A little over 8 months ago I received a newsletter from Jen Sinkler about something called the Radiance Retreat that her, Jill Coleman, and Neghar Fonooni were leading in March. I read the email, looked at the website and pretty much bought the plane ticket. At this point in my career I was making ends meet so-to-speak, but wouldn’t call myself super profitable – at least not enough to warrant an impulsive decision to fly to Santa Monica and attend a weekend “retreat” with 50 women I had never met.
Fast forward to now and I’ve gone and returned from the Radiance Retreat only to find myself eagerly awaiting next year’s event. So what was so special about it? I’ve taken over a month to think about this, wanting to write a post about the weekend and every time putting it off. Should I write about what we learned about building a business? Or, how to create sweet workouts? Or, about our art (read: whatever you create to give to the world)? All extremely valuable lessons, but those concepts weren’t inspiring me to write.
Women Can Be The Worst
I went into the weekend feeling quite anxious; it was about a week out that I started to think about the fact that I was going to a pretty-much-all-day-long 3 day event with women I had never met. Talk about a freak out for this introvert. Not only would I not have any down-time, but I was going to be with women. Eeeeek. Women. can. be. the. worst.
If you’re like me, you’ve experienced competition between yourself and other women at some point in your life. This can be a fun thing – if you’re working out in the gym together and you both want to lift heavy there is friendly fire that gets you both pumped. But, all too often competition is less fun. We experience this when we feel shamed, less than or run over by another woman who thinks that this is the way to get ahead. We start to see this when we’re young and the misconception that it will get better as we “grow up” – except it doesn’t. What did get better, was my ability to ignore this behavior. I stopped associating myself with women that aren’t invested in my success – not just in business – but in life. This process isn’t easy and is by no means a one and done situation, rather a constant assessment of the people with whom I choose to surround myself. But, this doesn’t solve the problem, it just puts it into a corner.
So, when I was heading to the Radiance Retreat I thought I would need to prepare a defense; there were going to be so many women and I was sure all of our vibes wouldn’t mesh. I was positive I’d get-defensive-on-the-
There is no reason that I should have to fear feeling “less than” or go into a situation on the defensive. This all boils down to the underlying condition that women don’t like other women. We’re so used to being met with put downs, attitudes and competition and then just brushing it aside. Let’s not ignore this problem by putting it into a corner. Doing this doesn’t change the way we behave. We need to be accountable to ourselves and others and not tolerate that behavior. Instead, we need to foster sisterhood. That’s the most powerful action we can take.
Sisterhood begets sisterhood
In the past year the idea of “Being The Best Person” has been prominent in my thoughts. I’ve been reading a decent amount about business, working out, massage, life skills, etc. with the single goal of being the best version of myself. I’ve tried to help people when they drop things on the street, perhaps paying-it-forward at the coffee shop or giving a few extra minutes when someone needs it. But, I was missing the essence of what being a better woman meant.
It’s not about you or me, it’s about us.
It’s about making all of us better. Isn’t that a huge thing? It seems quite impossible, doesn’t it? But in reality, if we all boost each other up then no one loses. There’s a huge misconception that if there’s a winner there must be a loser, but this ins’t a zero sum game. Life isn’t a zero sum game. There’s room for all of us and the biggest thing I learned is that the room just grows when we add to it. Sisterhood begets sisterhood.
Maybe if we lift each other up, the world will look at women differently? Girls will grow up to be supportive of one another instead of enemies. The reason we’re all so damn competitive is because there’s the idea that there’s only so much “winning” out there, but that simply isn’t true. So the next time you feel compelled to compete with another woman, think instead about why you’re feeling like that and do the opposite. Lift her up, give her a true compliment, find a similarity between the two of you and talk about it. Don’t let your own fears dictate how you treat the rest of the world. Women supporting women seems like a scary concept, except it isn’t. I’ve been on both ends and I can tell you with out a doubt that the more present you are for other women, the more present they are for you. So, just pass the sisterhood on and mean it.