Hello SOTGC community,
Don’t you love it when you are hanging out with some of your best friends? These women range in age, social status, education, occupation, ethnicity, and political affiliation. There are one to two individuals within the group that are the common denominator, but everyone is a perfect fit! You can count on the evening being filled with many great conversations where everyone comes to the set with their hot topics for the week. These topics range in the different categories that could be labeled important, serious, lighthearted, and “just because.”
The air in the room is filled with great anticipation for that warm feeling of comfort, camaraderie, and collegiality among real friends. On any given night, you will find women all around the world gathering in a space to let their hair down, smoke a cigar, or have a glass of wine. You will find, at times, the group discussions break off into mini conversation pieces throughout the room. There you can witness side bar laughter that’s reminiscent of a fireside chat.
However, as the evening progresses, the conversations, tone, and tenor become more pronounced and in depth. This is where topics of a serious nature come to play with all willing to show their hand. The women here aren’t afraid of the title, notion, or backlash of being called or considered powerful, opinionated, or even bossy for that matter. This is a training ground of sorts, where the young watch the more seasoned ladies strut their prowess and share their truth and feelings about all things!
The accountability factor is on a level that far exceeds most work places, and having a strong opinion with facts and data to support it is a prerequisite. The disagreements are real, heated, and grounded in passion for a deeper cause. There’s pointing, voice inflections, and, sometimes, a few tears added to the atmosphere. However, the one thing that is also a must is respect and a mutual understanding that all things shared come from a place of making the group better.
You hear all too often that disagreements, differences of opinions, and opposite sides of an argument are a bad thing. Here, they are the opportunity to stand your ground and earn your stripes, giving all those sitting at these titan tables more than just a seat but a badge for learning the skillful art of negotiating and navigating differences without taking disagreements personally! Just think … a group dedicated to helping you and other women develop their own negotiating techniques. A place to try out your strategy for asking for a raise, more vacation time or the confidence to stand in your truth.
Then when heated debates and disagreements within other circles arise, especially circles that include men or your boss, you aren’t overwhelmed by the moment or feel out of place. As a matter of fact, you feel right at home and able to a keep your head and show yourself to be a true asset and a calm collaborator. Using this platform first with topics that aren’t as important could be useful, as it’s a way to get your feet wet and learn different approaches to overcome or redirect the content for most encounters.
Remember that two of the most overlooked elements of productive and rewarding disagreements are: 1). They strengthen our ability to communicate and think in the jungle of
modern-day America; 2). They can enhance our ability to identify a female mentor who is in our corner rallying for our success. This can motivate us to set higher goals, better understand challenges, and embrace the diverse beauty in women, life, and the workforce. The most important take-away I want each and every one of you to carry forward is: Don’t be afraid of the opportunity to be the center of discourse and never shy away from speaking with passion around your own unique experiences. Because your stories and ideas are plentiful and can offer richness to any dialogue.
How many disagreements are you now interested in having? Begin placing yourself in position to develop and hone your tolerance for disagreements in familiar circles. Start with smaller issues and work your way up to more challenging topics. Let us know if this is a difficult concept to conceptualize. If not, let us know how your first disagreement goes via Twitter and tag @empowermee and @SOTGC in your post. We would love to share your growth.