One woman grew up on a boat, another in a communist country, a third in the Chicago projects. They were educators, storytellers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, journalists, singers, dancers, business women, local problem-solvers, and global leaders. I was fortunate to be a part of the incredible community that gathered last week at TEDxBethesda Women. We gathered as part of TEDx women's events taking place in 150 countries around the world.
As emcee, I told the audience that I believe there was a reason each person found herself in the room. The speakers were entertaining, inspiring, funny, poignant and profound. I have more to say about each of them, but I want to thank Ellie Giles, (who is also my friend) for giving me the important nugget that I felt I was meant to hear.
Ellie is an educator and her talk gave insight based on her experiences and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (one of the few theories from psych class that stuck with me.) Maslow noted that in order to achieve, we must first belong. Belonging is the soil in which we grow.
Achievement comes after belonging, because acceptance and the support of a tribe are necessary ingredients, like sunshine and water, for human development. The Rockville Patch described the event here.
The event got me thinking about one of the quotes I like from the Bible. (Religious texts often provide universal truths, regardless of a particular religion. I am most familiar with the Bible, so that's what comes to mind for me.)
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).
My translation is simple: loving communities evoke our higher power (whether you call it God, the "force," or, if you are humming the Messiah this season, the "King of Kings, Lord of Lords." ) There is an energy that shows up when we nurture and uphold one another – in a community we hurt less and grow more secure. Two or three people with shared, heartfelt intention create a space for miracles.
Thanks first to Jane O. Smith, the founder of TEDx Bethesda, for making the day happen. I also extend my gratitude for the generosity of heart demonstrated by speakers and audiences alike. We were immersed in a community in which we belonged. We supported each individual’s achievement. I predict we will grow like weeds.
P.S. TEDx billed this as a “truly global conversation -- from San Francisco to São Paulo to Seoul.” Your message may be waiting for you when these nine women’s talks come on The TEDx Bethesda Women website in early 2014.