As a person who is very independent, self-reliant and driven from within, I'm not much of a groupie. Throughout school I avoided being confined to any clique or committing to any trend whereby someone would be able to reduce me to being like that or one of them. We are all multidimensional.
The yin-yang of going solo are well known to me: Freedom of responsibility for others. Flexibility to pivot without seeking permission. No pressure to compromise. Singularity of thought. Self-doubt. Loneliness.
Three years into being a member of DrivenWoman, I'm convinced that the pursuit of individual goals is made greater through togetherness and a shared process.
These advantages caught me by surprise:
Someone who says, "Same here," or "I've been there, too," as part of the same process with you over months can truly empathise. While trusted friends, family and colleagues do express compassion and understanding, which is meaningful, it's different than when it comes from comrades in the same trench. There's a deeper knowledge from walking the path together, which brings a sense of relief and confidence.
I was surprised during DrivenWoman's recent Visibility Challenge that other ladies also were shy about putting themselves forward. We always think everyone else is bolder, more confident and has it more together, don't we? I learned that we all have different thresholds of comfort, but we all have in common our trepidation about taking visibility to the next level. I feel more confident to act now, knowing we're all taking a leap of faith at times.
We don't know what we don't know, and there's only so much time to educate ourselves through our own experience, attending webinars and events, reading blogs and books, and listening to experts. Sometimes just hearing what works or not for others can lead to a solution for ourselves.
There may be 100 ways to go about something -- fitting more activity into one's day, getting better sleep, being more productive in work, etc. -- and the group serves as a mega brainstorm machine. It's also more effective and efficient than educating yourself independently, because the DrivenWoman members sitting around the table (or on the screen) know you.
In our DrivenWoman group, several of us have benefited by adopting one member's Action Step to "do one task at a time." I'm not sure I would have come up with this simple yet brilliant idea on my own because I naturally feel I should be doing more all the time. (Not any more -- it works!)
At every December meeting, each member looks back on the year to share the progress each of us feels we've made. Listing achievements doesn't seem to come naturally -- we're keenly aware of what we woulda, coulda, shoulda done. But this year-end meeting is always about taking stock of the positive.
Interestingly, after each member spoke last time, I felt the need to speak up and say, "You're only counting part of it. Let me tell you the true scope of your achievement!" I could see the big picture for them so much greater than they could.
One member counted her positive steps to let her voice be heard, yet she had never realised that she had also emboldened her fashion choices along the way -- a veritable fashion plate! In giving power to her voice, she radiated her personality and revealed her style in vibrant ways. This was something only I could see as an observer from within the same trench, and she happily accepted the compliment and acknowledged the hidden-in-plain-view achievement.
I joined DrivenWoman about 38 meetings ago because I wanted to connect with others who were going after what they wanted -- just like I was -- in a non-competitive way; objective yet supportive. I wanted to find this slice of society who cared how I got on not because we're friends or family, but because they 'get' the process and goal. I found it in an upstairs meeting room with a group of ladies in Soho, London.
Okay, I admit: I am a DrivenWoman groupie! But this is no clique -- it is a league of people who are committed to striving for something higher. We're each doing our own things, but we're doing it side-by-side.
Through the DrivenWoman experience, I've come to value that collectively experiencing a process has rewards that cannot be obtained alone.
Liza Horan, is a DrivenWoman member and an American living in Edinburgh. She is the founder of MindstreamConnect.com, an independent media company dedicated to accelerating mainstream adoption of mind-body-spirit disciplines for greater health and happiness, and hosts The Mindstream Podcast on Spotify.
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