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Business Sorority: A Culture of Connection

culture of connection business sorority

Business Sorority’s tagline is “grow your circle, heart and mind”. That’s absolutely accurate and reflects the underlying culture of the group. But there’s a deeper foundation to the culture and that is firmly rooted in connection. And not connection from a self-serving “what can you do for me” mentality but heartfelt, genuine, authentic connection that leads with curiosity.

The culture of a group, organization, even a family, is an invisible yet incredibly powerful force that impacts every interaction and experience. For better or worse, and whether we’re aware of it or not culture is often hard to quantify or define but it is always impacting us.

This is some of my story and experience with the Business Sorority culture, shared not as a definition but as my personal experience of its impact.

I was half dragged to Business Sorority by one of my most trusted friends (thanks again Kelly). I resisted and protested because it was NOT within my comfort zone. Keeping to myself and hiding were much safer than meeting new people. A bunch of women in some type of “sorority”, thanks but no thanks.

But I’d already started meeting (in small groups) some of the women associated with Business Sorority and they literally didn’t pretend their lives were all awesome, all the time. They were real, genuine and honest, and they were willing to be vulnerable. These initial connections were like oxygen to my soul, which at some level recognized the power of knowing and having such people in my life.

2018 was the five year anniversary of my visiting, applying and joining Business Sorority. There are tears streaming down my face as I type, recognizing and knowing the impact this group and culture has had on me personally. This group has literally changed my life in ways I could never have dreamed. Those changes to both my personal and professional life were inspired by the connections and sense of connection I continue to experience.

The thing about connection is that there’s no shortcut or life hack to hotwire it. Connection is formed, strengthened, forged and grown in the small moments. The moments that create and foster trust, empathy, acceptance, love. It happens in the moments when we simply show up for one another.

If I had to sum up the culture of Business Sorority in a word it is truly: connection. Connection is about showing up with a loving heart, a willingness to see and be seen, celebrating the things we have in common AND celebrating our differences. We all have unique perspectives, experiences, talents, hang-ups, personalities. Connection is strengthened by honoring and celebrating that uniqueness.

Connection is about allowing those we most deeply trust to see our fears, doubts and struggles knowing that we won’t be judged. It is a safe and soft place to land.

Connection is the immense strength to witness one another in our messiest, most terrified, ugly-cry moments. And it’s also about whole-heartedly cheering one another on and celebrating our successes and victories no matter how big or how small.

Connection embraces the fullness of this human experience and simply allows us to be ourselves. Our complicated, messy, brilliant, and most genuine human selves.

The invisible thread that is the most powerfully loving bond I’ve ever experienced is heartfelt connection. It’s the thread that is woven into every aspect of Business Sorority and impacts the culture of the group at a foundational level.

When my separation and divorce happened, the connections I leaned on and needed the most ALL came from Business Sorority. I’ve said many times they are the tribe I didn’t know I was looking for until I found them. And they were there for me in moments so dark I didn’t know if I’d ever be free of the pain. I’m joyfully divorced, but the process was brutal and it wasn’t quick. Levels of healing are still happening….three years later.

One of the hardest things to do is to witness a friend in pain and know that there’s nothing you can do to ease it. To sit with someone in loving surrender to the shit show that’s swirling around them takes grace I never knew existed. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful gifts we can give one another.

I’ve been on both sides of that witnessing and both views suck. But the underlying connection and love are beacons of light that are truly something to hold onto. And that loving connection is everything.

True connection can’t be hacked, faked or rushed. It unfolds in often surprising ways and with people we may not expect. It also includes an inherent invitation to see and be seen as our truest selves and THAT is always an expression of love.

The joy and fullness of connecting with another as our truest, most vulnerable selves is a precious gift and one that sparks such incredible joy. It’s in the moment we see and wrap our arms around someone we love. It’s in the moment we realize a shared feeling or experience. It’s always within the safe and sacred space of allowing one another to open and be our truest selves. It is beautiful beyond words.

The culture of Business Sorority is deeply rooted in heartfelt connection and I know that my own life is infinitely more rich, loving, joyful, fun and supported because of it. The fullest version of me is immensely grateful for the badass connections that I am so honored to call my sisters.

Some tips to encourage connection:

  • One on Ones! You will not engage or get to know people deeply without intentional space and time to do so.
  • Stay curious. Don’t assume you know everything, ask questions. Get to know people not for what they do but for who they are and what they’ve been through.
  • Look for similarities. Books, hobbies, activities, family, recreation, interests
  • Look for differences. What can you learn from one another?
  • Be your most authentic self. Share, use and raise your voice. If it isn’t a fit that’s totally cool. Attract your tribe as much as you repel the non-tribe!
  • Shut the fuck up (totally directed at my high extrovert friends) and hear what the other person is sharing. Be a space of trust.
  • Be you. Unapologetically and authentically.
  • Follow up. Connect on whatever platform works for you.

Business Sorority is a relationship group. It is a heartfelt and heart centered community founded with the root of connection and with the intent of allowing ourselves to continue growing and expanding our hearts, circle and minds. I could not be prouder to say I am a member of the South Charlotte NC Chapter since 2013. My life is infinitely richer thanks to this group of women.

By: Diane McDermott

Pitfalls of the Modern Superwoman: 5 Tips to Manage Overwhelm

Have you ever taken time to consider how you handle overwhelm? There are plenty of memes on the internet that make jokes about drinking or running away, but have you ever paid close attention to how your body reacts? As individuals, we all experience overwhelm a bit differently.

