“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” Madeleine K. Albright
We all want to believe that women are all busy connecting, supporting and empowering one another, but reality is that some are not doing their part. What is causing women to lack compassion or become envious of other women? Why would you not want to share your knowledge or resources?
In a recentMSNBCinterview, Elura Nanos, an attorney and a managing partner of Morange, an educational firm for law students, has seen tons of women, including herself, not helping other women but doesn’t think it’s about being “bitchy.” Nanos said, “Many women are too busy to help each other. I own a business, work full time, I have two small children, and does charity work hobbies. I have a wonderful husband, but he doesn’t do half the amount of things I do.”
Yes, we are all busy wearing many hats, but is it really a good reason not to help others? Think how you would feel if you needed help and nobody wanted to help you. By putting yourself in their shoes, allows you to be more apt to find time to help them overcome challenges so that ultimately, everyone can achieve their goals and aspirations.
Last week, two women from my virtual community, felt compelled to call me for advice. Both gave me permission to share a little of their stories:
- Lisa (not her real name) works full time at a non-profit agency that provides career training to several rural communities. In her spare time, she offers coaching services in a virtual setting. In a recent meeting with her immediate supervisor, who is also a business owner, she was surprised to be given an ultimatum; either stop her coaching business or resign from the company! Mind you, her business model is very different from that of her employer. So, she contacted me for a listening ear and advice.
- Diane (not her real name) recently started a human resource firm but struggling with deep personal issues which has caused her to doubt her abilities as a business owner. She feels unworthy and was recently told by her mentor, a prominent business woman, that she should just give it up until she gets help with her issues and find a real job! Can you imagine how devastated Diane felt as she shared her story with me? After talking to her, I found her to be extremely experienced and capable of running a successful business!
I could have easily used my jam packed calendar as a reason not to talk to these ladies, as I am as busy as Nanos is, i.e., employed as a full time director of a non-profit agency; run two virtual businesses, “National Association Women on the Rise” and “Browder Consulting Group;” have a very active family; hold two board positions, an avid motorcyclist and attend church regularly. But, I didn’t think twice about my schedule when Lisa and Diane contacted me. In fact, it was my pleasure to schedule an appointment to talk to both. So, why are some women reluctant to help others?
To help, here are 3 ways every woman can make a difference.
Successful business women understand the importance of having a mentor. In fact, developing a portfolio of mentors to meet different aspects of your life, both personally and professionally, is paramount! By becoming a mentor allows you to visualize someone in your image who you’ve helped to become as successful as you someday! After talking to Diane, I volunteered to mentor her monthly with weekly emails that includes action steps and affirmations. In addition, I connected her with one of NAWR’s expert spiritual advisors.
Many of us know the value of networking. It is less about handing out your business cards and more about paying it forward. When you are talking to people, think about who would be a good connection for them. For example, at a recent chamber event I attended, I met a woman who was a writer for a newspaper and currently freelancing technical and ghost writing services. Immediately, I thought about another business owner who wanted to start a blog but didn’t have time to write articles. I was able to later connect them.
Why not form a peer advisory group? This group of entrepreneurs could be from diverse industries and get together on a regular basis to share best practices, solve problems and be a source of support for the group.
I have a dynamic group of peers who serve as expert advisors for NAWR’s members. We are all supportive of each other. Having a strong and solid relationship with this group of women makes it easy to give and receive business referrals.
In conclusion, we must strive to make it a part of our personal mission to support and be great role models to others. When one of us succeeds, we all do!