Chanele McFarlane Shares 5 Genuine Ways You Can Support Women in Your Personal and Professional Life
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With many of us spending tons of time on social media, it’s pretty accurate to say that on an average day we’re exposed to tons of content, especially from people sharing their achievements, vacations, ideas and aspirations. So, be honest – how did you feel the last time someone shared that they just landed an amazing new job or are taking off for an exotic beach vacation?
If you felt even an ounce of jealousy – that’s ok. It happens to the best of us but the question is – do you allow these feelings to prevent you from showing support? I’m just going to go right out and say it – many of us don’t support other women because we’re jealous or we’re simply selfish.
Let’s say you just found out about a new skill that will become very important to your job in the next few months. Do you a) keep this valuable new-found knowledge to yourself and learn the skill so you can get a promotion and leave your colleagues behind OR b) do you immediately let the rest of your colleagues know and work together over the next few months to learn it together so you can all succeed?
This exact situation was presented to Dorothy, one of the 3 main characters in the Oscar award-winning movie Hidden Figures. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend it as it is a perfect example of what happens when women support each other instead of working against each other. Dorothy chose to share the knowledge with the rest of her colleagues, despite really wanting a promotion!
We’re all familiar with the “glass ceiling”. But I often think that because we’re aware that this “glass ceiling” exists, many women go through life with a “every woman for themselves” mentality. Yes, it’s important to be dedicated to the growth of your own career and life but why not take the time to also pull other women up with you?
Here are 5 ways you can show support in both your personal and professional life:
- Send a congratulations card
Did someone in your family or professional network just land a great new job? Take 5 minutes to write them a card and send it to them via snail mail. I know it’s easy to send a quick text or DM but a handwritten card is still the best way to show someone you care. They’ll really appreciate you thinking of them and plus they’ll never forget it.
- Take them out for coffee or lunch
Have you noticed that someone is working on a new project or that they’re months into a job search? Offer to take them out for coffee (or lunch if you’re feeling extra generous!) so you can catch up and see how you can help them succeed.
- Share their work and/or requests on social media
Whether you have 100,000 followers or 100 followers, it means so much if you choose to share someone else’s content. If you see that someone is looking for a job, recommendations or they’ve simply just shared a new blogpost – don’t hesitate to share with your network.
- Give regular, genuine comments
There’s nothing like a genuine compliment to make someone’s day. If you really do like their hair, dress, shoes, necklace or maybe you love their latest blog post – tell them! You never know – your compliment may just give them a much-needed extra boost of confidence.
- Start your own meetup or networking event
Create the opportunity for women to come together, share ideas and receive support from other like-minded women! It can even be as small as a casual meeting in a local coffee shop!
Remember, one of the best ways you can highlight your value (especially when you meet new people!) is to genuinely provide your support. Not only is it a great way to strengthen your connections within your network but you’ll notice how happy and positive it makes you feel. As Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, so accurately says: “When we help each other, it’s a self-reinforcing positive cycle. When we support each other, we grow. And once you get to critical mass, it’s much better for all of us.”
Chanèle McFarlane is the Founder of Do Well Dress Well and ideate networking. She’s passionate about inspiring women to succeed in style and make a statement through valuable content, resources and networking events. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!