2017: The Year of Women

As a staunch advocate for women and newest team member to Tribe of Women, Amy asked me to write this summary of 2017 as a new perspective, in a new year, in a seemingly new era for women. It has been quite a ride! I don’t know about you, but I have somehow felt completely undone by the events of this year while simultaneously being uplifted by the kindness of my tribe and others all around me. Glennon Doyle speaks often of the reckoning and the revolution or the pain and the rising. The former always has to come before the latter, she says, and that is what we are living through- “first the pain, then the rising”.

So much has happened this year in our personal lives, communities, and society as a whole. Throughout it all, I hope you’ve found ways to engage with your support system, your tribe, in ways that make it all a little easier to process and take action where it is needed. No one can know what the year ahead will bring, but I know that we can never go back to a time when women’s voices were silent and we did not support one another. This has been declared the Year of Women, and I couldn’t agree more!

This year has highlighted the ways women reach out and support each other and how when that happens, we can move mountains. Early in the year, we spent time at the Bentonville Film Festival interviewing filmmakers from around the world working to bring diverse voices to media and film. Later in the year, the women of Hollywood have played a key role in being the  “The Silence Breakers”, and Time Magazine’s Person of The Year. As a group of people who came forward to start a conversation about sexual misconduct across the globe, these were predominantly women who came forward to report their all too similar stories about men in positions of power. Now they have their own tribe. This #MeToo movement (started in 2007 by Tarana Burke and amplified by actress Alyssa Milano) started a painful but necessary conversation about the frequency of sexual harassment, assault, and violence in our culture. In my day to day conversations with my tribe this comes up a lot – women everywhere are still grappling with the aftermath – now that our pain is in the light what do we do with it? How do we move forward when others being brave and speaking up triggers us in dealing with our own experiences? To help us with these questions, Amy interviewed Anne Shelley of the NWA Center for Sexual Assault for the Tribe Talk Podcast to help us learn how to talk with and support one another. This is not an easy or a quick process, but I know we cannot move forward unless we do it together.

Womens March on Washington 1 Tribe-it-forward-sign

Outside of the #MeToo movement, this has been a year of women coming forward to lead in all aspects of life, particularly in politics. Women marched, called, and protested so much Merriam Webster named feminism it’s word of the year in 2017. There is no way our favorite F-word would have been word of the year without this incredible year of women. Since the women’s march that engaged the nation (check out Episode 4 of the Tribe Talk podcast for Laurie Marshall’s interviews from Washington) over 20,000 women have stepped forward to run for office at all levels of government. These women are bringing more women with them – on their campaign teams and as advisers- so there can be a greater diversity of voices. We know that women working together changes systems and cultures, and that empathy – the power behind the way we tribe it forward – makes it so women fight for other women even when an issue doesn’t affect them directly.

We have seen this happen in a myriad of issue areas. Women-owned business and women investing in women is on the rise! We learned so much about this when we teamed up with other entrepreneurs to bring a screening of the movie “Dream, Girl” to our local area and interviewed the director, Erin Bagwell, for the podcast. Tribe of Women has sought out partners, and we’re so fortunate there are so many incredible women-owned businesses to choose from. We love our retail partnerships with Mood & Market who’s UNDERWear line of tees give a portion of the proceeds to the Tribe Talk workshops we do for non-profit organizations like Dress for Success. Our events and adventures with i’Mindful for their Boss Lady Mixer series, and Ea Chica, Wendy J. Poole, Gold Hand Girls on the Team Together workshop, have been memorable and we look forward to even more coming in 2018. Tell us about women-owned businesses you support! We’re always looking for more ways to partner.

However you supported women in 2017 and however you plan to continue that in the 2018, know that Tribe of Women is grateful for you. Without you, we would not have been able to have such an exciting year and we are so looking forward to the year ahead. For Tribe of Women 2017 has been a year of exciting growth- our team has expanded and the movement is gaining steam. In our first year of being a trademark company we have been able to do more than we thought possible- a podcast, blog, retail, workshops, events, and 3 coaching series! None of this would have been possible without YOU. Our hearts are full from all the women (and good men) who have reached out and connected us about our mission over the past year.

Finally, this has been the year of learning about what works. Check out Amy’s video with her New Year wishes for you, and giving a teaser of what is to come for Tribe of Women in 2018 – a year of creating new and exciting content for you all to engage with and continue to grow the tribe. We are already planning more events, coaching series, and a new weekly “Ask Amy” facebook live segment!

The Tribe Team has been so inspired by the year of women! We want to keep the momentum going so 2017 is just the beginning of a new norm and a new era where all women are heard and valued.

From our tribe(s) to yours, thank you for a wonderful 2017!

To stay up to date with us in the year ahead be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, where everything will drop first, at https://tribeofwomen.com/join-the-tribe/.

 

Hard Holiday Conversations: 5 Tips for Navigating Friends, Family & Politics

The holiday season has officially begun, which means a flurry of activity and celebrations with loved ones. These events can be full of joy and warmth! They can also be full of anxiety and avoidance for fear of what we say (and don’t say) around tables and during gatherings of family and friends.

Our individual tribes, the collective tribe of women, and tribe of human all benefit when we have open and honest conversations about what is going on both personally and politically because the personal is the political. We want to think that avoiding the conversation will keep the peace, but not speaking our own truths and openly exploring the truths of others creates a build-up of tension that goes unresolved and comes out in other ways. You know, like eating all of the gooseberry pie to keep from engaging in Aunt Mable’s news commentary. And you don’t even like gooseberry pie!

