success and to continue to help people see their worth.
Lastly, I have to give a shout out to my ambassadors. They are incredible. They have taught me more about journeys, growth, and teamwork then most people can. Thank you for allowing me to be your leader but also for following your journey.
Let’s continue to help everyone grow in self-love and confidence because that is when change will happen.