Women gain wisdom as we age. We also choose to live in that wisdom because, as a colleague stated simply to me, “We are coming in to ourselves.”
I started asking her questions about that. As a woman, you probably intuitively know what that statement means.
Here is what it meant to her: “We’ve been trailblazers for women in our professional and personal lives. We established norms of being able to raise children AND have a career. We fought for, and to a degree, got closer to equal pay. We’ve raised our voices in the ME TOO movement. We supported and applauded the “Each child matters” movement. I could go on and on!”
She continued, “In other words, we’ve tended and befriended other women throughout our lives. Now that some of us are over 50, we’re really coming in to ourselves. We understand ourselves more. We know what we want. We believe we still have things to contribute. We are aware there’s still a long way to go.”
She concluded with: “Now, as I reflect on times I felt relevant, I didn’t ‘fight or flea’. Instead, I tended other women, I befriended them. And we worked and collaborated together. And although Michelle Obama used the word ‘Becoming’; I am using the phrase ‘coming in to myself’.”
I sat back with awe. I’ve always admired this woman. Here she was, again sharing her personal principles freely and without any consideration of a return favour.
I too am coming in to myself. I’m over 50. I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life. I can run, ride a bicycle, train at my local Barry’s, lift weights, and many other physical activities I couldn’t do when I was in my 30s and 40s. I’m joyfully cooking nutritious meals using all kinds of different recipes. I’m fortunate beyond words to have deep friendships. I have a remarkable family — I love them more than words can express.
I’ve got an online business where I help women step into their power and their relevance at their place of work. These women feel and believe in their relevance. They create their Relevance Roadmap to move their careers/lives forward without selling out or burning out. My book, YOU Are Relevant, is being published in November, 2021. Although “Relevance” can mean different things, (as evidenced by the number of women I interviewed throughout the globe) there are common elements to most peoples’ definition.
Remember — you hold wisdom
Energize — yourself and others
Love — who you are, each step of the way
Elevate — your thoughts and actions
Victory — occurs because you decide to move toward your vision … each and every day
Agency — you have agency and gravitas
Normalize — aging powerfully and learning
Centrist — understanding and communicating various points of view knowing that often somewhere in the center, lies a way forward
Enjoy — find joy in moments throughout your day, week and years
The word RELEVANCE contains many concepts and guideposts for a roadmap. Your Relevance Roadmap will contain your thoughts and words and decisive intentions to act! Building one for yourself contributes to ‘coming in to our own’ as my friend and colleague shared.
As a professional woman, it’s possible you feel relevant when:
- your ideas are respected,
- your input is valued,
- your colleagues see you as wise and invite your wisdom to be heard,
- your work contributes to ‘the bottom line’, and
- you’re part of a team that values collaboration.
Equally, you may feel less relevant or sidelined or marginalized if the opposite of each of those statements is true for you … you believe your ideas are not respected, your input is less valued than others’, your shared wisdom rarely moves projects forward, your leader does not acknowledge how your work contributes to the company profit or bottom line, and your team does value collaboration.
As a woman, your power lies in your ability to overcome many of those challenges in a way that meets the needs of your colleagues while also acknowledging what is important to you. I’ve contributed to strategy in boardrooms, and also contributed to better and safer work environments in mines and a shipyard. Although there were times when a colleague from a different area of a business attempted to minimize my contribution and sideline me with inaccurate and degrading comments, it was my unshakeable faith in my own relevance and the accompanying skills, that moved me forward through those situations.
Women are relevant. They need to believe it for themselves. Companies they work for need to believe it and ensure there are career paths in organizations without career blocks. It matters. For everyone.