Covid has not been easy on women. I know from personal experience that we are the ones who have born the brunt of the social and economic consequences of this pandemic. We also know that women benefit from collaboration over competition. Studies shows women who support women are more successful in business.
The wonderful thing about DrivenWoman groups is that we don’t just support each other in business we are there for each other for relationship guidance, side hustle support and personal encouragement too. And my goodness we were there for each other throughout this year!
The DrivenWoman framework for collaborative support involves problem solving, goal setting and reflection.
This structure was designed to help us live a bigger life. This year it helped us to respond to challenges that no one could have anticipated when Driven Woman was set up.
In April we were three weeks into a countrywide lockdown. Boris Johnson had just been discharged from hospital. Care home death rates were rising at a worrying rate. Where once our days had been structured with work and school hours now we were experiencing a new relationship with time.
As a group we discussed linear time and meaningful time. We took stock of all the things that take us out of the present; our regrets pulling us back in time our fears thrusting us forward. We each decided where in our day or week we needed schedules and routines and where we needed moments to lift our spirits.
In May the UK hit the highest death toll in Europe but quarantine was eased a little. The world felt out of control and we were without anchor. This month we focussed on new definitions of success.
Despite furloughs, job loss and hard pivots we asked ourselves whether we could stay true to ourselves and live our values.
Even if the world around us was shaking we focussed on how to control our responses and our actions.
In June we grieved over George Floyd’s death as a cheap steroid saved thousands of others. Our group explored reframing failure and sadness. We thought through a recent disappointment and mentally walked through the experience again. We asked ourselves what went wrong and why. Then we analysed the situation to discover how we could use this learning. We thought through how to deal with it if it ever came up again or how to avoid it completely.
In July the ethics of vaccine challenge trials were called into question and I went on holiday in the UK. I unplugged from technology and missed a meeting but the WhatsApp group was busy. We were sharing podcast episodes; Yoga with Adrienne classes; meditation tips; sleep stories on the calm app; and a TED talk on optimising the performance of the human mind.
In August, UK publication of death data was paused and went under urgent review. Russia launched a vaccine and we were called to “kill the controller.” Our controller is that little voice that tells us not to rock the boat. It is the critical voice that calls us an imposter.
We voiced our dreams and shared our intentions aloud.
We were encouraged to talk to the fear and welcome it in because it is with us at the beginning of every journey.
In September the Prime Minister moonshot and Extinction Rebellion staged ten days of protest. Our group asked ourselves what our truths of life were.
We took stock of the things that we’ve always believed about ourselves.
We checked whether that was still the case and whether we wanted them to still be true. We created new truths for ourselves too, for example: “I say yes to opportunity.” I amended this statement: "if I say yes to opportunity now I can figure out how to do it later" which makes it more powerful for me as I can take action straight away.
In October the three tiered lockdown system was announced, Donald Trump was hospitalised and we focused on gratitude. We listed things that make us happy at work, at home, when alone and in our relationships. We also had to give ourselves credit for these things. We had to state how we were actively involved in creating this happiness and the situations that we were grateful for.
In November Joe Biden was voted in as President of the United States and the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was announced.
Our group explored strategies to safeguard our boundaries.
When feeling irritable or encroached upon by someone or a situation it shows us that a boundary has been crossed. It is clearer and better for everyone involved if we communicate our boundaries.
Here we are in December the first Covid vaccines have been administered in the UK and Boris Johnson has headed over to Brussels to finalise Brexit negotiations. Last week our group had our end of year review.
We celebrated everything that went well despite the upheaval of 2020.
Things still developed for us and we still had successes. We had things to leave behind because they no longer served us but we also had some new learning and new skills to take into 2021 with us. When the horizon disappeared for us all our DrivenWoman group helped us to hold on to our long-term vision. When milestones and external targets were lost to the fog we were reminded that self-worth comes from our values not our outcomes.
As a group we shared our grief and vulnerability without judgement. We held space to process and to let the messiness unfold and then we looked for the silver linings. Thank you DrivenWoman for your love and support this year.
Pieta Ruck Keene, a DrivenWoman member and founder of Circus Bodies
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