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I just came back from my annual trip to Cannes, France for the Cannes Lion Advertising Festival.  As you can imagine it was a week FULL of beauty.  From the beautiful scenery, to the beautiful food, to the beautiful people, Cannes offers me a plethora of fodder.

But I’m not going report on all of that.  And I don’t have any pictures to share.

Why?

Was it that after 3 years of attending, I was just jaded?  No.  I was actually quite taken by all of the beauty.   I had wonderful, beautiful meals with friends, stayed in a gorgeous hotel and not one day was grey or rainy.  Plus, I felt as beautiful as ever thanks to some great outfits I purchased on my trips to Brazil and free make-up and hair styles courtesy of the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge.

So why my lack of gushing over the beauty of the event?

I figured it out only after digesting the full week back in NYC.  The purpose of attending the conference is to connect deeply with clients; enhance our individual reputations with clients and colleagues thanks to great presentations and fruitful meetings; and come away with some great next steps, e.g., project to work on.

Every year I feel like I’ve accomplished all of these.  But this year was different.  This year I put myself out there, I mean REALLY out there. And the results were amazing.  I presented on topics I wouldn’t have normally — and often without much prep; I hosted events that I would have been too intimidated to do in the past, and I hobnobbed with super senior clients and colleagues that I would have shied away from in earlier years.

So you can imagine how little time I had to soak it all in and snap pics of it all.  But that’s not the full reason.

There is no question feeling beautiful and being in a beautiful environment helped with this.  And it matters a ton to me how I present myself.  But what remains in my mind is the beautiful feeling I have by knowing that I took some risks with clients and colleagues, had enough confidence in myself to present “on the fly,” and took the craziness of travel, like taxi strikes, in stride (see helicopter ride to the airport picture above :)).

So was Cannes a beautiful experience?  Absolutely.  But the reasons go beyond the physical to emotional. And that’s what we should all strive for.

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