I talk a lot about your people wanting you to succeed. And for the most part, I mean that in an over-arching, “your people want you to succeed in life” way. But I also know it to be true SPECIFICALLY as it relates to business and our work in the world. It’s what I believe with every fibre of my being. Because I live it.
Every win that I’ve enjoyed, every home run I’ve knocked out of the park, can be traced back to someone who’s had my back. This is no spiritual bypass…I also acknowledge my abilities, skills and talents. But allowing other people in? To hold and champion and bolster me? To ask for help when I’ve needed it, and even BEFORE I needed it?
It’s been the key to the success that I’ve enjoyed so far in this lifetime.
And while it may be the most foundational tenet of my belief system, it’s a hard pill for many to swallow, so impressive is the body of evidence that they’ve amassed over the years of being cut down by their others (or having cut themselves down to size to fit in).
So, I want to speak to this. I want to speak to my sisters. (Brothers, thanks for being here and for reading. And by all means, lean in. My sisters are your sisters.)
Sisters: since the beginning of time, we have relied on each other to survive. We know that Paleolithic women worked together to create shelter. Ancient Egyptian women supported each other during the perilous time of pregnancy and childbirth. Iroquois women work the fields in community, harvesting the “three sisters.” Frontier women administered homemade remedies to one anothers’ families during times of plagues. Sumbanese women weave and dye the textiles that are the fulcrum of their economy.
There is no time in history (ahem) that we cannot find evidence of women collectively, communally, and cooperatively working together to assure each others’ survival.
Helping each other to SURVIVE? Sure. We’ve been doing THAT since the dawn of time. Helping each other to THRIVE? Those are brand-new baby muscles we haven’t learned to use yet.
Because we are so very new to this whole THRIVING thing.
We are living as women in a very interesting moment of history and namely what that is is that we are all, all of us of this generation, and by this generation, I mean any woman born in the Western industrialized world in the last 80 or 90 years, in terms of human history I call that one generation, and something very recent, we are all the subjects of a vast and enormously historically unprecedented social science experiment. And that social science experiment is: what happens if you give women autonomy? What happens if you give them literacy? What happens if you give them education? What happens if you give them legal protections, political rights, access to their own money, chances, power, opportunity all these things that women have never ever had suddenly, we have.
[…] And it's tricky and one of the reasons it's tricky and I would say trickier for us than for men, is that we don't have, unlike men thousands and thousands and thousands of years of role models of autonomous, powerful, independent, literate women who had that sort of control over their own destinies. We don't have those kinds of examples. Not only do not have them mythologically, classically and throughout history, we often don't have them in our own families.
And then fold in our businesses on top of that?
We use whatever our business is as a front for talking about things that really matter. We're only stuck in this work, you see, because our real work was taken away from us several thousand years ago. We looked on the map, but our town was gone. We looked through the catalogue but couldn't find the course we wanted. It's as if someone removed our chair but couldn't take away our longing.
- Marianne Williamson
And we don’t know where to put it. Not only is this business of thriving is new to us. This business of BUSINESS is new to us.
So how can we actually and legitimately feel into the truth that I know in my cells?
By daring to believe. Talking about the things that matter, and daring to believe that it matters to me. (It does.)
I don’t have the proof of history books or Wikipedia citations on my side. But I know what I know and I know this:
I want you to thrive. And I know you want me to thrive. It just makes sense.
You can feel it too, right?
My wins are your wins. My tears are your tears. My success is your success. My survival is your survival. My thrival is your thrival.
And yours is mine.
That rival bullshit is the long shadow of the patriarchy.
You get that, right?
Know why? Because we are each others’ people.
And your people want you to succeed.
See how that works?
We KNOW how to help each other to thrive. We KNOW we can celebrate each other without the projections of hero-worship. We KNOW we can consciously critique each other for mutual advancement without the acrid aftertaste of disdain.
We just need to DO it.
Are you with me?
Dig a little deeper today and shine some thrival love on your sister. Swing out with wild generosity. Be outrageous optimistic on their behalf.
And dare to believe them when they respond in kind.