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Women's Leadership Summit teaches how to be mentally strong

Guest speaker Amy Morin, right, and Debra Siena.When Amy Morin became an Internet sensation many people probably thought she caught lightening in a bottle, like many who get their 15 minutes of fame on the web.

Despite being a trained therapist, those who say her 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do list didn’t think much of it.  She said that a large majority of comments were negative.

Morin was the guest speaker at the 5th Annual Women’s Leadership Summit during IHRSA 2014 33d Annual International Convention & Trade Show, March 12-15 in San Diego. She discussed each of the 13 categories and how women - and men as there were a couple among the 60 or so people in attendance – can use them in their professional and personal lives.

“Having good habits is not always enough,” said Morin. “You need to look at how your bad habits hold you back. Once you are aware of your bad habits you need to make a plan (to change them), and put it on paper and figure out how to implement it. You have to commit to them every day and be patient with yourself.”

Morin isn’t one of these people who tell and not do. Her personal life is one that no one would wish to have – mother died at a young age of an aneurysm; husband died at 26 of a heart attack; second husband’s father got terminal cancer four years later.

After all she endured she felt the list, which she posted on her social media, was something that would help her cope with the losses. Never did she think it would take off like it has – 500,000 shares as well as 5 million views after being put on

“I wrote the list mostly for myself. I had no idea anyone would read it. I guess it resonated with a lot of people.”

Morin, who was joined on the stage with host Debra Siena, president of Midtown Health, broke up her list into three groups. After each group Siena had each table break into roundtable discussions.

1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves

Morin said that there is not time to feel sorry for yourself because life isn’t fair.

2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power

She said women need to realize there is a difference between being assertive and aggressive and not to allow others to control them, like a boss or co-worker. 

3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change

If you are mentally strong you are OK with stepping outside of your comfort zone. Change is inevitable, she said, and should be welcomed.

4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control

This is an area most people have trouble dealing with – wanting to control others. But you can influence how you deal with obstacles that occur in everyday life.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

We all want everyone to like us, but when you go about trying to please everyone it is like spinning your wheels – you don’t know if in the end it will make them happy. Morin said to figure our your value and do what is right to you, not what others think.

6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks

She explained that mentally strong people weigh risks before taking the plunge, but by doing it that way it lessens the chances of failure.

Molly Kemmer was the designated spokesperson for her table during the 5th Annual Women's Leadership Summit.Siena stopped Morin there for the first roundtable. The question posed to the audience was, What, of the first six, is the most and least challenging to do?

One table agreed that the difference between being assertive and aggressive can come across as being bossy – an issue more for women than men. Another table liked number 3 because they felt the fitness industry doesn’t fear change, they encourage it.

7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past

“The past was the glory days,” Morin said. She admitted it can be difficult to move on, but it is necessary. She said the key is to learn from the past so you don’t make the mistake again.

8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over

Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are domed to have them repeated. But those who can pick up the pieces and learn from it are the ones who will be successful.

9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Successes

Other’s view of success and their values may not be the same as yours, so to judge yourself against them is, really, a waste of time, Morin said.

10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure

Morin reminded the audience that some of the best success stories began with a failure. “Failure doesn’t have to define you,” she said.

The second roundtable break had everyone think about a time when someone came to you with a problem from the last four from the list and what was the advice given.

The Women's Leadership Summit was not only for women.One table talked about how members may have trouble getting to the club. Using number 8, they said an answer could be for the member to write the top 10 reasons why they are going to the gym in the first place and these should motivate them.

A question was then steered to Morin, asking her how she overcame the initial barrage of negative comments she received after posting the list.

“At first I ignored it, and then when Forbes posted (the list) most of the comments were positive,” she explained. “I decided the negative comments were not worth (my) time or energy.”

11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time

Those who are successful and are mentally strong often are involved in many things, both personally and professionally. Thus, their mind is racing all of the time and don’t have the ability to stop their world from spinning. But, Morin said, even 10 minutes a day will do wonders to be more productive.

12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes them Anything

This can be the alter-karma entry. Just because something bad happens it doesn’t mean you are in line for something good. So, Morin said, don’t expect it and wait for it.

13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Many people don’t have the patience to see if a project or an idea comes to fruition. And, as we all know, that just isn’t the way it works.

The last roundtable asked, “What are the warning signs that we are doing one of the last three?”

There were many who said technology can often get in the way of alone time. Since many people judge themselves on how many e-mails they get or communications they are in, taking time off seems like they are slacking or not working hard enough.

One attendee that guilt is associated with the final three; the type of people that fall into these categories are the ones who feel guilty if they aren’t working all of the time, aren’t connected all of the time, and aren’t involved with different aspects of work and life.

“It is important to look at your behavior and be like the person you want to become,” Morin said in closing.



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