I have always been a groupie.
Like when we emigrated to Canada and actively sought out other ex-Brits, because we shared a common background, perspective and a dry sense of humour. I found there was comfort in sharing observations of our new lives.
Or when I was a young mother, home alone with my first baby. I’d always dreamt of being the “good mother,” ever-patient and loving every moment with my child. Well, maybe not. But that was my expectation and it wasn’t until I met up with some other young mothers, who fast became friends, that I realized how unrealistic my vision was. These women were brave enough to remove the mask and we were able to share the good, the bad and the ugly with each other.
I was reminded of all this at this week’s re-launch of the Durham chapter when Jenny McKee, my new chapter leader, was quick to encourage the women to be real and not to put on phony fronts that all is well, when it isn’t. It is when we are authentic and honest, both with ourselves and others, that we truly gain.
As I watched the women connect and open up to one another, you could see the heads nodding. It is a relief to know that you are not the only one to feel isolated and alone when you run your own business – heck, that’s why I started Company of Women in the first place.
No matter what your business is, I’ve found that the issues are the same – finding customers, cash flow, keeping customers, cash flow, staying positive, and more - and when we can open up and share our challenges, we can then draw on the wisdom of the women around us.
Years ago I worked on a research project – Double Jeopardy – which was looking at how best to support women who were super-stressed and turning to drugs and alcohol to cope. What did we find out? The women said connecting with others who had been in similar situations or were on the same path was what they needed. It could be one-on-one or in groups, but the key component was that the women shared similar experiences.
As women we like to belong, to be part of a community and at Company of Women I’d like to think we’ve created a safe, non-judgmental environment where you can be Suzy, entrepreneur or just Suzy, depending on the day.
Both are welcome. Let’s face it, the different segments of our lives are so intertwined, and each impacts the other. So no matter what, just know that we support you and we’re here to help you succeed.
Remember, there’s strength in numbers.