This year I have seen more female success stories come to existence around me than ever before. Have we finally arrived? Did #metoo bring about the change we have been longing for for decades, if not centuries? There's so much to be grateful for, and there's more to come.
In the past five years I have spoken with over a thousand women and heard their personal stories. I have a good visibility into what's going on with the Western woman across Europe right now and I can see something is shifting - and it's shifting fast. I couldn't be more grateful for my vantage point and I want to share some of the stories with you to reveal what is going on.
Women are not ashamed to say they are ambitious
When I started DrivenWoman network five years ago the name itself caused some raised eyebrows. Would it be wise to call it driven? Surely something less aggressive would be better? Something a bit more nice? Luckily women are now ready to throw out our 'gold stars'. It's not approval we are seeking, it's success in our own terms and we are fiercely going for it.
This year we got 'OK' with our ambition. Or actually, we simply got comfortable talking about it. We've always been deeply ambitious. A global study by Boston Consulting Group reveals that women are as ambitious as men unless companies block them.
In our Lifeworking groups this is clearly visible. When women find a supportive environment our ambition tab is turned on - big time.
Our ambition is not limited to the number of hours we work. We are realising that it's ok to want to spend time with our family AND be ambitious. And we are also finding ways to make things happen. Marisa, a Swiss member and a mother of two, worked only 40% yet became the Ambassador for Women in AI in Switzerland and delivered her first TEDx talk. (She shares how she did it in this video.)
This year I have witnessed a growing number of women ready to announce their dreams to the world. We have been experts spending time doing everything BUT our deepest desires but now those dreams are finally starting to spill into the surface: Lauren is writing a book, Francesca is getting comfortable to be a leader in the arts and Anna just published her new career coaching website.
The list is endless, we women are coming out with our ambitions and we will be big!
Women are supporting each other
The power of the network has really come into fruition this year. At the beginning of the year, we embarked to recruit more Group Leaders to run our accountability groups across the UK and Switzerland and said 'yes' to many requests we got across Europe from brilliant women who wanted to start local groups.
This simple act of bringing women together and having a safe space where a genuine story can be told is more powerful than many can imagine. "All of you have played a massive role in defining what my future can look like. I have found so much more clarity, purpose, integrity and joy." wrote our Group Leader in Munich to capturing what the year has meant for her.
Never underestimate the power of women supporting each other. For too long we have been competing for the limelight of the leading males but this year we have finally let go of the expectations of patriarchy and we are starting to believe our own light. This brings us together. Women are naturally drawn to sisterhood.
We are sharing advice, we are showing up to each other's first shows, we are buying from businesses created by other women. We have finally stopped looking outside and done the math. Women represent over half the population so we can create our own ecosystem at our will!
Women are building each other up
The most uplifting feeling for me this year has been to see how we truly boost each other when we open up and start trusting this sacred sisterhood. The self-belief levels are rocketing when we see other women in a similar situation and give up the shame of not being perfect.
This is why I do what I do and I'm deeply grateful I get to experience it all the time, month after month. Let me share just what happened in my last group meeting of the year.
Earlier this year one member was applying for new jobs and landed her dream job in a global firm. But she didn't just land the job, she went in and asked for more than what was at the table and still got it. Six months later another member got an offer but she remembered her co-traveller's story and thought: "Why not... Let's give it a go. I can ask for more too!" To her surprise, she got what she asked for.
She later told me that before she would have been happy someone needed her. It wouldn't have crossed her mind to ask for a bit more money from the start. Goodbye pay gap ladies! (Recent study shows in the high-paying jobs the wage gap gets even deeper. A male lawyer can earn 53% more than his female partners.)
There were many little stories and mindset shifts we experienced that night, and experience every evening in every group globally. Those shifts may seem small at the time but each time a woman gains her self belief she is stepping more deeply into her own power. And all these little shifts will create an unstoppable collective force.
There's nowhere else I'd rather be.
But I know what I'm seeing is only a start. What has awakened cannot be silenced. Women are boldly stepping into the unknown and are ready to find their true path, no matter how scary it feels at times, because we have now found a way we can do it - together.
I want to thank you for being here, reading this. I want to thank everyone who has supported this movement, come to our meetings and joined our groups. I want to thank every woman whether in our community or in some other, who have taken steps this year to become more of who they really are and are moving towards their true self.
Thank you for being you. And here's to an even more powerful year ahead!