Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Will the Western Woman Really Save the World?

The world will be saved by the western woman. ~The Dalai Lama, Vancouver Peace Summit 2009

I believe The Dalai Lama's statement to be true, particularly because I believe that I am one of these Western women that is part of being the change in this world. However, through my own experiences in creating a company to do just that – help change the world – I am realizing my own self limiting beliefs and self sabotage that whether familial, societal or just self imposed keep me from fully making that happen. I think in order for us as Western women to truly make that happen a couple key things need to shift in us, by us and for us in order for this to happen…

First, we must stop apologizing. I can’t tell you the amount of times, when I work with women, that women apologize for every misstep, missed action or inappropriate gesture. The beauty of women is that we care, we truly care and worry about others and the impacts of our actions on others. We have empathy. We can feel others and we are sensitive to anything that can negatively impact others. This doesn’t mean that we need to apologize every time we are delayed in returning a phone call or forget all together or we don’t live up to something we have committed to. I don't see men apologizing as often. In fact, I think they recognize that failure and messing up is just part of the process. If we just started to set a few more boundaries and more realistic expectations and didn’t try to take it all on, we wouldn’t find the need to apologize all the time. Save yourself and others the time and energy from apologizing all the time and set boundaries, realistic expectations and you won’t disappoint others, you won’t feel bad and you certainly won’t have to apologize so often.

We must stop doubting, questioning and second guessing ourselves. This is a big one I have experienced in my own journey, particularly in the journey to get investors for my company. I don’t know the world of seeking investors, I am learning by fire and it isn’t always easy, particularly because I wasn't raised in this world. So I second guess myself, a lot, too much in fact. Every step I take, every new experience that is unfamiliar (which is about 99% of them at this point), I question and doubt myself. When I look around in the world, I notice that I am not the only woman who does this. I don’t know if it is biology, sociology or something else all together, but it seems as though more women question and self doubt themselves than men. There is some inherent quality in men that is almost entitled, built with courage, built with an expectation of success or an understanding that failure is just expected and so with every failure comes an opportunity for success. Perhaps it is my own upbringing, but it seems to me that I am not alone in my observation, there are many women out there who suffer from this. What if we could walk into meetings with the same confidence, knowingness and self belief as our male counterparts? What if we could put aside the doubt and see and believe the end result will be at least as good, if not better than we imagined and that we are worthy and deserving of that outcome? Then the world would truly begin to experience the impact and outcomes that we are here to create.

We need to stop being afraid to claim that we are experts. Why is it that it is very easy for men to say that they are experts in an area, but rather as women we say we are knowledgeable? There is something inherent in women that we feel that if we don’t know it all, we can’t say we are an expert. Yet, when we are approached by others, we know the full expanse of an issue, the continuum of factors related to those issues and we see things from a multidimensional perspective that allow us to very often have a unique 360 degree view of a subject, we still deny that we are experts. Rather, men often times are more able earlier on to say they are experts and then fake it until they make it, as the saying goes. What if we began to say we were experts and prove it along the way with our unique world view and multidimensional perspectives?

We must stop bootstrapping. Again, I am not sure why it is, but it seems like there is some sort of underground club, that allows men to reach out and ask for more with confidence and usually get it. Rather, women, we tend to ask for less and then bootstrap our way through it and make it work, but at what cost? What if we stopped setting limitations and started reaching for the sky and asking for what we are worth and what we really need? I am always amazed at what we accomplish on the limited budgets we start out with. What if we actually started getting budgets worthy of the true vision of what we were creating? Imagine how much we could accomplish! It is kind of like Mohammed Yunnus who revolutionized microlending and gave women small loans only to show that they were the most responsible with money and the return on investment was a lot higher and paid back a lot quicker because of their keen respect for the true value of money. Can you imagine if the world started investing more in women and their ideas and visions, how much more incredible the world would be? What could we really accomplish if we stopped bootstrapping and started advocating for, fighting for and standing up for what was really needed to achieve these goals? Imagine the return on investment it would have on the world!

While each of these things may not apply to all women, I believe they are some of the reasons we are not quite there yet, but we are close, oh so close. Could you imagine what the world will be like, when we as women stop getting in our own way and start speaking our truths, living our truths and walking in the courage and confidence of all that we are and all that we are here to be and do? And what if the rest of the world started opening up to the possibilities, supporting these visions and like Mohammed Yunnus gave women the chance to truly change the world for the better?

I believe it is all possible and that believe starts with me first and foremost. Me believing in me. Me not apologizing. Me not second guessing and self doubting. Me knowing that I am an expert. Me not bootstrapping and asking for less. Me standing up with courage and strength to speak my truth. By doing this I believe and know that the world will be a better place and me as a western woman and we as western women will indeed save, or change, the world!

You can find me at www.facebook.com/pilarstella and twitter @pilarstella.

10 comments:

  1. yeah, that's me too. thanks so much for echoing my own inner thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen, Sister! We will save the world when we understand that we have the power, and the responsibility, to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the comments...yeah, it is when we recognize it within ourselves and are here to remind each other when we are doing that second guessing thing...to keep going keep believing and keep on keepin on...once we get it inside then we can partner with women around the world to remind us all of the same... ;) p

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very powerful blog! Thanks Pilar for these observations and reminders.
    To implement your revealing ideas, thoughts and practices... I ask myself: How willing am I to accept change? It should be a 10. And how teachable am I? It should also be a 10! Now I am steps closer to changing myself for the better :)

    ReplyDelete