I have been very lucky to work with and for great people over the years—both women and men—at various different places, companies and organizations. But I never really felt like I was in the exact right place until recently.
It’s such a good feeling—feeling like you’re on the right path—and I’m grateful to feel this way. I realize not everyone does.
So why do I feel like this, anyway? What has made such a difference?
Well, after hopping around a bit in my career (or, shall I say...careers), I have settled where I know I am using my biggest strengths and best qualities. Where I know I am learning and growing in the job I want to be in—the job worth working hard at every day to be better.
But that’s not it.
It’s the women.
One of the biggest reasons that I feel so lucky and it all feels so right is because I work with women who support each other, encourage one another and listen to new ideas with open minds.
There’s no judging.
There’s no competing.
There’s no hurt feelings.
There’s no intimidation.
There is teamwork.
There is empowerment.
There is respect.
There are open lines of communication.
Over the years I’ve been intimidated by many different types of women.
Somehow I’ve always thought that that woman must know more than me, that that one must have years of experience that I don’t have, or that that woman over there knows all the right people and I don’t.
I’ve let negative thoughts hold me back for a long time.
“She is so stylish, I can never get that perfect ‘professional, yet cool’ look down,” or “She is so well-spoken and confident—how does she keep everyone’s attention like that?” or “How does she know exactly what to say at the exact right time?”
Comparing yourself to another woman is dangerous, toxic and unnecessary. Like Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s taken me a long time, but I finally, truly believe that.
Better late than never, right?
The people I work with are helping me become more confident, more secure and more knowledgeable—whether they know that or not. (Guess they do now! ?)
They inspire me, fuel my passion and motivate me.
They don’t make me feel inadequate, less than or small.
So my PSA for women—working or otherwise—is:
Strive to support one another. Let’s have each other’s back.
Cheer one another on. Why not send that email celebrating your colleague’s big news? It’ll probably make her day.
Be someone’s mentor. Lead the way—but encourage them to follow. Because one day, they will take the torch and be someone else’s light.
Encourage sharing of ideas. Then, listen to them. Validate this idea-sharing woman. They’ll want to keep thinking and creating and innovating.
Share your shortcomings and successes. Allow them to see you as an imperfect human. This will not only provide encouragement, but also a great deal of inspiration.
Learn from one another. Maybe you have more experience or maybe your position is higher—but I swear—we can all learn a ton from each other no matter where we fall on the totem pole.
Help make someone else’s dreams come true while striving to reach your own. Give each other a boost. Verbally praise another woman publicly. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t be afraid to share the spotlight. We’ll all benefit.
We all know what it feels like to have someone take a chance on you. Do you remember? It feels amazing. Empowering. Risky. And challenging...in the best way possible.
As the women who are now leading the meetings, hiring the new employees and making big contributions to our companies—let’s not forget what that feels like.
So can we make a pact?
Let’s decide that we will always show another woman that she’s worth it. She’s worth the risk. She’s worth believing in.
And you don’t have to be the woman in charge to do this. You can fall anywhere on that totem pole.
Because we all have the power to make another woman feel substantial.
Another woman’s strength does not take away yours.
So why not choose to lift each other up? Let’s make that choice today and every day.