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Masterpiece or Work-in-Progress? | thoughts on WomanUP!® 2019 from Carla Hayes

It’s not often, as women, that we are told that we are both a masterpiece and work-in-progress at the same time.

But that was the very first note I took during the WomanUP!® national event. In the first moments, speaker Tara-Nicholle Nelson of SoulTour, opened my eyes. She showed me a vision of myself – exactly as I am right now. A woman who has grown and accomplished so much. A woman who has so much to be proud of and grateful for. Exactly as I am.

And in the same breath she gave me permission to envision and strive for an even greater version of myself. A woman who continues to grow and accomplish new things. A woman who finds even more to be proud of and grateful for.

Why was this so powerful? Why was the perfect message to begin an event geared toward women in positions of leadership?

Because as Billie Jean King told us at N.A.R. National: Girls are taught to be perfect; boys are taught to be brave. This is something that we internalize and carry with us into adulthood – we are adult women still trying to live up to some impossible standard of “perfect.” When you get 550+ high performing women in a room, chances are very good most of us feel like we’re falling short. Living with an idea that we’ll never be perfect, let alone a masterpiece.

The paradox is that girls are also taught that they should be innately perfect – and that striving isn’t ladylike. Think about it this way. We tell girls, “Wow! You’re so smart.” We tell boys, “Wow! You tried really hard.” What’s the message? The value for girls is in being. The value for boys is in trying. So now you have 550+ high performing women who feel like they aren’t living up… and somewhere feel ashamed for trying (or for having to try because it hasn’t just happened automatically).

With one sentence, “You are a Masterpiece; and a Work-In-Progress.” We were all given permission to let go of old ideas; accept ourselves and one another; and recognize the beauty of where we are and our desires to grow. It broke down old barriers and left us all open and ready to receive insights and wisdom and to offer support and celebration.

It set the stage for an amazing event.

Every time I am in the WomanUP! I am grateful for the experience and for the opportunities that have opened up since I heard the WomanUP! call and founded the CBWomen Initiative. The women I’ve met and interviewed have all had a real and lasting impact on my life. I now count Tara-Nicholle among those women.


Written by Carla Hayes,

Director, Industry and Public Relations

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

Coldwell Banker was a Platinum Sponsor of WomanUP!® 2019

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