I recently wrote about when friendship ends — how hard and important it can be to end a relationship and to find healing. Today is International Women’s Day, and I want to take the opportunity to talk about the opposite! I just spent 15 days of the last month surrounded by strong, smart, capable, inspiring women. Here’s why and how I’m investing in women friendships, and you should too!
If you’ve known me for any length of time at all, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I am a 4 on the Enneagram. “Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living.” – Enneagram Institute.
Maybe you’re like me, and it can be really hard to put yourself out there with others… especially when you have never met or don’t know each other very well. This year I’m pushing through that! This is my year of YES! “Yes to opportunities. Yes to attending events. Yes to meeting with people in person. Yes to traveling. Yes to scary things.”
I spent the first weekend in Nashville with around 30 other bloggers, through a Facebook group I’m in called Root & Rise. It was really just a great time for us to meet each other and celebrate community, all while enjoying a fun weekend together in Music City.
Four days later I flew to California, where I joined the women in my family (my mom, sisters, aunts, cousins, and grandma) on a multi-generation girls getaway cruise on Carnival Inspiration.
My travels culminated with a weeklong trip to Jacksonville, then Tampa, where we set sail on a 5-day cruise on Carnival Paradise, for the Permission to Hustle Mastermind at Sea conference. (Disclaimer: I paid for the conference but the trip was hosted by Carnival.) Here, I was joined by approximately 40 other bloggers from all over the country. It was incredible to be surrounded by other women in my field — which is often a lonely space to work in, and to be able to glean from their expertise! Here are my takeaways:
If there is one thing I’m taking away from these experiences, it’s that community matters. Who you surround yourself with and how often you immerse yourself in your community is important. As a blogger, this looks like getting involved in events as both host and attendee, partnering with other bloggers in my area, creating environments in-person and online to connect with others in my community. As a mother, this means volunteering with other women at my son’s school and being available to his teachers. As a wife, this looks like joining a small group with my husband and other married couples from our church. Investing time in our couple and family friends. You get the idea!
Every Woman Has a Story to Tell
I’m just going to say it: women are badass. The stories I’ve heard over the years of resilience, passion, growth… it’s incredibly inspiring to me! Listen to the women around you. Learn from them. Share your story and then share it again. There are people out there who need to hear it! You have a unique voice!
I’m Investing in Women Friendships & You Can Too!
So, let’s get down to it. This is how I am going to be investing in women moving forward. It’s not a complete list, I’m sure, but it’s a start!
- Put my money where my heart is! Money talks, and it’s probably the most tangible way you can show your support. Some ideas for doing this include: buying the product, e-book, program, or class. Shopping affiliate links. Looking for women-owned local businesses to support. Partner with other small business owners. Buy what your friend is selling!
- Share with others. It costs exactly zero dollars to share another woman’s work. Maybe it’s a book they just published or an article that resonated with you. Maybe it’s a service you’ve utilized or a great experience you’ve had with them. Put another woman’s name forward for a project you’re working on. Share the resources they’re offering with your own community.
- Grab coffee together! Get a group of like-minded women together or women who have some similar interest, and meet at your local coffee shop. Host your own little mastermind. Learn from one another and look for ways to help someone else out. If you can’t figure out how to do that on your own, just ask how you can serve or support that woman! I am going to start getting together with friends for coffee more often.
- Be a good friend. Remember important dates. Pay attention to silence. Express gratitude often and look for ways to be encouraging. Initiate experiences together. Invite, invite, invite: to your events, your conversations, your home, your heart.