Since launching #GirlsClub in April this year, I’ve had takeaways and lessons learned that I couldn’t have imagined I’d have. It’s been eye-opening and what we’ve learned at #GirlsClub is powerful.
Here are my top two (pared down from ten) takeaways from #GirlsClub’s inaugural year.
It’s Really All About Self Confidence
When I decided to start #GirlsClub to help up-and-coming women earn their place in the ranks of sales leadership, step one was building out the curriculum. Management job training was an easy place to start. And a reference library and mentoring were a no-brainers. Adding role-models felt pretty inspired, and the Slack community came directly from the women in the Club.
But the secret star of the show has actually been the confidence-building content that focuses on risk taking, fears and failure. Learning how to building self-confidence has been my secret passion for decades. My office shelves may be lined with sales & leadership books, but the desk in my den bursts with learning on self-worth and personal growth.
So my big risk was premiering this intensely personal focus and joining my two worlds. You bet I was afraid to talk about my personal passion with my “work world.” It may make me sound soft and mushy and well, girly. But share I did. In fact I immediately started recording a monthly confessional that I publish in #GirlsClub talking about my fears and my journey to self-confidence.
And viola! #GirlsClub revelation number one: It’s the scary, mushy, personal stuff our community likes the most.
The topic of self-confidence gets the most traction in our #GirlsClub curriculum but also in social media. I (nervously) talked about this in a SalesForce podcast interview and lo and behold it shot up to one of their 3 most popular episodes!
Each month when I record my personal journey, I cop to mistakes and fears. Saying them out loud is powerfully freeing. Seeing them land safely has been a tremendous relief. Knowing that my insecurities actually inspire a community (that I built!) may well be the biggest accomplishment of my career.
The Secret Button Is Encouragement
I’ve shared with many of you that it was the HP/Forbes article that gave me my path for #GirlsClub. Read for yourself, but in a nutshell, women don’t raise their hands and apply until we’re 100% sure we can succeed at something.
What? You must be kidding!? (she says with fake bravado). This felt so personally true to me it was like someone calling out a big hairy purple elephant that has stood square in the center of the feminism room for decades.
And then I watched it happen with #GirlsClub. Women cheered the initiative online, but when it came time to self-select and apply we were faced with the exact same issue thousands of companies have been facing for ages – lack of female applicants to lead.
What we have found is the secret to getting women to move from the sidelines onto the field is good ol’ encouragement.
It happened by accident. As I made hundreds of calls to involve our mentors and thought leaders and sponsors, they started to see the vision. And as soon as it clicked into place for them, Pop! A woman came to their mind. Nearly every call. A rock-star woman popped to mind, and these amazing early adopters reached out to encourage her to apply. With encouragement, these women immediately acted by completing an application to join #GirlsClub. We applied this to our LinkedIn community of friendly sideline stalkers (you know who you are!) and got the same response.
Here’s the thing though: when a strong woman decides to play, she PLAYS. There’s no standing around once she gets on the field. They may have been slow off the sidelines, but once they’re off it’s full-on sprint the rest of the game.
I aligned here too. One week before announcing #GirlsClub I felt scared. Who am I to talk about self-confidence? Who am I to lead a women’s movement? So I reached out a friend who would tell me if I was crazy and instead, she offered me encouragement.
Next, I launched small. I announced the job training portion only (fear is real people). And the community responded so loudly I couldn’t help but feel it again …encouragement.
So finally I went all in. I was ON the field now and the next three months were a flurry of activity. I enrolled mentors and thought leaders. Got company sponsors, recorded amazing content, and got personal with helping women develop confidence. An all-in sprint.
I see one thing in front of me for 2019 – a tidal wave. An enormous wave of courageous, confident, and insanely talented women earning their place in sales leadership. The growth of #GirlsClub is not about the growth of a company, it’s about the growth of a tidal wave sized movement that’s already happening.