Stop Fighting Women for a Seat at the Table
On paper, lifestyle blogger and online retailer shop owner Paige Minear and I should be enemies. We need the same customers for our antique and vintage resale websites, Shop Pink Clutch and Grandmillennial Shop, respectively. We both hope to extend our writing dreams to become regular contributors or editors for major publications. We even get invited to the same media events where it is expected that we vie for the attention of the hosts. However, we have never once competed with each other. Instead, we strive to say each other's names in rooms where one of us isn't present. We hand over items for our respective shops as needed. We lift each other in our successes. We even host events and IG LIVE sessions where we sell each other’s items (and frankly, each other’s brands). Unlike so many female friendships out there, we have never once competed.
When did women decide that it’s easier to tear each other down than lift each other up? According to Harvard Business Review, there is a belief among women that we are competing for the same seat at the table. Mikaela Kiner, the author of the article, says, “When women adopt this scarcity mindset and fight among themselves, it holds all women back.” As I sink more heavily into my 30s, I find this very thing to be true. To be honest, it takes so much more energy to compete with someone than lift them up. Here are a few ways that we can work more powerfully with each other:
1Hire Your Friends
When I find myself in need of a skill or a product, I first turn to my friendship network. One of my favorite memories is when I decided to change my dentist so I could have my teeth cleaned by my friend who is a dental hygienist. It was such a joy to see her in her life’s passion, and it was a glimpse into her world. As a former teacher, I found that a true testament to my skills was to have my peers request their kids be in my class. Talk about a major boost of confidence! My living room was designed by the talented interior designer Maggie Griffin, who happens to be a dear friend. When I needed a good birthday present for my sister, I turned to a friend who had launched her own needlepoint business.
2Make Social Media Supportive
Sometimes, it’s not realistic to support friends financially. Maybe you’re on a budget, or her brick-and-mortar shop is several states away. That’s when social media can come to our aid. Like her photo. Add a comment. Share it to your stories. That 60 seconds of your life could bring an entire hour of joy to hers.
3Speaking of Social Media, Allow Me to Introduce You to the Mute Feature
Often described as a highlight reel, Instagram can be a slippery slope of comparison. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you find yourself being more irritated by a follow than supportive, go ahead and mute them. Or better yet, just unfollow. It’s no secret that Instagram can breed mean girl behavior, too. If you find yourself with the urge to gossip … just don’t. Tap unfollow and move on.
4Become a Mentor
If you think back on your life, you’ve likely had someone take you under their wing. There are few feelings that top knowing that someone was always in your corner. Over the years, I have had several mentors that stick out in my mind. While I have moved on from that particular time period or job, I will always hold a special place in my heart for them. As a result, I do the best I can to help others. Want to ask me questions about freelance writing? Let’s talk on the phone! Need help with getting your Shopify website started? Let me give you my tech gal’s info. I am all about making the road to success easier for the next person.
I am going to leave you with one final piece of advice: You are who you surround yourself with. Be sure your circle is full of supportive, kind women. Look for the “you can sit with us girls.” Trust me — they’re out there. In fact, you are one yourself.