By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.
I’m going to Mexico with 120 women from the Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business (WWMB). I feel so fortunate to be in this group with so many accomplished women. There are many women’s groups available, but these women have always stood solidly behind me.
My Support Team
They were there to comfort me when Tom Rieger passed, they were there to cheer me on through my transition from ColorMark to MEDiAHEAD, to hold me up through my cancer journey and to celebrate my recovery and marriage to dear John Ditch.
When I was diagnosed with cancer and before my surgery, I decided that I couldn’t go on the Women Who Mean Business Mexico trip in 2018. But, my extraordinary friend and cheerleader Cindy Reynolds (who has been my roommate for 10 years on the trip) convinced me that I should go.
I can’t even count the times that WWMB’s hugged me, gave me a high five or shouted “you got this” – it made all the difference in my attitude when I went into surgery and treatment a week later. And who could forget Betsy Allgeyer, who went to every treatment with me – even though I didn’t know her very well when she offered to take me the first time.
This is a world where many of us are working in male dominated industries and trying to break the glass ceiling. Women are striving for equality in so many areas, it makes no sense for us not be lifting each other up. Supporting other women and celebrating their successes can make you much more successful, because it encourages others to do the same for you.
Here are my 5 to-do’s this year to become someone who celebrates other women:
- If you admire something or someone, let them know. As women we’re always hard on ourselves – we are often split between career and family, feeling that we’re not doing a great job on either. A kind word or simple compliment can make an enormous difference in their day.
- Give other women a hand up. We can help each other by supporting and reinforcing their voices, as well as championing their efforts and abilities – if someone has done an amazing job, tell them and celebrate them in front of other people. And, make time to mentor – all of us can point to someone in their life who inspired them and gave them a helping hand.
- Be present. Years ago, in a seminar I attended there was one line that has stuck with me all these years – must be present to win. By being present in life, work and with your family you are winning. Next time you are talking to a female friend or co-worker, try to actively listen and engage with them, ask them thoughtful questions and give them your full attention. Your attention will make them feel appreciated and empowered.
- Find your team. As I mentioned above, it’s so important to have a group that celebrates you. As women, we downplay our successes, so find a group of like-minded women who are chasing similar goals and cheer them on… while they cheer for you. When pain and disaster hits, you will want a team that backs you up and supports you to get back on track. Tell women your goals and they will make you accountable – I went to a SkillPath seminar yesterday on setting goals and this was one of the things that the panel expressed as so important – tell your team you’re writing a book and next time they see you they will ask “how is that book coming?”
- Be kind, you never know what someone is going through. No matter how someone looks or acts, you truly never know what is happening in their lives. In Mexico one year, we all met on the beach every morning to talk and pray and I was so surprised at some of the incredibly difficult things so many of these accomplished “perfect” women were going through. You will never know how much a small act of kindness will affect someone, so practice it every day. There have been so many times that I walked into an event and saw someone in the corner: I always walk over, pull them out of their shyness and introduce them to other people. Be their champion, I know what it is like to be the shy one.
How has celebrating other women made you more successful?