“When we tell our stories in a safe community, all those things that separates us go away” Sarah Markley
The room was filled by the vibrant blue of the walls and the bright multicoloured lights that brought a sense of energetic warmth, coziness. BOI kindly offered the space, and tea and coffee, while Candlewood Bakery created the most amazing chocolate cupcakes ─ I firmly believe every event that has women has to have chocolate, don’t you think? ─ tables and comfy chairs and fast wifi were the setup of the inspiring event that saw a varied group of fifteen doing what women do best: give, share… and work.
I’ve learnt to never underestimate the power of a safe space (physical and virtual) as a catalyst for change. The sentence “when women come together amazing things happen” it is starting to become a common place (fortunately) because it’s true. Women, we need to talk, to share our stories because they hurt and because we have been isolated for so long. Isolation in our families who wouldn’t understand our needs and would push us to follow paths that wouldn’t suit us. Isolated in our communities that wouldn’t see us as “people” but just as a role in the group: mothers, partners, employees… Isolated in our workplace, where the isolation is more a tangible thing as in many companies there are barely any woman, and the ones who are there are in survival mode, so compassion and sharing is not an option. Isolation when we decided to break the rules and design a life in our own terms: by not having babies, by having them, by quitting a job, by creating a business, by leaving our partners, by studying a career, by not studying one…
One of the attendees shared with us an interesting statistic that says that women entrepreneurs succeed more than men. There is data guys! And, please, don’t believe for a moment that when women come together we talk bad about men, we love our men, we talk about our rights (or lack of thereof), the state of affairs and what is needed to bring equality and balance in the world, starting by our lives.
In connection with balance in our lives, someone mentioned how important it was for her to find a balance in her work, to balance the right brain and the left, the more cerebral work with the more creative one.
At the other side of the “talking table” another inspiring lady brought up the topic of how women, we tend to put ourselves behind everything else, which created a discussion about how we have been trained under the idea of “sacrificing” ourselves in both spheres, the personal and the professional, so self-care is hopelessly falling down in our priority list, along with time to pursue our own projects and dreams ─ who do we think we are to take time off !? ─.
Working for a company where the number of women is reduced, and when there are almost none in a position of power, has consequences in the way the female cyclical flow of energy is ignored, so we end up pushing ourselves too hard, trying to do everything regardless of our need to rest. We, women, pretty much as the land, need to be left fallow in order to be productive… See the connection?
Another attendee mentioned also the topic of the lack of training when we start our own businesses. We are never short of ideas, what we are short of is of support from our closest circle and we are lost about how to access training. Here the ideas flowed (the magic of co-working in its full splendour) and the ladies shared platforms that offer free or inexpensive training around marketing…. (Google Digital Garage, Udemy, Linkedin Learning, EdX), and also offered their own services to support the community’s needs (Women Co Events).
There is a power in sharing from experience without judgement from the peers, without advice but support, without direct self-interest but the vision of how a healthy balanced community is in benefit to each and every member.
We don’t talk about how amazing our business are, but we share who we are, our journey full of struggles and successes, because that is what inspire others and breaks the isolation. Because as Sarah Markley said: “When we tell our stories in a safe community, all those things that separates us go away” .