I was recently invited to speak at the first ever Fierce Lab convention in Dallas. Tara Wilson, the convention mastermind, had a vision of women lifting one another up while inspiring and educating the next generation of ladies as they rise through the ranks. In essence, what do you know now that you wish you had known in your 20s? Loaded question, right? Thankfully, Tara and her team had a direction to help us focus our message. She included experts in self-care, fitness, finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, and mental health (that’s me). While I learned a great deal more than I taught, the subject of that knowledge was a surprise to me. I learned how to be inspired by my fellow females, both speakers and attendees, on a level that had not previously existed.
There is power in numbers, there is power in emotions, and there’s great power in a room full of like minded, motivated women. I have always been honored to work with my female clients on their issues. I get a glimpse into their minds and help them see situations from different perspectives. I help them understand their circumstances and how those are influenced by gender differences. I work on their ability to create confidence within themselves, and heal the wounds of living in a world where gender inequality has taken its toll. But I’m not sure I have ever inspired them as much I was inspired by this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, many of my clients have left my couch with feelings of inspiration to make change, excited to know they hold the power to change their lives. But in my room, it’s just the two of us. No matter how energetic I may be, I could never replicate what it is like to stand shoulder to shoulder with a large group of women and feel that sense of sisterhood. Honestly, it’s a unique experience.
We are so very good at pulling our fellow females down. We compete with one another over jobs, money, attention, body shape, and personal accomplishments. We do this as if there is a finite amount of success in the world and we can’t all have it, lest there be none left. Mean girl behavior doesn’t disappear in high school, it just transforms into something we find more “adult,” but no less hurtful. Thankfully there is an antidote for the mean girl BS… it’s us.
Most mature adult women know how to connect with one another on a deeply personal level, we just rarely do it. We pretend nothing bothers us and we are chalked full of knowing confidence. We post beautiful, curated versions of ourselves and go on pretending that our lives are really as good as they look online. What we really need to be doing is being honest with each other. Fierce Lab was a space where the pretense of perfection was completely dropped, thereby allowing connection through honest conversations.
We talked to one another about our failures, our fears, our insecurities, and our very real struggles. Not one time did I hear someone criticize or shame another person. There was too much heartfelt understanding in those stories and too much validation for the difficulties we face as females for judgment to be present. As a group, we attacked those hard truths on a personal and professional level. We discovered ways we each discovered success through failure, healing through pain, and peace through chaos. It was moving and profound to hear and feel this tribe of strong and resilient women rally the next generation as they embark upon their own paths.
Female relationships are often wrought with struggle. We too often steal ideas, boyfriends, girlfriends, confidence and joy from each other. We compare ourselves to each other instead of inspiring each other. We dismiss one another and disparage one another too freely. In doing this, we rob ourselves of that connection.
This is why an event like Fierce Lab is so vital. It reminds us that being ourselves is more important than being “better” than our sisters. We become reinvigorated by our shared community of females, and inspired by their incredible stories. It teaches us to be brave and take risks, to be unique and create our path, and to be fierce in our determination and support of one another.
If you ever get a chance to go to a Fierce Lab or another female driven conference, I highly recommend you go! Your sisters are waiting!