On Air with Ella - episode 239
WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN?
Today I want to talk to my fellow women about something. If you’ve been around for the past 200 episodes or so, you know I don’t usually carve up topics on gender lines, but I need to talk to you specifically about how women support or don’t support each other professionally, socially, personally, etc. I asked a question on Instagram recently because I wanted your take and your experiences on this topic.
Here’s what I asked:
Do you think women truly do a good job of #womensupportingwomen in business / social arenas?
My experience is that women are insanely supportive of one another in SOOO many ways (too many too enumerate), but can be lacking in this area when it comes to business and public support.
I have had friends / colleagues genuinely stunned when I hype them up to other people or connect them to my network in some way, and I have had a lot of women go awfully silent when it comes to “sharing the shine.” Of course, you cannot accurately generalize about ANYTHING, but I wanted to hear from you on this topic.
I asked you:
What has been your experience?
What do you do (or want to do) well to support/promote/amplify other women?
What is the reason we don’t do more of #2?
I have a very mixed experience here, but I operate very much from a "rising tides lifts all boats" philosophy here.
At the end of the day, how you treat other people is a reflection of how you view the world.
So if success is a pie, then "one person’s success is one less slice for you." If success is a limited resource, someone else’s promotion, relationship, business deal or new car can create an "OUCH! LESS FOR ME" reaction for you.
It took some maturity for me to arrive here, but when you realize THERE IS NO PIE - that success (however you define it) is an infinite resource, created by and for infinity, and there’s no individual allotment, there is no pie - then you can not only NOT feel gipped upon witnessing someone else's success, but you can even feel elevated by it. It’s contagious, it’s a flame that you want to spark your own match - or an energy, a wave you want to catch, too.
So, a rising tide lifts all boats, and you WANT your little boat hanging out in the middle of all of these successful people. You seek them out instead of get turned off by their wins.
But let’s give ourselves a little grace here. I mean, we are programmed this way since childhood. Consider the schooling experience. There was, in fact, a limited number of resources. Literally. From class performance, to roles available in sports or the school play, to the number of people available to give you attention (there were X number of boys and X number of girls, and if one girl shined, that consumed resources, right?). We got programmed here, so as adults we have to question the programming. We evolve and add channels to our spectrum, so that we can "change our channel" and live in a more evolved, developed space.
But many of us have experiences that speak to the scarcity mentality.
Have you had this experience? I have. I have friends who have looked pained when I shared a success or accomplishment with them. I have worked with countless women in the my businesses and on this podcast and it would shock you how many portray support, but don’t do the bare minimum in reality. I know that sounds dark, but I want to call this out, because I have done it too, to be clear. So what to do?
Here are some signs that you might have room for growth in this area:
You genuinely value someone and appreciate their work, but you are unwilling to hype them up to someone else.
This can be as simple as not wanting to double tap on their Instagram post, to not sharing their success or amplifying their success to others
If another woman does shine, something in you dims - you FEEL it inside - pay attention to that feeling! Get curious about it. Ask what you might be reacting to - there's insight there for you.
You find yourself being annoyed by qualities in the other person that, when you really think about it, you wish you had yourself - that’s something to get curious about, too.
We aren’t competing with other women, ultimately, but with ourselves — with how we think of ourselves. For many of us, we look at other women and see, instead, a version of ourselves that is better, prettier, smarter, something more. We don’t see the other woman at all. - NY TIMES article
TIPS: HOW TO GAS A WOMAN UP
Professionally and personally, you can Email someone their contact info copying them both and say why you think they should know each other (I do this weekly; it's on my calendar)
Send a simple note of recognition telling them why you think they're special, or the impact they've had on you in some way
Leave a review of their business on Yelp, support their posts, review their book, review their podcast - spend 2 mins commenting if they’ve brought you value in some way.
They're not an entrepreneur? Take 30 secs comment in their blog, on their instagram post or just sharing their facebook thing!
Out in the wild, you can tell a complete stranger they look amazing; I do this all the time (sometimes with mixed results so consider yourself warned), but I will straight up tell a stranger at the next table that they look amazing, or a woman in the restroom mirror that I love her dress. Whatever comes to me :-)
Note: when you complement a friend with enthusiasm, and she rejects it in some way, or tells you why it’s false, tell her that is "so 2015," or tell her to shut up (nicely) and receive it. Don’t engage beyond that. Lead by example: gas a women up, and tell her to just accept it!
Join women’s networking group, a women's club, or start a women’s lunch group at work. I have historically avoided this type of thing, and have always worked in male-dominated environments, so the last thing I was looking to do was to amplify my gender. But more recently (further in my career in and a senior leadership position), I want to do this, and I started inviting women to group lunches informally with maybe 3 questions and conversation starters that had NOTHING to do with gender.
Mentor a woman - reach out as a mentor rather than waiting for someone to ask you
Go on a retreat! When we did the Live Better retreat in Arizona several years ago, I was completely blown away at the power of spending focused time with like-minded women. I can’t even do that justice here, but it was life changing for me.
What are your ideas?
We don’t need to lower the stock of other women...When we each focus on being the dominant force in our own universe, rather than invading other universes, we all win. - NY TIMES article
DO IT FOR YOU
Now, you ready for the big reveal?
Nothing exemplifies your confidence MORE than you hyping another woman up.
Rather than taking something away from you, it actually
a) makes you feel really good, but
b) it actually SERVES you.
You are the one handing out the compliments. You are at the pole position here.
Yes, I want to encourage us to truly show how powerful we can be when we hype each other up. But I am also saying: Don’t do it for them, for us, for each other. DO IT FOR YOU. It feels really good, and it empowers YOU. It elevates your confidence and your presence, and it helps you show up in a more powerful way.
So go gas a woman up - and show what it means to truly shine.
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