Be Shoulders to Stand On: 18 Ways To Lift the Women You Love, Lead, and Support

I’m still coming down from the crazy high of a recent whirlwind trip to Chicago, where I had the opportunity to give a couple of talks to some particularly brilliant and conscious female leaders. I was definitely in my happy place – there’s nothing quite as energizing for me as being surrounded by talented and ambitious women who are not only interested in elevating their own lives, but also those of the women around them.

From a professional perspective, the entire trip was exciting, successful, and wildly fulfilling. However, it was the unwavering support from a small group of women that left my heart overflowing with gratitude, my spirit richly replenished, and my soul set on fire with blazing love and appreciation.

The Power of Sisterhood

Lately, there’s been a quote that’s been circulating among women like crazy across social media and I’ve been glowing with delight every single time I see it liked, loved, and shared. It says:

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.”  

After my recent time in the Windy City, I can categorically say that I know this to be true without doubt.

It was my tribe, my sisters, or as I adoringly refer to them, my coven of beloveds, who not only made this journey beyond beautiful, but even possible in the first place.

First there was my fire-cracking, wicked smart, huge-hearted bombshell of a friend, Kelly. Not only did she organize and coordinate every last detail of my speaking engagements, she scheduled me a blow out, wined and dined me, ubered me all over town, and showered me with more love, light, and encouragement than I quite knew what to do with.

Then there was Monica. She's my gorgeous, generous, wordsmithing goddess friend who travelled all the way from St. Louis, Missouri to spend the week with Kelly and I, while also serving as the #1 cheerleader in the sessions I led. 

And last, but certainly not least, there was Tegan. I’m actually pretty sure she’s the lovechild of Superwoman and the coolest rock star you know. She’s a spicy, sassy, and soulful beauty with a razor sharp mind and the wit to match, and she joined Kelly and Monica in the stands as my biggest fans for the sessions I led.

This triad of awesomeness held me for the entirety of this grand adventure and made it more wonderful than I could’ve imagined.

Interestingly, prior to this trip, Tegan did not know the other two women. And as she had just recently moved to Chicago, I was excited to connect her with Kelly. As it turned out, in a city of more than two million people, they live right across the street from each other!

Coincidence? I’m inclined to think not. 

Rewind to Radical Generosity   

The other important piece and the full circle connection in all of this is the blessed backstory of how Tegan and I came to know each other.

We met in San Francisco at the Emerging Women conference in 2015 when we both attended a workshop session led by serial entrepreneur and trailblazing thought leader, Vicki Saunders. Among a number of other things, Vicki is the founder of She-EO, a Toronto-based company that is committed to developing women entrepreneurs and grounded in the notion of “Radical Generosity.”

Radical Generosity began as an initiative to seek a donation of $1,000 from 1,000 women from coast to coast in Canada in a collective effort to raise capital for women-led businesses. However, the ultimate goal is to build a funding pool of $1 Billion globally, while reaching more than one million women by 2020.

Vicki began the workshop that day in October by outlining her important and inspiring vision, but it was the wonder she weaved in the latter part of the workshop that really made it so magical and meaningful.

For the better part of an hour, Vicki invited individual women in the room to stand up and boldly make a specific ask for support of the other 100+ participants in the group. For instance, one woman stated that she needed a connection to the publishing world in New York, while another woman requested a lead on a reliable virtual assistant to help run her online empire.

As these various requests were made, hands all over the room would shoot up volunteering to facilitate introductions, make alternative strategy suggestions, and send referrals and prospects. It was an incredibly moving, thrilling, and eye-opening experience for everyone in the room. Undoubtedly, some lives and businesses were infinitely changed for the better that day; I certainly know mine was.   

Women Lifting Women: 18 Simple Ideas

Not only did I leave that workshop with a lifelong friend and soul sister, I walked away with a deep and nuanced understanding of just how vital and valuable the support of other women is. As a result, I’ve worked hard to adopt radical generosity as a grounding principle and guiding mindset as I walk through my days.

Here are a few simple and solid suggestions to bring radical generosity to life in the lives of the women you love, lead, and support:

  1. Host a gathering to connect the women in your circle who could benefit from knowing each other.
  2. Reach out with an unexpected phone call to compliment a job well done or to acknowledge an accomplishment.
  3. Hop on Amazon and ship out a copy of THAT BOOK that changed your mind, enhanced your life, or helped you navigate a significant challenge.      
  4. Send business and referrals to the women entrepreneurs you know, adore, and trust.
  5. Volunteer to take her children for a few hours so she can hit the spa, read a novel, or take a walk in the sunshine.
  6. Publicly recognize a colleague in a meeting for her efforts and contributions in your workplace.
  7. Have a nourishing meal or tasty treats delivered to a friend who’s cramming for an exam, burning the midnight oil on a major project, or mending a broken heart.
  8. Make a contribution to the charity that she works tirelessly for.
  9. Take the time to compose (and actually mail!) a heartfelt and handwritten note to a woman who’s had a meaningful impact in your life.
  10. Surprise her with a glowing and genuine reference, review, or testimonial.   
  11. Offer to make introductions to the people you know who could potentially help propel her idea, initiative, or business forward.  
  12. Nominate her for a business award or community accolade.  
  13. Schedule a lunch date with a woman who might appreciate your insights, experience, or expertise.  
  14. Pass along an interesting article, thoughtful quote, or helpful video you know she would love and appreciate. 
  15. Send flowers to that ladyboss who inspired, encouraged, or supported you in some way.
  16. Give a celebratory shout out on social media to a mentor, colleague or friend who recently achieved a major milestone or launched something new and fabulous.  
  17. Promote the events and causes that are near and dear to the women in your life.
  18. Reach out and simply ask the women in your life how you could be a source of strength, support, and service.

In closing, I invite you to consider this gem of simple, yet elegant wisdom that Vicki Saunders shared in her talk that has become indelibly etched in my heart and mind:

“Someone out there needs you, live your life so that they can find you."