Okay, here we go! Today is the first installment of Christine and my Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series. I’m excited to see how we will learn from each other. On her blog, I answered her question: How do you apply the advice and suggestions you offer your clients to your own projects and endeavors?
My Question to My Mentor:
What do you do to cultivate mutually supportive female relationships in your life?
Historically, I’ve been a “guy’s girl” so answering this great question took a bit of thought! Cultivating supportive female relationships wasn’t always part of my Modus Operandi. Quite frankly, I always felt more at home with my male counterparts. I had more (or so I thought) in common in both my business and personal life. And then, one day out of ( ? ) somewhere I had a feeling that I needed some relationship balancing.
I asked myself, “why haven’t I forged more meaningful female relationships in business and in my personal life?” I had a few, but not a ton. I considered whether it was because of not-yet-recognized self-conscious aspects or what? Turned out after much meditation it was because I felt vulnerable admitting that I wanted to learn from women, but didn’t want to talk about tupperware, babies, marriage or mini-vans… Yep, I know, sounds kind of cliche or perhaps even as if I’m stereotyping women, but those were my reasons. I feared competition or that asking for advice would be perceived as a sign of weakness.
So, I asked myself, “why do I want more meaningful relationships with women and what do I hope to gain and share from these newly forged interactions?” Framing this intention was the most useful tool to help guide me toward this understanding and cultivation. What I found was that women, despite having babies or tupperware parties are cool, wise individuals that can bestow gifts to one another.
Here’s some things to consider and meditate on when putting your intentions into action:
• Identify if you’re standing in your own way and why? Ask yourself how you can remove the barrier between you and your desired relationship(s). To get an idea of what this would be like, visualize what’s on the other side of the perceived barrier. What does is feel like once the barrier has been removed? Note what comes up for you and use these emotions as opportunities to reflect on your intention.
• Reach out with a compliment, praise or appreciation to engender a first good impression. Letting people know you appreciate their hard work not only feels good to them, but will empower you to enact behavior that allows you to connect with others!
• Think about what you have to share or what you have in common with women. Women love to create. They enjoy endeavors that allow them to design and create unique work and opportunities. With this in mind, and like the opportunity we’re sharing now, knowing this gave me the confidence to make calls and send emails to women I had only researched online.
• Women care about their local and global communities. If you already have something in common, social consciousness for example, you share something meaningful ethically. Let this meaningfulness act as a tool to reach out directly when forging a new relationship. Aligning through these means is also an awesome way to check back in with your original intentions.
• Just BE yourself. Be honest, be quirky, be kind, be funny, be serious, be Tara, be you! Trying to impersonate somebody else when you’ve already “got Tara down” would be a waste of a great thing!
So remember, explore why you want to cultivate these relationships in the first place, set the intention, put yourself out there, be yourself and share what works for you with your new connections to keep the experiences authentic.