i. am. so. un. inspired. by. this. woman.
Above is what I g-chatted to a friend during an extracurricular phone call this summer with two other women. The details and subject matter aren't important. For now, let's just say, I was annoyed... and that -- clearly -- I was being too nice. So, I continued:
Seriously, women like this just need to wear a G-string... And pull the wadded panties up from out they butt cracks.
Did she just say what I think she said?
At first, I felt guilty when I started writing this post. I'm a big believer in building other women up. When we focus on what works, we create more of it. And together, we're a powerhouse. Plus, women already spend too much time doing the opposite. We nag. We bitch. We gossip. We complain. It doesn't just distract us from transforming our communities. It straight-up poisons them.
Then, I realized I was haute-and-bothered precisely because I also sometimes struggle with this kind of negativity. We all do. So, now, I'm offering three pieces of advice... to all of us.
1. Accept chaos, as a cradle for creativity.
What bugged me about my conversation with this woman was how she was approaching it. Everything was a challenge, everything an obstacle.
"That worries me."
"I could see this being an issue."
"Well, if we do that, we can't do this."
She was living in a win-lose mentality, and needed to get the F out of the 1950s. Keep in mind this was a conversation we were allegedly excited about. The entire purpose of the call was to discuss a passion project... for FUN.
Seriously, we should have been giggling. All we needed to do was talk about our goals, discuss a timeline, and develop a plan.
I (had) really wanted to work with this woman. The project we were discussing (had) sounded really fun. Plus, she is super educated and has (had?) an amazing career. Why wasn't such an accomplished female more capable of shifting her focus to what we stood to gain, not lose?
This is one way I'd like to re-define womanhood. As I've written before, when we steep in what we hope for, something magical happens: Our actions influence emotions, which crystallize beliefs. Those beliefs inspire more aspirational behaviors, and we create a virtuous feedback loop.
What if the word 'woman' made you giggle for joy?
2. When another woman tries to help you, let her.
Before I realized this woman was rock-solid stuck in her own problem-riddled world-view, I tried several times to route us back to our shared priorities. We were talking about something cool. We had the potential to influence people. How could we work together to create that impact?
She kept resisting me, and then it dawned: This woman can't let go of her fear. I tried once more time with an empathetic approach, knowing people who are scared often respond to empathy. That didn't work, either.
Here's a glimpse into my internal dialogue at the time:
First: Shut. Up.
And second: Listen.
The win-win was born long ago, but apparently LONG after you were, at least judging from your archaic approach to this conversation. What's more, there are THREE of us, which means we've got material for at least a triple-victory. It's called a win-win-win. It's what we deal in, here in Silicon Valley: The 3X multiple, at minimum.
So, stop haggling because you're afraid you don't have enough pie, and get with the program. It's 2014, which means two things:
- We can always create more pie.
- We can even make it gluten free, since you're so anal.
Yeah, I knew you'd like that one.
Okay, so sarcasm aside, I'm pointing out a really simple principle: We're all afraid, women and men. In fact, fear is one of the 7 qualities of uber-productive people. As Jeff Haden so eloquently said: The accomplished, satisfied, and mentally strong "view fear the same way other people view lunch." It's what we do with that fear that decides if we can, or can't, unlock opportunity in what scares us.
I vote we help eachother get there, and follow in the footsteps of the Ellen Degeneres of Silicon Valley: What if we focused on what we want?
3. Look in the mirror.
Seriously, win-lose-minded women are a problem. And I point it out because: This woman lives inside each of us.
I recognize her in me. I have seen her in my friends. I've watched her come and go in my family. And every time she pops her sour face into the world is one time too many. (And we are better than that.)
This kind of woman kills the idea of "yes" every time she says "no". She cannibalizes others' joy. Their hopes. Their deepest dreams. Their goals and objectives.
And it sets a powerful example that I don't want in my world.
Not for me.
Not for my sister.
Not for my mom.
Not for my friends.
Nor my colleagues.
Nor my future children.
Seriously, we have to understand the implications here. Such mental frameworks and behaviors discolor society, and misguide the beliefs of little girls all the way into womanhood. These beliefs arc the trajectory of our lives, influencing the choices we make -- about where to spend our time, what jobs to pursue, and who we love. It drives how we educate ourselves, what salaries we accept, how / when we have kids, and who we marry.
... And divorce, in some situations, to great pain.
Recognize this: Traditionally female postures are a reason why many married men have affairs. Straight up, their wives have become embittered by their chosen worldview, and as they've transformed into nags, they've suffocated their men and their marriages.
What if the way you viewed the world refined your relationships?
To sum it all up (and bring things full circle), allow me simply to say:
I'm pretty sure G-Strings would fix the problem.
Seriously. They're a fantastical reminder that -- just as Granny Panties aren't the only way to go, so too do women have more modern equivalents to the mental models they'll traditionally used to experience the world.
And now it's your turn.
Beyoncé's not the only one with an alter ego, and neither am I. So let it out. Is it a mani-pedi? A set of silk sheets? Some Botox? What else do women like this need besides a G-String?