Never in my career have I felt more confident. But it feels like a new type of confidence. Not cocky. Not arrogant. Not egotistical. Instead, I am experiencing a deep sense of humility, for never have I seen more clearly how wanted and needed I am.
This week I’m in Japan. Again. I had not planned to return before my big 5-city speaking tour in September 2014, but I received a special invitation from my new friend Suzanne Basalla, COO of the U.S.-Japan Council, that I just couldn’t turn down. On Tuesday I sat about 20 feet away from Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and the Prime Minister of Japan, both of whom were declaring their bold and unwavering support for women in the workplace. It’s not just a nicety…extensive economic research shows that the new incentives and subsidies the Japanese government is extending to “women friendly” Japanese corporations have the capacity to boost Japanese GDP by 13%. They are NOT messing around here.
There is a revolution happening for businesswomen here in Japan. The government is behind it. The corporations are behind it. The people are behind it. I’m behind it.
There will be moments in your career where you land in the right place at the right time. But don’t call it luck, because chances are you worked your butt off to be there. I don’t consider it luck that the U.S. State Department wants me here in Japan as an American role model helping jumpstart Japanese economic growth. That’s not luck at all. That’s a lifetime worth of practice and preparation…for this moment.
When your moment arrives, be ready to grab it. But don’t just grab the one opportunity that lands on your lap. Be prepared to grab all the other opportunities attached to it. After my meeting at the U.S. Embassy in March, I immediately returned home and started making phone calls to non-profits in the United States that deal with the U.S. / Japan relationship: 1) U.S.-Japan Council 2) Japan Society 3) U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation. I am like Alice in Wonderland, chasing the proverbial white rabbit, hungry to see how deep into the rabbit hole I can go. I’ve shared my story. I’ve asked for advice. I’ve asked for introductions.
Part of being badass means your eyes are WIDE OPEN to opportunity. Not only do you see opportunity, you chase opportunities that lead to new opportunities. You become a strategic opportunity seeker and craft revenue streams that align with how you most enjoy making money.
I want to make money empowering women. Which is why I’m in Japan. The time is right for me here. In two short months I’ve traveled deep in the rabbit hole, talking to executives at amazing forward-thinking companies like MetLife, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, American Airlines, Caterpillar, Dow, and Mitsubishi. The power dynamic of all my conversations here is perfect – they want me just as much as I want them.
I could go on for pages and pages about the positivity running through my veins this morning. I am clear. I am energized. I am on fire.
But mostly I am humble. This isn’t the Jessica show. I am part of something much bigger than the human body I currently inhabit. More than ever I am closing my eyes to meditate so that I may be led by forces larger than my own personal desire. I am listening. I am being led by the divine.
Making money is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the profound knowing that you are being used as a paintbrush in the hand of God.