I’ve been really processing my thoughts for today’s #MONDAYMAGIC✨, and know that this one could be more controversial than before. There are two main issues plaguing me recently; the buzz and trend of failure, and that equality has not yet been reached for women as a whole. There are several things that have sparked this internal struggle over the last several years, but a few things have brought them right back to the surface recently and I need my tribe to help me work these out.
My Lady Boss Perspective
So first, what is the deal with this trend of failing? We’re in such a unique point in time of buzz and trend pushing failure as a badge of honor. Fail fast. Fail forward. Fail often. 🤨
Okay, I kind of get it. I understand that we all go through difficult times, and that no one has it as easy as it may seem they do. The relativity of the point is great, and I get the need for motivation to “dust yourself off and try again” is oh so real (any other Aaliyah fans just sing that? 🎶 Oh just me…?🤷🏻♀️). Failing doesn’t mean the road ends, but I think a lot of the glamorization of failure lately has many of us believing that it doesn’t hurt THAT much.
Well guess what, it does. Several weeks ago, I mentioned how the “we can have it all” rhetoric is set up for women to fail and I’ve recently seen that in action more than ever before. I don’t even have children yet (go MOMMAS!) and I feel like I’m failing all the time. Failing my husband, failing my mother, failing as an aunt, failing as a friend, failing as a team member, and failing as an entrepreneur. And I’ll be real, it freaking HURTS.
Every time I let someone down, or even think about letting someone down, the guilt is overwhelming. Right now, I’m thinking of at least 10 people close to me that I feel I have not done nearly enough for lately. I have two best friends getting married, a best friend going through major family issues, best friends that are in the process of adopting newborn twins, a mother moving to another state, a brand new niece, a nephew that has somehow become a toddler overnight, a best friend having a baby, and at least another dozen people I love that I haven’t seen in the past month. All the while, I’m catching a real groove with my job and building the business I’ve always dreamed of.
IT’S SO CONFUSING. I can be thrilled AND feel overwhelming guilt all in the same moment. And the craziest part is I know this is something that almost ALL women are going through. BUT, with that comforting feeling that I am not alone, I am also regularly reminded of the rare women who have found real success, who have shattered the glass ceiling, who have figured out how to “have it all”, that unfortunately forget that the fight is not over for most women.
Many women at that stage of success, and many who have gone through tough fights for gender equality, are worn out and are honestly offended at being a “successful woman” rather than just being seen as successful. I know these women are well-meaning, but I’m here to remind you to please check your privilege. ☝🏻
As of 2018, women only hold 4.8% of CEO roles in Fortune 500 companies. Less than 20% of the House of Representatives are women. Only six states are ran by female governors, and two of those were appointed, not elected. And although we now make up 52% of the professional-level workforce, we only hold 25% of senior and executive level positions, and only 20% of board seats. And the significant increase in gaps for women of color are just absolutely appalling, let’s be real. ‼️
Do NOT be fooled, the fight is not over. So when you make it to that place where you’ve succeeded, you’re no longer feeling the gender discrimination (does it really exist or do we just go numb?), please do not forget that you are part of an elite group. You must still fight for other women, and lift as you climb. Being a successful WOMAN is something to wear as a badge of honor, not as a disgrace or as an annoyance. 💪🏻
Now Take it From Some of The Most Successful Women
Don’t believe the numbers I just spewed above? Check out this report from the Center for American Progress, or this dashboard from The Washington Post, or even this list of women CEOs from the 2018 Fortune 500 list.
And now that I have you fully fired up (and/or depressed, SORRY!), let’s make sure we remember that failure, while painful, is not the end all, be all. That we can rise above. That when we feel the heavy weight of that failure, we know there is more great to come for us and for our loved ones. J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech is one of my absolute favorites to remind myself that humor and perseverance are the antidote of failure.
And one of my great friends sent me this AMAZING commencement speech by Abby Wambach at Barnard this year. (I will warn you, don’t feed into the comments, especially from Ashton Kutcher’s Facebook post of this video as that is partly what riled me up on the women who don’t realize the fight is not over.)
Last but certainly not least, let these amazing women lift you up and remind you that failure is not a trend, but it is however a stepping stone.
So What Now?
Today, I challenge you to take a REAL look at your own biases. Have you gotten to that space where you’re resentful for being the successful WOMAN in the room, not just the successful PERSON? Take a few minutes to realize why that is a privilege, not a burden. Share in the comments what you come across. 🗣
Second, I challenge you to check in on your “strongest” girl friend. We have been taught from a young age to “suck it up” and to not show our weaknesses, and to “not be that girl”, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t feel that way inside. So the woman you think has it all together, ask her to coffee and see how she’s really doing. Shoot her a text and dig deeper than the normal “busy, but great!” answer.
We’re all fighting battles, and we’re all fighting for balance, and all the while we’re trying to continue fighting the good fight. Let’s help each other out, and acknowledge the toughness. We can be positive, badass women and also be real. Keep fighting girls, we’re not done yet.
Talk soon 👋🏻