When I took time to reflect on the past week, I was struck by an emotional Kleenex moment. Given that I am rather theatrical by nature, I should highlight (especially to those of you who know me) that this was much more than me being a drama queen; it is rather difficult to explain but this was a mixture of tremendous gratitude and humility.
I’ll start with the gratitude part because it is easier to describe. Despite the many fun and exciting offers that bombard an office professional’s inbox, advertising events on Secretaries’ Day, this amazing group of individuals chose to spend their precious time at OPSA’s Leave a Legacy Conference for 3 days. There was no promise of gifts and some of them even paid for the conference out of their own pockets!
During their time at the conference, everyone showed their willingness to grow and make a difference by actively participating in the exercises and role plays and sharing their personal struggles and victories. They also bravely stated what they will be changing when they get back to the office. Being allowed into someone’s personal space where they open up and are willing to share things that make them vulnerable is a tremendous gift and hence, my moment of gratitude.
Now for the moment of humility, and here I will need to get personal and become vulnerable. Despite my underlying need to control everything, I had absolutely no control on the end product, in this case how people actually experience the sessions during the conference.
From OPSA's Johannesburg Leave a Legacy Conference - a powerful testimony on the importance of writing your mission statement and the importance of laughing everyday.
One of the really scary events for me was the Laughter Therapy Workshop – a suggestion by one of our OPSA Directors, Dawn Williams. Despite being a qualified Laughter Therapist and knowing the invaluable impact of a laughter session, one of my recurring thoughts were, “The delegates will think it is stupid and won’t want to participate!” Was I wrong? Absolutely! Not only did everyone participate and enjoy the session, our delegates actually highlighted what an impact it had on their stress levels and lives in general. What was truly humbling was that despite not having any control on the final outcome, everything worked out so well.
On behalf of the OPSA team, I would like to thank all our delegates for their support before and during the conference, but more importantly for realising your value and investing in your growth and development. I have no doubt that when you get back to the office you will leave your mark – a Legacy to be proud of!
To the World Changers in Cape Town - see you on the 28 - 29 September. We can’t wait!
Bianca Filmalter, CEO of OPSA