It’s not what you learn from an experience, but how it changes you. And I know I speak for so many of my NAWBO sisters when I say we’re all so much better off as women and business owners for having recently experienced the virtual National Women’s Business Conference (WBC) hosted by NAWBO.
There are so many reasons why, but the common thread running through all of them is the theme of “Brave Is…”. As women business owners, we aren’t necessarily fearless, just tremendously brave to do what we do day-in and day-out—even though it is oftentimes wonderful and surprising and exciting.
Many of us have left comfortable jobs to start our own ventures. We have done business the world over. We have met with and testified in front of members of Congress. We have sat on executive boards. We have taken major financial risks. We have helped to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs. And now, we are all tapping into a new kind of bravery as we continue to navigate our lives and businesses through unprecedented times.
Whatever “brave” means to you personally, it’s what drives you to put yourself out there, push through fears and say “yes” to life and business even more. So how can you be even braver in coming months?
- Put yourself out there more.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Disagree in respectful ways.
- Try new things that excite you.
- Do something that scares you.
- Take a risk when the reward is worth it.
- Feel your fears but don’t let them stop you.
As your NAWBO National Board Chair, when I think about bravery, two things come to mind. This year, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement, I think about the brave women who literally put their lives on the line to give us the right to vote that we will exercise in just a few weeks. I never take that for granted.
I also think about the brave women who founded NAWBO 45 years ago at a time when no other business organizations existed for women to open doors and lessen the challenges for all the entrepreneurial women who have since followed. I’m inspired by these women every day, and so excited to continue their legacy as a NAWBO leader.
As this year’s WBC keynote speaker Glennon Doyle, an author, activist and founder of the nonprofit Together Rising, so perfectly put it: “So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom and resilience? What if it’s pain? What if it’s the struggle? The bravest people I know are those who’ve walked through the fire and come out on the other side. They are those who’ve overcome, not those who’ve had nothing to overcome.”
I hope your bravery in life and business continues to propel you to the “other side.”