So, I am working a couple of big projects at the moment. One if them is, other than being super, super exciting, a massive undertaking to say the least. I’ll be announcing this and telling you all about it in the coming weeks, but for now the relevant part to this story is in knowing that for part of my project I had to Skype and speak to a lovely lady who, it now turns out, is helping me with my undertaking.
I don’t know this lady and have never met her. I have however asked for her help. Now just so you know, number 1, I hate asking for help (but I’m getting better at it), number two, this women is a very busy, very successful business women who could very easily have said no, and really that would have been justified on many counts. The interesting thing from the conversation I had with her was that during our conversation she actually said this….”ask for help from women….women love helping other women!”
Now, aside from the fact that she was clearly putting her money where her mouth was, I remember momentarily stopping and going into my head with that one. You see, my experience in life, up until a short time ago, was, well, not this. My experience has been one of women distinctly not helping, in fact I can think of more situations than I can count where women have made my life more difficult, not to mention significantly harder where work has been concerned. I guess on that front although I whole-heartedly agree with the concept, much of my life experience has taught me the opposite.
Now, as I elude to here, things have changed for me over the last couple of years, and they have changed because I have changed. I don’t mean to make myself sound perfect here, cause I’m not I can assure you, but I was definitely raised by people who taught me to be generous and to ‘share’. So that’s what I, maybe naively, did as I grew up. I shared, and I did this right through into adulthood. With people at university I shared my ideas, thoughts, I passed on my essays to help others. I shared contacts, resources, gave my time to help people with problems. At work I met with people and gave them my time, I shared ideas resources, contacts…..see a pattern?
Now here’s the thing, I noticed that when there may have been the chance to reciprocate from these people that I had helped, maybe even on multiple occasions,a deathly silence………I’m talking tumble-weed city! I have to be honest and say that the worst offenders (in my experience), were always female. Not only did they not help, but on many occasion would seemingly make things more difficult!
I’ve described this as ‘pulling up the ladder behind them’ syndrome. Now I know I have some male followers, so guys if you are reading this, I’m not saying you are immune to a little power-play yourselves. However, I’m focussing on the girls today cause I feel strongly that women should be helping each other, maybe more than I’ve experienced in the past.
This goes back a long way for me. I was bullied at school, and you know what, the bullies were not only female, they were my best friends! It made going into school unbearable for a while, but I also know that it was a massive learning curve for me. I couldn’t understand why these people, my friends, would want to hurt me or make my life more difficult, and I think I’ve gone out of my way ever since to ensure that no one I know will ever feel that way themselves. At least I would never want to be the offender, and I will always support a woman when I can, showing her that not all ‘girls’ are like that.
So, what does this mean today, in my life as a ‘MP’ or Multi-passionate…It means that in my job I tell my students that they definitely CAN get the job they want, even if others, particularly women in the psychology profession, say that they will find it hard, or make things more difficult for them as they work towards being qualified. It means that although I am generous and still give whenever I can, I now know when someone is just ‘using’ me to pick my brain. I now, with grace, put a stop to these interactions. I don’t feel that I am helping them or me by being accepting of negative, to be honest, completely unacceptable and draining behaviour.
At this stage in my life I am after genuine, nurturing relationships with people. I am also of the mind that, we as women should be helping each other and not hindering each other’s greatness. I want to help the many women in come into contact with? I want to help them on their journey, just as some women have done for me. It’s these women that stand out! I know the women that have helped me and they have been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. This should be the norm not the exception.
I have met many MP women lately which has been just fantastic! I’m looking forward to having these relationships be rich, long and fulfilling. Personally I think the nice lady at the start of my story had it right….women do want to help other women….you just need to ask the right one!