Adulting, man. It’s hard!
Between figuring out insurance, keeping your financial life in order, exercising, staying hydrated, eating well, maintaining a partnership — it sometimes feels like there’s just not enough time to focus on friendships, connections, and community.
And yet for women, female friendships and connections are quite literally one of the most important things we require, like a plant needs sunlight and water (and like this girl right here needs kombucha), in order to lead a thriving personal and professional life.
According to studies conducted at both UCLA and Stanford, creating and maintaining female friendships and connections helps our brains secrete more oxytocin and serotonin, those feel-good happy chemicals that are responsible for helping us feel safer, happier, and more creative. We think better, feel better, and lead better with the genuine support of other uplifting women surrounding us, who we pour into and who pour back into us.
As women, we are programmed for connection. Our hearts and minds are wired to share experiences and ideas, challenges and wins, with other women. The question, then becomes, where do we go to find and build these relationships?
Social media is one le-duh obvious answer because platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you the opportunity to seek people whose interests and values align with your own. Take The Radiant Entrepreneur for example, my free Facebook community, which has over 1700 women and rising fast and strong all working to grow themselves and their businesses. (If you’re not already in there, get your 🍑 in there and join us!)
For many of us though — and I get this might seem counterintuitive as a business coach who spends a LOT of time connecting with other women on social — we’re left wanting something more, something deeper, something than ONLY online stuff.
It’s like the social connections and “YAS GIRL” comments start the girl gang feeling — but actually truly having each others backs requires we go deeper. Deeper in a way that lets us get vulnerable and real, not just shining in all our glory.
Here are my top 3 tips for finding and maintaining your girl gang.
Ask Yourself: Who Am I Becoming?
You’ve likely heard the phrase — you’re the combination of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This one matters, ladies. Who you surround yourself with, the people that form part of your circle, form a significant part of your mindset, thought patterns, beliefs and behaviors, which of course drastically impact the kind of results you’re able to cultivate both personally and professionally.
Take the time to get intentional and ask yourself — who do I want to be surrounded by? What do I value in relationships? If you value being around other women who are also building a business, or who are also working to become better communicators and leaders for their teams and families, seek out groups of women that also value the same thing.
It becomes much, much easier to seek out what you’re looking for when you’re clear on what that is: A community that will elevate your potential and bring out the best possible version of you. That will remind you of who you are and how unstoppable you can be, despite your doubt and fear. That will have your back when you feel like turning around.
Make Yourself Vulnerable
Vulnerability is the glue of real relationships. It’s the thing that lets the veil come down and true connections to be built.
Now, when I write vulnerability I don’t mean “throw your all over people”, nor do I mean being vulnerable for vulnerability’s sake.
I DO mean: When you connect with the kind of women you want to be close with in your life, don’t be afraid to let your guard down. To show your struggles as much as your strengths. This one, I’ll be honest, was very counterintuitive to me but is something I’ve grown to value so tremendously in both my girl gang friendships and in my relationships with other business women.
When you make a need known — whether that is support around a relationship issue, business issue, or health issue — you give space for other women to connect and support you. Asking for help during a rocky point in my relationship with Toby gave space for one of my close friends (who just so happens to be a world class relationship expert) to point some resources my way that massively helped things for me.
The famous Rumi quote “open your hands if you want to be held” is such a powerful reminder here when it comes to building relationships and allowing yourself to be vulnerable first. Your vulnerability will set others at ease, as it allows other women to feel safe to be all of themselves, too.
Get Creative, Get Googling and Get Your Butt Out There
What types of things are you interested in, personally and professionally? Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re into personal development, entrepreneurship, and generally becoming a more empowered, creative, version of yourself.
Use your Google search bar or social media communities you’re a part of to find out what types of meet-ups, events, and connections surround you.
When I first went to Bali, I sought out women’s circles at the local yoga studio I went to. I said “yes” to attending events that friends put on, even though I felt awkward. (True story: I met the woman who is now one of my best friends, Alexia Usgaard, at a women’s gathering she hosted at her house. I barely knew anyone going but decided to show up anyway despite feeling some serious social anxiety before going. When you put yourself out there, it pays off).
If you’re interested in professional and leadership development, see if there are co-working spaces in your area hosting any workshops or events for women. Are there women’s coalitions or networking events specifically for women?
If you’re interested in personal development or self care, see if your gym, yoga studio, or local YMCA are hosting any events that you can attend.
If you’re a creative or artist, see what drop in studios are open and go connect with people.
Every single meaningful relationship I’ve cultivated with another woman has required me to get outside my comfort zone.
In order to cultivate anything worthwhile in our lives, we need to make the effort. Get inconvenienced. Take the time to see what events are around you. And GO, even if you don’t know anyone else there.
Some of the most powerful connections I’ve made have been because I’ve elected to put myself out there, before I felt ready and definitely without feeling comfortable, and get myself in the room.