We went around the group one by one. Each of the 25 participants of the Women in Leadership Aspirant Program shared what they had gained from the previous three days.
It is fairly typical that the women in the group are moved to tears at this part of the program. Tears of joy and relief as they now feel safe and supported enough to share their stories – of confidence, of belief, of self-doubt and of life. Each of us is now a little different to the person who walked in several days ago, a little wiser, a litter braver and a lot more confident in the support they will receive from the other women. We applaud and smile at the breakthroughs, we delight in the stories and we hold space for when the tears come.
And then we came to Emily, one of the younger participants. A sharp, no nonsense country girl who said, “I’m not really into this sisterhood shit but…” and she went on to say how she had been impressed by the last few days – how she had been surprised by the support she’d received and how this had somehow softened her.
She continued on, explaining how she was not generally one for journalling and reflection, more of a “just -do-it kinda girl”. Yet she was surprised how useful it was to go deep and how she had ended up places she had not imagined or intended.
Emily’s comment started a chain of thoughts for me because – GASP – I am not into that sisterhood shit either. At least I didn’t think I was.
I have no desire to burn incense and let my armpit hair grow long. I am happy with linen but have no desire for tie-dye or hemp. I draw the line at priestess worship and have no idea what divine feminine is.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, I have no actual sisters – my best friend is male and I eschew all tacky girlie rituals such as hen’s nights and baby showers.
BUT, I believe in equality of opportunity and am therefore a feminist. I believe in highlighting the unconscious bias and mindsets which hold women back from achieving their true potential AND I know that women make sense of the world through conversation, collaboration and cooperation. No wars have ever started as a result of women sitting in circles!
So, my lightbulb moment from the 3-day Aspirant Women’s Leadership course is, “If I don’t believe in this sisterhood shit, then maybe my target audience don’t either”.
Maybe as women we don’t prioritise ourselves – we are keen to recommend coaching and development for others but not for ourselves. Maybe we are so used to “doing” – we go to yoga, cooking classes, art lessons, walking tours – that the thought of just “being” for a weekend is a little scary. A whole weekend focused on ourselves and the sisterhood shit, for the price of an airfare to Melbourne to buy shoes you don’t need, is just too hard to contemplate.
Yet when we surrender and allow ourselves to be and share in the company of other wildly wonderful women, amazing transformations happen.
Don’t just believe me… read these testimonials and reviews and raise a glass to the sisterhood!