November 17, 2012

For the past four years, I’ve frequently dodged the topics of ‘women in business’ and ‘equality’ for a few reasons:

I simply just didn’t get it. Wasn’t brought up in an environment that fostered a man > woman mentality so I didn’t realize it was an issue until I was old enough to have already bypassed many of the obstacles that evidentially stand in ‘our’ way.

Out of fear of being viewed as a ‘feminist’, I refrained from acknowledging the topic. There was something about all of ‘those women’ out there that seemed unnecessarily defensive. I didn’t understand what “we” (women) had to defend.

Call it naiveté’. Call it the by factor of growing up in the woods playing baseball and hunting with my father and brother, I wasn’t about to touch that silly subject. Didn’t have time.

Well, I do now. I’m owning it. Finally stepping up to the plate.

Just as I’ve encouraged fellow women to Own It. I’ve decided myself to own this topic. Own the discussion. Bring it. Let’s discuss this non-issue because evidentially it’s still an issue. The stats clearly demonstrate this. I get it. Here’s the kicker: It has little or nothing to do with men, in my opinion.

Lately, I’ve been asked to speak at many women-centric events. The audiences are filled with females. They aren’t ‘moms’, they aren’t ‘business women’ and they aren’t ‘mommy bloggers’. They’re women who naturally blend all aspects of their lives, rightfully so, yet they’re labeled by society because we’re not sure how to refer to or categorize these ‘multitasking, multidimenitional, women’.

Have I tricked conference organizers and corporate execs to believe I’ve figured something out? Nope. I’ve just tripped a few times and I have a loud mouth.

WOMEN GET IN THEIR OWN WAY. We simply get in our own way. Study after study demonstrates this very fact.

During a Q&A session the other day, a successful businesswoman asked me how I get OUT of my own way and if my physical presence was something to consider. My answer was:

If I know my sh*t, I’m good. (Excuse my language. Women are allowed to ‘cuss’, right? Ha.) Doesn’t matter if I’m wearing an old ACDC t-shirt, red lipstick, my fat pants or a business suit. If I know what I’m talking about and know there’s value in the information I have to offer, I’m good. As a 29 year old, many times I found myself sitting across conference room tables from billionaires. I was selling, educating and negotiating on the topic I knew most about. I had something they wanted. Knowledge. The thing between them and myself that kept them from growing their business was my willingness to share my experience on a certain subject matter. Have you ever been in a situation where knowledge was NOT respected?

Know your shit. Be confident. Own it. And when you trip, because you will, quickly get up, with your chin up, apply the lessons and move on. Last I checked both men and women trip. We’re equal.

A few things happened this week, which sparked this post:

I had lunch w/ Julie Foudy. She’s someone I respect greatly, not just because she’s earned Olympic Gold medals and World Cup titles but because she humbly leads a life that naturally empowers other women, including her 5 year old daughter, to Own It.

I was humbled, (surprised!) and fortunate to be included among a few female business leaders whom I look up to. Pinch me moment.

Long-term, sustainable change relies on us getting out of our own way, teaching our peers it’s the only way and teaching our children that there’s no other way. It must become a part of our DNA because being a woman isn’t a handicap.

I look forward to our progress and the discussion ahead. Own it, #TeamRenegades.

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