Women, especially mothers, are often staring at the future, considering how we can work to make a better world. For our workplaces, for our children, for friends and family, for community, for ourselves. We also intuitively understand that when you reach out a hand to help you are creating a relationship that will, in return, help sustain you. That our lives are a give and get, a constant pull and push that creates a balance we are all the better for having. Fundamentally, we know the power a strong community offers us.
Take your efforts to the next level by focusing on, and connecting with, the power of strong women. A woman alone has power; collectively we have impact. It’s time to surround yourself with other powerful and strong women. Or to grow your circle of strong, powerful women even further.
Collaboration over competition
An important part of moving forward into a greater collective power is reversing the stereotype that women don’t support other women. In fact, research shows that women in particular benefit from collaboration over competition. So, how do we focus on harnessing this power?
Prioritize relationships with other women
Start by prioritizing relationship building with other women. Put yourself in environments that allow you to meet with other women and get to know each other. Find out if your company has an employee resource group you identify with. Join a volunteer cause with a mission close to your heart. Other ideas include: parent groups at school or in the neighborhood, social groups, rec league sports such as volleyball, or a book club. Whatever your interests are, you can find a group of people to share experiences with. And in those shared experiences you’ll begin to make meaningful connections with a myriad of strong women in surprising ways.
Appreciate your combined strengths
Be self-aware enough to focus on strengths outside of your comfort zone. It’s easy to be intimidated by the mother who bakes perfect cupcakes for class birthdays, the yogi in class next to you (a beginner) who seems to be super fit, your neighbor who is CEO of her company. Don’t let yourself fall into a negative approach to differences. Instead, think of your strengths and how they might complement the other women in your sphere. We all bring something valuable to the table and with all our contributions we can make one hell of a feast.
Nourish your relationships
Know, too, that efforts at connecting aren’t one and done, but rather are ongoing. You have to care for and nurture these relationships, but the effort is most definitely worth the return. Important to note, this doesn’t mean you are beholden to someone else’s schedule or you need to set up weekly check-ins. But do focus on the quality of your interactions with your connections. And don’t keep track of who reached out last, or first, or most. The point is to connect, not to keep score.
Amplify other women in your vicinity. This seems like a no-brainer, but applaud your circle publicly. Call them out on LinkedIn, text them a note of congratulations, make an introduction you think would benefit them in some way, recommend them for a role you see, and so on. The more you amplify strong women in your network, the more strong women there are in our networks at large.
These efforts can help you to refine your focus on finding strong women and building relationships with them. It will help you focus on your own strengths and how those become an important part of the conversation. And it will move us as a whole toward collaboration over competition. In dozens of big and small ways we are capable of harnessing our power as women to show up for ourselves, our communities, and our connections. We simply have to be willing to take that first step.