Women’s History Month: Better Together
Angie Morgan, March 13, 2017
“My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges.” ― Helen Keller
When asked to write a Leadership Moment related to Women’s History Month, I quickly agreed. I’ve always found value in reflecting on America’s past and considering what I can learn from leaders who’ve made their mark on this world.
When I sat down to write, I began thinking of those lone leaders who sparked major change or achieved significant feats. The names were quick to come to mind and my interest was to single one woman out and write about her life. I wanted to know how the story of a woman who found herself in a position to achieve such greatness and what inspired her courage.
But the more I thought about this abstract heroine, a question popped into my mind: Did she – whoever “she” was – have friends? Of course, I concluded. Humans are social creatures. We crave community and benefit from connection. Of course she had friends!!
I thought of “her” friends – that loving group of women who she surrounded herself with, who she perhaps drew courage from. The moment before her big day to either disrupt, challenge, advance, or win, did she hangout with her friends? Did they say to her, “You’re seriously going to do this, right?” Not because they questioned her judgment, but they knew they’d need to be ready to either celebrate with her in victory or comfort her in her defeat.
I then thought about the value of friends, especially in my life. My success wouldn’t be anywhere near what I currently enjoy if it weren’t for a core group of women who encouraged me when I doubted myself, propped me up when I wanted to lay on the ground, made a bigger deal out of my “wins” than I ever did, and told me “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” when I was about to take on too big of a risk.
The more I thought of relationships, the more I wanted to focus on women – not a woman. I have zero doubt that behind every successful trailblazer, there is a fierce army of women saying “If you fall, I’m going to catch you. If you grow tired, I’ll take your place.”
So, in the spirit of Women’s History Month, I want to focus on you, me, and other women and really celebrate “us.” There’s great power in our relationships – that is, if we use it. We have the ability to form the foundation of courage others can draw from. We can create a safe place where women can retreat when they fumble. We can be the reason great ideas transition into action. We can be that friend whose support comes without conditions.
We first, though, have to show up.
Let’s face it – friendships in this day and age can be challenging. Speaking for myself, during the workweek, I have little time for my friends. During the weekends, unless you have kids and we all can do something together, then us “getting together” likely doesn’t happen. Relationships – outside of our family – can be difficult to nurture.
Yet, that doesn’t replace the fact that we need friends – and our friends need us.
My call to action this Women’s History Month is simple, and even self-directed: Let’s make a point to recommit to our relationships. It’s not that difficult:
- Start scheduling fitness classes with your girlfriends – at least once a week
- Coordinate a play date and invite the other mom to hangout while the kids tear your house apart
- Call your friend and commit one day, each month, for the rest of the year where you two can grab lunch or happy hour together
- Call a friend out of the blue and catch up – re-spark that relationship!
- Make an introduction between two women in your network – be a friend matchmaker and encourage relationships among all the cool people you know
Then, standby and let the power of relationships develop.
Let’s not forget that women have supported other women throughout history. We have been, and will be forever, better together. Through our relationships, we can achieve great things. And through our friendships, we can help other women flourish.