If you are stuck in your career and not sure what move to make next, spending time with women who inspire you can be an incredible source of support, guidance, and strength.
In August, I met with seven fellow women entrepreneurs for drinks and conversation in the Sea Port District of Boston. We have all recently taken part in Marie Forleo’s incredible B-school program. At the time of our get together, I had reached a point in my business where I was feeling stuck. So many questions were whizzing around my head: how can I make my business scalable, what step should I take next, and in what order? I was feeling so overwhelmed with all the decisions I was facing, I wasn’t making any moves at all.
That changed that Saturday afternoon. Being in the company of women who were experiencing a similar journey was exciting and calming at the same time. By talking to the ladies and hearing their stories, I realized it was ok to be in a place where I didn’t know what to do next. I began to understand that feeling stuck is an important part of the process. If I knew exactly what to do, I wouldn’t be learning, and in turn, I wouldn’t be growing as a person, a coach, and a businesswoman.
Tammy gave me great advice about creating a scalable business model, and Elle’s recent success on Facebook motivated me to work on my online presence. Fawn inspired me when told me she was a Mom. Here was a women who surely had more on her plate than I did, and she was making it happen! As I took the train home with Phyllis, I didn’t want to part ways when my stop came, I could have talked to her all afternoon.
Although I do coach some awesome men, 80% of the people I work with are women. There is a reason for this. I believe that when women support each other, we become unstoppable. I mean that in the truest sense of the word, nothing can stop us from achieving our dreams. Not other people, not our life circumstances, and most of all, not our own fears and limiting thoughts that can creep into our conscious and make us doubt what we are capable of.
When I work at the Cambridge Women’s Center I see this phenomenon in action. Women converse about their struggles, confide in each other, and ultimately find their own voice by learning from women who share similar life stories. At times I notice a women leaving the Center whose whole body language is more powerful than when she first arrived. She is holding her head a bit higher, and her facial expression is more relaxed.
One of the most profound things I ever read about women was an article by Emily Rapp, “Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendships.” In it, she explains why female relationships are so important, and how we live in a society that tends to marginalize these types of relationships between women. Emily writes, “I saw, on that afternoon, that it’s possible to transcend the limits of your skin in a friendship. That a friend can take you out of the boxes you’ve made for yourself and burn them up. This kind of friendship is not a frivolous connection, a supplementary relationship to the ones we’re taught and told are primary – spouses, children, parents. It is love.”
I thought of my best friend, Marisa, when I read it. The love I feel for her is equally strong to the love I feel for my family. I thought of my Mother, and her three best friends, Sue, Sue and Suzanne. Since I was a kid, I have watched each summer as the four of them fly in from all over the world to get together in Maine. I noticed how much their lives have changed over the past 20 years – more children, various jobs, struggles and triumphs. The one constant beyond the tide going in and out, is their love for each other.
That day in August with the B-school Babes meant more to me than I could communicate to the ladies. Even though it was the first time we met in person, I felt a strong sense of community and belonging. I had found my peeps. I left that day with a belly full of clam chowder, and a solid feeling that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I had a renewed sense of energy, and I was ready to tackle the next business challenge, no matter what it was.
So to the amazing women I met with, I want to say Thank You. Thank you for listening, for sharing in my journey, and most of all, for inspiring me. You were a much needed gust of wind on the part of me that knows I can drive forward each day towards my goals.
If you are feeling stuck, either in your career, or any aspect of your life – your fellow sisters may be exactly what you need to summon the strength to push forward. You will see that they struggled like you, and that they also triumphed. But they didn’t do it alone. They did it with the love and support of their dearest female friends.
Seek out women who inspire you, and spend time with them. It could be your mother, aunt, sister, teacher, boss, or friend. It may be a celebrity, a businesswoman, or someone who died long ago. In their stories, you will see your own. And in their courage, you will find yours.