Angelos - Spring 2017

Go Confidently

Susan Skog 2017-04-13 01:49:04

MENDING THE SISTERHOOD some of my absolutely favorite things came together one fine spring afternoon in 2015 as I was writing a book about strengthening the sisterhood: those first gorgeous rays of early spring, an outdoor patio, live music and a gathering of women. One by one, we left behind offices, campuses, homes, law firms, nonprofits, dorm rooms and corporations and stepped into a circle of warm, welcoming faces. From all appearances, we could have been longtime friends about to celebrate the end of a long winter. Let the fun in the sun begin! But most of us had not met before, and we'd gathered for another reason: to talk candidly about that often-taboo topic kept in the shadows: how tough women can be on one another. Going around the circle, one by one, the women shared from their hearts. I truly believe the well-being of women and the world will rest on similar circles of well-intentioned women. And I'll always be grateful to that circle of women for their willingness to break the silence on this topic. I went home, even more on fire to finish my book, Mending the Sisterhood & Ending Women's Bullying, which is a call-to-action for all of us to better champion one another. Women hold some of the highest hopes for the world as we use our collective strength, wisdom, compassion and collaboration to rock politics, medicine, education, parenting, the arts and business. But I also believe, after speaking with women all over the world and interviewing or gathering recommendations from dozens of experts on this topic, women have to keep shining a light on this shadow on the sisterhood. And heal it – to be an ever greater collective force for good and pave the way for girls coming up behind us. As NoVo Foundation Co-President Jennifer Buffett said in endorsing my project: "Women are ushering in a more humane world based on collaboration and partnership, not exploitation or domination . . . But to rise up and answer the calls of the world, women themselves also need to answer the call to evolve, come together and help one another succeed, not hold one another back." I'm grateful that thousands here and around the world, on every continent, responded to my book's call-to-action and pulled up a chair in a women's circle, joined Facebook discussions, or responded to my online articles. I'm also grateful to Kappa Delta's powerful openness to air this discussion and advocate for solutions. This openness and advocacy is empowering to women everywhere. In the past year and a half, I've heard from women from Los Angeles to Calcutta to London saying they find it empowering, inspiring and healing to talk about how we can ease the conflicts between women and reach new heights to better support each other, in and out of the workplace. So here's YOUR invitation to join this conversation and keep celebrating the sisterhood of women as a force for good in the world. And here are three things we all can do, right where we are, to address this issue and lift up ourselves and women around us: SHINE A LIGHT ON THE ISSUE: Whether you're on a campus or in a workplace or women's gathering, try to have candid, thoughtful conversations about this issue. We can't change what we won't acknowledge. We can't end something, once and for all, if we don't admit it's all around us. Let's take this issue into the light with solid, non-judgmental discussions, solutions and policies. BE WISE WITH YOUR WORDS: Words are one of the most powerful tools you can use to lift up, collaborate with and advocate for yourself and other women. Use them beautifully. If a woman advances a good idea in a meeting or gathering, cheer for it. Try to slow down and genuinely find the words if a friend needs comfort, kindness or appreciation. And always hold yourself accountable for gossiping, verbal attacks, cyber bullying and trolling. People who tear others down often feel torn up inside. So if you feel drawn to saying something mean, belittling or false about another woman, do something that fills you up instead. Be kind to yourself, so you're not unkind to someone else. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE, COLLABORATIVE AND CONFIDENT women: Surround yourself with women who are happy, confident, generous and exhibit the excitement, meaning and passion you want to express. We tend to resemble and align with the people with whom we surround ourselves, so choose your friends and trusted circle wisely. Gift yourself with friends and colleagues who know there are absolutely enough opportunities, achievements and successes to go around. Life has never been a zero-sum game. Trust there are infinite possibilities for all of us. NOW, GO OUT AND SHINE BIG, SISTER. Let your light rip. Don't dull your shine by watching, comparing or measuring yourself against other women. Show jealousy the door. It's too small to stay in your big and generous world. Do whatever makes you feel inspired, on-fire and fulfilled. Use your gifts, trust your instincts, blaze big. Be the amazing, magnificent and truly unstoppable woman you came to be. In the end, if you love and honor yourself and what you give to the world, you will lose interest in resenting other women. Work to build bonds with other women around you. Give back, make a difference, be the change you want to see in the world. Channel your positive energy and passion through volunteering and service projects that help women and girls in the world reach for a brighter day. Be a generous woman, and the world will be generous to you! And never forget: When women live and lead from our strengths, we are magnificent beyond measure. We nurture, lift up, connect and love as only women can. Trained as a journalist, Susan Skog is a seven-time bestselling author, Huffington Post and national magazine writer, and advocate for developing world women and girls. Her latest book, Mending the Sisterhood & Ending Women's Bullying, is based on interviews and accounts from more than 50 women, including conflict-resolution experts, corporate executives, journalists, women's and moms' group leaders, top bloggers and others. In an empowered and positive fashion, Mending the Sisterhood is a call-to-action for women to lift up one another, not tear down Here's a sampling: "I work in a male-dominated profession, but the most toxic relationships I've experienced and witnessed have been with colleagues who were women." "In my world, it's about the gossiping. Women never say things directly to you, but there are always little groups gossiping and saying horrible stuff . . . Or they shun and don't talk to someone who used to be in the group . . . The shunned women aren't invited to luncheons or walks. They aren't talked to or acknowledged. You can feel the tension. It feels icky, like high school." "I also have been bullied and seen it in the workplace. Right now, the bullying is mostly from women. It's just terrible." "I thought one of my friends would be my biggest cheerleader and supporter, but she ended up tearing me down and not celebrating my successes with me. She ignored me, was very passive aggressive, pretended I didn't exist, and was jealous of projects I took on. It made me feel awful."

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