“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time.While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” As discussed during our TribeTalk podcast episode 9 with author Susan Scott, and in her book Fierce Conversations, these conversations with coworkers, friends, and family are important to maintaining (and growing) our relationships.

With these conversations, you will likely face one of three outcomes…

  1. Everyone agrees!  There is joy throughout the tribe. Time with your tribe should provide an opportunity to talk through ideas and discover how you all may truly feel about a topic. Sometimes everyone has the same opinion. Having a group of supportive friends who all have different experiences can provide wonderful insights and an excellent dialogue on a topic.
  2.  It is better for you to agree to disagree. This is not a disservice to any of your ideas. It is simply an agreement that your friendship is more important than whatever disagreement you are experiencing. Know your limits in this situation. Do not let your political opinions flood how you feel about a friend.
  3. It is not the time to state your thoughts or opinions. For reasons of decorum, audience, topic, or other reasons, it’s just not the right time to have the conversation. You may want to return to your discussion at a later date. Or, you may discover that you would rather not engage in the discussion at all. It is completely your decision and taking time to think through how best to approach it is crucial.

The key to navigating these conversations is to create a trusting environment with your tribe where your individual opinions and voices can lead to some insightful conversations if you allow them to happen. Now, here are your…

5 tips for navigating political (personal!) conversations

1. Know your opinions & that your voice is important

Know what issues you feel passionate about and where you stand on them. If you don’t know where you stand yet, do not simply play “devil’s advocate” because it may weaken your views and undermine its importance to you.  Know which ideas make you want to speak up, and recognize when it is okay to stay quiet.

It is important to know how you feel about an issue when it comes up in conversation. There may be some topics that you do not have an opinion on (personally, I will never feel very strongly about tax policy). There may be other issues that you want to fight fiercely for (pineapple DOES go on pizza). Most importantly, know that your voice is powerful and meaningful in your community. You bring an opinion that deserves to be heard!

2. Understand there are some situations where saying nothing is NOT an option

No matter the topic, there are some situations when we will need to step up and step into a conversation.

  1. When someone is actively oppressing or harming another
  2. When they are spreading information you know to be untrue  

We all have certain topics that personally affect us, therefore limiting our ability to remain silent. For example, when I find people are disenfranchising individuals or perpetuating harmful ideas (i.e. rape culture), I cannot remain silent. In these situations, I speak up. We have a responsibility to stand up, say something and defend those who are being oppressed. Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” It is important to know that you have the power and freedom to stand up for others and that sometimes it will be necessary for you to do so.

3. Defuse situations that are high-stakes for your tribe

 When fierce conversations turn into high-stakes arguments, it can be important to identify tangible actions that can help resolve the conflict. It is vital that everyone can see both sides of the issue when it is a situation where there are two sides. This will not always be the case, but when possible following through on the idea of “walking in someone else’s shoes” or seeing things from another’s perspective can be helpful. One way to take a conflict and turn it into action is to attend an event or watch a video to gain a better understanding of a different perspective.

An example of this can be seen when two people are arguing the effects of public and private schools. Person 1 thinks public schools are great because their child makes friends of all backgrounds while private schools promote an elitist attitude. Person 2 thinks private schools are wonderful because the teacher focuses on their child while public school teachers cannot expend the energy to focus on just one of their thirty-five students. Person 1 could go with Person 2 to a festival at the private school to see what great things are happening there. Person 2 could attend a band concert at the public school with Person 1. By seeing both sides of the issue, they could diffuse the argument and have steps to move forward.

This may be an unrealistic scenario, as experience sharing is not always something people are open to, but it is important to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone because that is how our perspective grows. Also, remember that a myriad of organizations have resources and training devoted to the promotion of diversity and inclusion. Using these organizations to move past an argument is also be an excellent idea.

4. Call people in instead of calling people out

Establishing a culture among your tribe of calling people in as opposed to calling someone out for contradictory or counterproductive behavior will translate beyond politics for the health of friendships. While the goal of calling people out is to get them to change their behavior, it also often results in hurt feelings. Calling people in has the same goal but is done in a more compassionate way that involves letting a person know that they said something hurtful or misinformed and walking with them through how to correct what happened or improve for the future. It involves one-on-one education and conversation and assumes that the person had the best intention.

5. Make “politics free” time with your tribe

Regardless of how frequently or infrequently your tribe discusses politics, it is important to dedicate time away from such issues to connect beyond them. We are stuck in a 24-hour news cycle and social media stream (or fire hose, as it feels) that we all need time away from. We must take time to care for ourselves and each other, so we can go back to fighting the good fight in our communities every day.

We are better together

Taken together, these tips may help you to navigate the murky waters found when friendship and politics mix. We are stronger together than divided, even when our opinions differ, and together we can bring change for all. We will have moments where we must agree to disagree with members of our tribe. This is not a disservice to ourselves, nor a dismissal of individual ideas. Instead, it is an agreement that the friendship is more important than conflict. Ultimately, having confidence in your voice and opinion, coupled with a willingness to engage in fierce conversations, will help you to say what you need to say when you need to say it.

What have you found to be useful in conversations about politics with your tribe? Was there something you wish you’d done better? Do you have an additional tip? Please leave them in the comments below!