This month my thoughts turn to Female Empowerment and Communities. I wanted to share with you what this really means to me.
Community is EVERYTHING.
Empowering women at it’s very core is about supporting women and lifting each other up, not just in business, but in life too. It means encouraging women to be the very best they can be and showing them that we are so much stronger when we come together. It means sharing experiences with one another, such that your actions and indeed words will inspire others.
You know when you get that warm ‘tingly’ feeling in your stomach? I mean that strong yet weak, excited yet nervous, that goosebump feeling. That is what empowerment really means to me. It means taking a chance. It means helping women to stand up for themselves. To take a stand for what’s right. It means to give women the space to be authentic.
It means creating events to bring that online interaction offline, to truly build authentic relationships. It means to encourage women to be vulnerable to inspire others.
A community is a place where women share their journeys, stories and advice for others to learn from. There is so much value in learning from others to see yourself more clearly.
I was always drawn to the need to bring women together, to connect them with other like-minded women. We all need people we can relate to in tough times. Building a business IS tough. A community creates a bond over mutual challenges. There is something really special, nurturing and incredible about being supported by other women when you are trying to build a business. There is nothing more empowering than an army and yes I really do mean an army of women ready to fight your corner, lift you up and push you forward when you feel like giving up.
You need patience, courage, humility, resilience (in bucket loads), and sacrifice to build a business. You need people around you. A community of women that ‘get it’ is a shared space. People will provide ideas and skills when you don’t have them.
Making meaningful connections is one of the most compelling reasons to be inside a community. Of course you want to gather people around you who share similar goals and aspirations. A thriving community ‘feels’ amazing. You are literally with ‘your people’ and the connections energise you. If you don’t feel this, you are most definitely in the wrong community! Equally if you don’t show up in a community, there won’t be connections.
This week, I was privileged to be invited to be on the panel at the very first #StemConnext #WomenInTech networking event hosted by Gill Cooke from Three UK. The topic of the launch event was ‘Building a Community’.
It was an incredible event and highlighted the power of communities. It got me thinking……
I sat down and thought about all the things that make a community tick. I ended up with a pretty big list. If you want to ‘feel’ like you are part of community, here’s a few (well, more than a few) things that make a community special. If I have missed something, let me know!
- Make a good first impression.
- Take an interest in other members in the community.
- Don’t hog the conversation. Let others talk.
- Flirt a little (yes, really).
- Inspire others to do bigger and better things.
- Show others they can count on you.
- Become part of other members daily experiences.
- Work hard towards common goals.
- Engage as often as you can.
- Be willing to help others.
- Showcase your wins. They will inspire others.
- Support others’ goals.
- Don’t be annoying.
- Ask for help if you need it. Keep asking.
- Keep track of important details.
- Connect people with people who you feel might be a good fit together.
- Let down your guard. Be vulnerable. Nobody will judge.
- Deliver a return on participating in the community. Don’t just promote and run.
- Share your skills.
- Tell people what’s working for you.
- Have fun.
- Don’t let people down.
- Don’t judge or criticize. Positive stuff only please.
- Show appreciation.
- Remember that everybody has a story to tell, including you.
- Your experiences matter. Share them.
- Don’t sell. Build and nurture relationships instead. Then you will sell.
- Check in and tell us what you are doing. Don’t wait to be asked.
- Remember mistakes are just learnings.
- Be bold.
- Be brave.
- Actively participate.
- Enthusiastically refer.
- Spend time getting to know somebody you don’t know.
- Be kind.
- Give whatever you can give.
- Do something that will matter to somebody else, even if it doesn’t matter to you.
- Get social. It’s not always about business.
- Make somebody smile.
- Be authentic. We want to get to know the real you.
Until next time, take care.
ps Talking of communities – you can join our new Linkedin community HERE.
If you are not already part of our amazing free Facebook community, you can join it HERE.