News Flash: You Aren’t Them

Goodness gracious me, if anything, I’d say this trip has been quite worthwhile.  Honestly I was entering with low expectations.  Why?  Because I seem to have the luck with the strangest roommates, barely connect with any of the participants and just feel plain awkward.  Well, this is definitely an exception.  I arrived and have had an awesome roommate.  We even have “plans” to relax, go to the pool/hot tub and study/read/watch Hulu. Ok, the last part is really just me but what can I say, I have over 400 items in my queue and they aren’t going to watch themselves. 😉

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Going back to the conference. I wasn’t sure what this whole leadership conference thing would be about. Would we all be type A people, obnoxious, nerdy, over-achievers who never shut up?  Well, there are a few of those (maybe I’m one 😉 ), but overall, everyone is pretty normal.  Yesterday’s itinerary was not my favorite.  We had a talk about ethics and a discussion/game with this hippie dude who I just could not and would not connect with.  Last night we went out to this place called Latitude 30, which was pretty much like a Dave & Busters.  There was fried bar food galore, happy hour drinks (Angry Orchard for myself…just like apple juice…sort of), and lots of bowling and music.  The DJ must have known our age demographic because he played the best 90’s music from our childhood for a majority of the night.  I was slightly annoyed by the people in my lane as they took to dancing more than bowling.  Let’s just say I get competitive and was not thrilled with one of them screaming and dancing in my face.  But, later in the night, I got to do my fair share of bowling.  So, overall, pretty darn awesome.

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You know, sometimes I feel that I have a hard time relating to other people.  I don’t know how I should define “fun” and how everyone else defines it.  This usually stresses me out and I become sort of an introvert.  Strange, right? Well, it usually makes me unhappy and that is no fun either.  This is where today’s session becomes important.  But let’s start with the basics.

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I was up at 5:45 again for my gym workout, this time 5.5ish miles on the treadmill and some core exercises.  I was quite proud of myself because I rarely and I mean RARELY run on the treadmill.  So, running for 45+ on a machine is pretty darn good. Looking at myself in the mirror for that long probably wasn’t the best idea, but a morning workout helped me start the day on the right foot. Haha, didn’t plan that pun, but that’s sort of funny.  Breakfast consisted of the same array: fruit, coffee, yogurt, and eggs. (ketchup and cholula too).

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After yesterday’s sessions, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Would we have another lecture on how to become a leader?  Would we have a mini group exercise about what makes us special?  Well, we sort of did all of the above but it was AWESOME. Random, have you ever seen that Geico commercial with the slinky on the escalator? That’s how I felt about today.

We had a “motivational speaker” and I use quotes because she wasn’t one of those people who cleansed herself and told us what is right in life and what is wrong.  In fact, she told us about her life, the chapters in her life and how she experienced so many different things, met so many different people who have had negative and positive impacts, but who have ultimately helped her arrive at where she is today.  I think it was a truly successful day if I was hanging on her every word and didn’t even bother to sneak peeks at my phone or Twitter.  (Ok, during the breaks, I was all over that)

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I apologize if this is mushy and too deep for you.  I need this slap in the face sometimes and it was a realization, one that my mom has told me a hundred billion times, so props to you Madre.  We are our own individual person.  This speaker took us through activities that  allowed us to think (in the sunshine I might add…TOTALLY made my day) about what motivates us, what habits are hurting or helping us, and how to break through the mold of society.

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I found that almost 99% of the people here at this conference, are experiencing the same things or the same concerns.  It’s impossible to truly understand what a person is dealing with simply by looking at the way they look. That rule about not judging a book by its cover? Yeah, I break that all the time and I shouldn’t. It always bites me in the rear.

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Something I have dealt with for a long time is this idea of comparison.  How I look, act, feel, run, anything in comparison to someone else or even a younger me.  Whether that person is more successful (which is such a subjective term), skinnier, prettier, happier (again, SUBJECTIVE), more productive, friendlier, or richer.  Whatever it may be, I’ve probably thought about how I compare to others about it.  It has made me sad, angry, stressed.  It has affected my outlook on life, how I engage with others, it has worried many of the people I love.

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What I have a difficult time seeing, is the happiness that I can bring to others, the wonderful opportunities that I have had access to, and the fortunate life I lead. This is something that I need to remind myself about on a DAILY basis.  It’s so easy to get caught up in “oh poor me” when that is simply not true and just an excuse.  Sure, it takes time and it takes discipline, but now that I have shared this, I hope that I can hold myself more accountable. I have tons of unique characteristics that make me, ME.

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So back to the title.  We are all unique.  We can spend waste our time thinking about how we will never factor up to these people we hold so high up in our heads but that’s just going to hurt.  You know, I may not ever be as skinny or fast as Kara Goucher, but you will never find another Kaitlin Fuelling.

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It has been great to have three homemade (or close to homemade) meals, but it tends to feel like they are herding and feeding us like cattle.  Probably a terrible analogy, but you get the picture. Well, now that I have loaded up on sweet potato, veggies, halibut and a combination of cheesecake/chocolate tart, it’s time to rest my stomach, gym, pool, sauna, and bed! Oh, and some studying/reading in there too 🙂

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Hopefully this made some sort of sense.  Tomorrow we have a late breakfast (8am, shocker), short session, and travel day home.  Our flight isn’t until 5, so that leaves plenty of time to study, finish my take-home midterm, and watch the Super Bowl on the plane ride home.  Time to start a new week 🙂

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7 thoughts on “News Flash: You Aren’t Them

  1. gosh can I go to this? I have to say, I always walk away from conferences a lot more than I expect to. I am so glad you found that too. You deserved to have this time for you! Never doubt yourself, you have so much potential that I know can sometimes be hard to see for yourself

    • I honestly didn’t know these sort of conferences existed! It’s great to keep an eye out for things like this 🙂 thanks for such kind words! We all have so much potential and just need to celebrate it!

      “Keep Calm and Carry On”

  2. I would love to go to this! I went to something similar in Pittsburgh last year and it is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’m glad you got so much out of it and lucked out with a roommate more like you. I was in the same boat- terrified and then it worked out really well. It’s amazing what happens if you just let yourself relax and soak in the lessons being taught. You’re going to go home with so much more knowledge than you realize.

  3. The comparison game is like a curse that society has put on women and I think we’re all guilty of doing it at some point or another– especially now that we’re in our young adulthood and trying to figure out who we are and what the hell we’re doing. You seem to have a great head on your shoulders and I really love what you said about focusing on “the happiness that I can bring to others, the wonderful opportunities that I have had access to, and the fortunate life I lead.” I need to do the same, and this was a great reminder!

  4. BEAUTIFUL Kaitlin!! ugh this is just so relevant to my life right now and exactly what I needed to hear. It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap and recently with graduation nearing and everyone figuring out their life plans, its so hard to NOT to compare yourself. But you said it man, there is only ONE Kaitlin Fueling and she is pretty darn amazing 🙂

    • Oh you are too kind! This is definitely something that weighs on my mind often and you are completely right, it’s getting tough as we all apply for jobs. Keep it true Theresa because you are awesome!

      “Keep Calm and Carry On”

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