Executive coach Stacey Mason, founder of The Improv Lab in Bentonville, shared lessons she would’ve given to her 20-something self in a keynote speech to members of the 2019 Fast 15 class Tuesday (May 14) at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House at the University of Arkansas.
The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal hosted the event to honor this year’s class of young professionals who are not yet 30 years old and reside in Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro. United Bank sponsored the event.
“There is really nothing so compelling as to what the 30-under population is doing,” Mason said. “These 15 future thinkers and doers are leading during an extraordinary time. And I, for one, am excited to see how they will shape the world that we will all be a part of. To the Fast 15, congratulations, and no pressure, but we’re all counting on you to be these incredible, fearless leaders in a very challenging landscape.”
Some of the lessons Mason shared included be weird, master sarcasm, ethics first, life’s unfair, believe harder, embrace fears, be curious, listen more, read relentlessly, stay connected, be kind, favor simplicity, say no, stop worrying, lighten up and eat dessert first.
Sarcasm is a coping skill, she said. Getting through life takes a village, and humans were not meant to face life alone. She believes life turns out the way it was supposed to be, and someone can’t be all things to all people. But one can be “all you all the time,” said Mason, adding that “singularity is the harder path. Be weird on purpose.
“You are who you are when you think no one is looking,” she said. “You are responsible for your actions. You are equally responsible for your inactions. People make choices. Choices make people. What you choose to do or say is crucial.”
Expect to inherit someone else’s mess, and don’t waste time keeping score. People cannot make someone feel inferior without one’s consent, and don’t give away one’s personal power. She asked whether a person likes oneself because that’s the only one to be concerned about.
People will go through an uncomfortable period before going through a comfortable one in their lives. People need to take a step back as sometimes the problem is not the problem, and it could be the way one sees it. People are more alike than different, and everyone needs help at one point. She said to keep everyone’s phone number because it might be needed. Positivity beats negativity, and good manners will open more doors for people than a good education.
Mason, an occasional guest contributor to the Business Journal, said there’s no place called done and encouraged the Fast 15 class to keep a journal and take time to “write down stuff.” She also said there’s no place called back as people are continually moving forward.
“People don’t need to go looking for lessons. The lessons will find them,” she said.
She closed with a challenge, explaining the various roadmaps that people created in their lives.
“Buddha left a roadmap, Jesus left a roadmap, Krishna left a roadmap, Rand McNally, he left a roadmap and really detailed, but you still have to travel the road yourself,” Mason said. “And I wish you so much success on your journey. And I wish you patience with the lessons.”
Link here for the 2019 Fast 15 class.