First impressions are hard to shake.
So are the stereotypes that come with first impressions.
And so when she was growing up, Nikki Caldwell’s mother explained to her that people would judge her on her looks, age, color and gender. But that those things did not define her. You will be judged by it but it doesn’t make you.
It takes a certain level of confidence, of self awareness, of authenticity to embrace that line of thinking, to not have other’s judgments and misperceptions crush you silently.
But once you get there, it’s a very freeing concept.
Caldwell, the head women’s basketball coach at UCLA and former player and assistant coach at Tennessee, was part of a panel on women’s leadership at the Association for Women in Sports Media convention. Caldwell, along with Kristin Bernert, the president of the Los Angeles Sparks, and Ketra Armstrong, the director of the graduate program in sports management at Long Beach State, discussed their definitions of success, confidence and leadership styles.
And through their stories, they offered great insight and inspiration. And plenty of things to think about.
There’s finding the balance between the “no job is too small” mentality and learning how to delegate. There is learning how to use all those hours of practice when adversity hits, converting those hours of sweat equity into a body of knowledge, a feeling of success, you can access when hitting difficult spells.
All three women offered common themes of passion and vision. Of knowing who you are and what you stand for. Of embracing the unknown and the mystery because that’s where true learning comes from.
And then they offered these gems:
1. Don’t lose yourself in the process. When you lose yourself, the job does you instead of you doing the job. Don’t lose sight of what it is you bring to the job.
2. Have a short memory. When things go wrong, they are not failures. They are things that didn’t turn out as well as you would have liked. Don’t deem outcomes as failures. It’s not a failure: It’s a new opportunity to do better next time.
3. A lot of things catch your eye, but you want things that grab your soul.
4. Learn to recognize success. We have more success than we realize it because we don’t always recognize it when it comes by.
5. Have a Plan A, a Plan B and 911.