We all found our way to the League for different reasons. Some of us were motivated to find and interact with like-minded women. Others were drawn to the League with the a strong desire to eradicate human trafficking. Still others wanted to work on combating childhood obesity. And some found their way to the League because a friend of a friend simply asked them to attend.
And while we all found our way to the League for different reasons, we are all bound together by a common goal to help each other find our way.
As League members, we have already adopted the notion that we are here in part, to help other women succeed. After all, part of our mission statement includes a commitment to developing the potential of women. But what does that mean exactly and what kind of obstacles can stand in our way from helping other women grow?
Empowerment refers to “increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered (persons) developing confidence in their own capacities.”
So where do we begin?
Try to keep an open mind. We all bring our own prejudices and preconceived notions to the table. We might think we know the contents of someone else’s heart.
We may believe that we already understand why someone behaves the way they do. But until we set our assumptions aside and truly investigate another’s life story, we could be totally off the mark. Make a sincere effort to get to know the women with which you serve. You may surprised to learn that everyone is fighting a hard battle; that we all deal with successes, joy, insecurities and doubt. And all of us have some gift or talent we can share. Ultimately, we are all here because we had the courage to step outside our comfort zones and take a leap of faith.
Be a leader. Although not every League member holds a formal leadership position, every member of the League can lead others by the example they set. During the first League General Membership Meeting, President Julie Gheen asked all of us to simply say “hello.” She asked us to seek out someone with whom we hadn’t met before and reach out. A seemingly simple act of courtesy helps others feel that they belong. And that feeling of good will spread each time someone reaches out to another.
Set an example. How many of us, in or outside the League, have come upon a situation where we are confronted with gossip? Maybe a coworker is talking about your boss. Or an acquaintance is ranting about a friend of yours. This is an opportunity for you to set an example by which you refuse to engage in the negativity that surrounds you. You may take this opportunity to help others grow too. You could suggest that instead of engaging in a fruitless dialogue, that they might want to respectfully discuss their concerns directly with the person(s) with whom they have the issue. No one wins when gossip enters the room. It’s toxic and accomplishes nothing.
Teach. In the world we live in today, it’s important to be a life long learner. Everything moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Just when we have a handle on the world around us, things change again! When we see someone struggling to keep up, we can make an effort to help.
Maybe you can assist someone in learning how to speak in public effectively. Maybe your knowledge in the tech industry could be useful to someone who is struggling to learn how to create a website. Whatever it is, give someone the gift of your knowledge. Pay it forward. They won’t forget you and chances are they will do the same for someone else. Helping others is contagious.
Provide encouragement. We’ve all been there. We lose a job. We launch a new career. Someone in our family gets sick. A divorce happens. We get engaged. Or we are blessed with having a child. Life is messy and exciting. It’s inevitable.
So when a major change occurs we can all use a little support along the way. Maybe you’ve walked in the shoes of someone who is now struggling. It’s OK to reach out and to empathize. It’s OK to celebrate too! Most of us are not in the position to solve other people’s problems nor should we, but a kind word or an offer to get together for a coffee goes a long way.
We are all privileged to be a part of a community of women. We have the power to make it in to whatever vision we hold for ourselves. We are in the unique position to actually change the world by empowering the women around us. Each time a woman has the courage to step out into the world and achieve her goals, she is shining a light for other women to do the same.
Now that the League year is in full swing, please take a moment and think about how you can empower the ladies around you. We’d love to hear what you’ve gained from being in the League. How have you become more empowered or how are you empowering others? Leave a comment below!