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By: Belinda Wilkerson, NCCDA President-Elect

Me, myself and I. Party of one for the Fayetteville area North Carolina Career Development Association (NCCDA)Morning Musings recently. Designed as an opportunity for career professionals to network, this was our first in-person Morning Musings since the Before Times and the first one in Fayetteville.

I was excited for the possibilities that come from expanding the NCCDA into Cumberland County. New connections, new ideas and possibly, new members of NCCDA. Alas, it wasn't meant to be...yet.

I remained hopeful while I devoured an avocado, egg white and spinach breakfast sandwich. My muscles were crying out for nourishment after a one-hour strength training session with the amazing Samantha at the Fitness Studio Downtown. I had my Morning Musings sign on the table so folks would know they had come to the right table and a half sheet with the benefits of NCCDA membership. I was having a mini Field of Dreams moment- build it and they will come.

It was painfully obvious after 15 minutes that it would be a solo outing. Rather than leave, I make a conscious decision to turn a negative into a positive. I already had the time on my schedule, so there was no need to rush back to my home office where it would be me, myself and I with an occasional furbaby wandering in. I people - watched instead.

A lively group came in together and carefully selected a table for their meeting. Joined by others, they moved away because the vent above their table was blowing cold air. Yes, I was listening in. As their group grew, they eventually moved by consensus to the outside seating area. I smiled and thought about the fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears - finding the one that was just right.

Another man held individual meetings with 2 people during the time I was there. Whatever they were meeting about, it looked serious and the facilitator of the meeting spoke in a comforting manner to the 2 individuals. Each of those folks seemed lighter on their way out.

Several folks silently read nearby while having their meal, including the nice woman who took this photo for me.

So, what are the lessons here?

The power of yet. I really wanted to meet more like-minded people in Fayetteville. My wish did not come true that day but it will. Carol Dweck, in her TEDx Talk, The Power of Yet, speaks about the power of yet versus the tyranny of failure. She equates the power of yet with having a growth mindset. Elmo’s friend Zoe, with the help of Sal Khan and Elmo, demonstrated the power of yet by creating a ramp for her race car after initially giving up. Using Dweck's growth mindset, I plan to reach out to other facilitators to see what they did to encourage people in their areas to attend Morning Musings. Duke, I’ll be calling on you because you rocked it in the Outer Banks. You see, this first meeting was not a failure. It’s ripe with the power of yet.

Slow down, you move too fast. In the Before Times (so much has changed since then), my first impulse would have been to leave Panera after 10 -15 minutes, full of disappointment and frustration. If I haven’t learned anything else during this pandemic, I’ve learned it’s okay to slow down. Regularly now, I give myself permission to just be. Simon and Garfunkel call it Feelin’ Groovy.

Slow down, you move too fast

You got to make the morning last

Just kicking down the cobblestones

Looking for fun and feeling groovy

ba da-da da-da da-da, feeling groovy.

Pivot. Raise your hand if you have not had to pivot in the past 2 years. Hmmm, I don’t see any hands out there. That’s because we all learned the art of pivoting. Listen to Aleem Syed Syed share Pivoting in Life and get inspired. Rather than fret, I pivoted and delighted in a tasty sandwich and enjoyed watching folks go about their business. My pivot was not as grand as Syed’s, but it worked for me.

The party of one will eventually turn into parties of two or more because of the power of yet.

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