Overwhelm manifests in me in a few ways:

I have an insatiable desire to nap. Overwhelm has caused me to nap at strange times, which keeps me from sleeping at night. This causes me to drink more caffeine and anyone who has seen me on too much caffeine can share that it isn’t pretty.

I snap at the people closest to me, especially my kids. This one is superfun because snapping at those I love while overwhelmed comes with a guilt chaser. Bonus, right?

I am completely inefficient in all areas of my life. I get fewer things accomplished, what does get accomplished is done poorly and my confidence tanks. This often leads to beating myself up for not being able to get it all done, and all done well, a vicious cycle indeed.

With a reputation for being highly responsive, responding quickly to almost every correspondence (regardless of priority level) has been a bit of a calling card. I have become the ‘go-to’ for a lot of people in my life: Family, my staff, friends, friends of friends, neighbors and so on. I like helping people and I like being a resource. When I get overwhelmed, my responsiveness rate diminishes, and I end up hurting feelings, missing (internal) deadlines and I can sound abrasive or condescending in my speech.

One of my professors shared some wisdom when it comes to email: “I manage my emails, they don’t manage me. If it were an emergency it wouldn’t be in an email”.

This led me to wonder: Why am I feeling overwhelmed? Are there a lot of things for me to do? Yes. Do I have a full life with several responsibilities? Yes. Am I in danger? Are my kids in danger? Is ANYONE I know in the world right now, in danger? No. Not at all. Then what in the world am I freaking out about? Why am I so overwhelmed? What imaginary goal am I attempting to achieve?

If you’re reading this and have also found yourself freaking out over running out of paper clips, not being class mom or forgetting that the dog needs to go the groomer, here’s a little insight.

Charles Darwin performed an experiment regarding the “fight or flight” response we all experience when stressed or frightened. I’ll not get into all the details, but he wrote in his journal, “My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.” This statement came after he flinched when a snake lunged at him. The snake was behind a thick glass and could never get to him and yet, he flinched.

What makes you flinch? Are you afraid that you’ll be a bad mother? A bad boss? A bad spouse? A daughter? A bad sister? A bad friend?

I’m afraid of all of these things. I’m willing to say things like, “I’m a bad dancer” or “I curse too much.” These things are true and they’re easy things for me to admit. Admitting any of the others makes me feel like the snake has gotten through the glass.

So, how do we manage overwhelm? Just because we’re not injected with venom by a giant snake doesn’t mean that our responsibilities are unimportant. Here are some tips from someone who hates underperforming and has successful bouts mitigating overwhelm. It’s a journey, not a destination!

1. Prioritize

Review the key components of your life and pick out the 3 most important things in your life. I fully realize that the most important things in your life may not be things at all. Dedicate your efforts to giving these things your fullest attention. 20 mins of focused attention is far better than 2 hours of in-person, distracted, non-attention.

2. Identify the true need

As a parent, I have a naturally protective tendency regarding my children. But what am I protecting them from? My kids lead very safe lives. We have a neighborhood of trusted families, they attend good schools, there is very little crime. This is an immeasurable blessing and yet, I worry about them. I worry about the world treating them as I would. The truth is that the world is ugly and they will need to know how to navigate it. What my children truly need is my attention, not my protection. My time would be better spent talking to them. Making them feel loved, trusted, and valued rather than worrying. Worrying just wastes time and won’t serve them or me. Spending time with my children is the best way to prepare them for the world and what life brings. Bar None.

3. Prepare for what you can

“Well begun is half done.” Nothing gets me more overwhelmed than lack of preparation or a need for perfection. Whether you need to give a speech, pitch a client, talk to your son about his first fist fight or first girlfriend, prepare for it. Life is fun in its unpredictability. There are some things that you can anticipate coming and, for those things, do your best to prepare. I live and die by my calendar and I find that scheduling time, even for breaks, helps me manage overwhelm.

4. Learn the art of the delegation and to say “NO”.

Saying “No” is so simple, but it isn’t easy. I’m fully aware that I’m echoing some self-help authors, but it bears repeating. I’m going to put out a thought here and maybe some of you can identify with it. Have you ever agreed to attend an event, a dinner, a lunch meeting with someone you really care about and then regretted agreeing to it? Do you feel pangs of resentment? I have. The weird thing for me is that “yes” in those situations is a “yes” to the person, not necessarily the event. The event is taking up time I don’t have, but yet, I love the person who is associated with it. This should be a “no”.

This same concept goes for delegating. I often want to be at the forefront of everything. It’s not FOMO exactly, but more that I want to be supportive to my staff, my family, my friends. This is simply not possible 100% of the time. If I’m rushing through or not fully engaged, how is that supportive?

5. Breathe

Not unlike saying “no”, it’s so simple. We do it every day and yet, the simple act of finding your breath, acknowledging it, feeling it and slowing your mind down enough to follow it, can truly be transformative. I use a breathing technique for myself and my children. My boys have gone so far as to tell me to pause for a breath. I’ve often heard people say they don’t know how to meditate. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Sit in your car and breathe. Before a presentation, giving a speech, talking to an angry client or your new mother in law, take 20 seconds and breathe intentionally. Not only can it help the feelings of overwhelm, you’ll be more capable of handling whatever challenge sits before you.

I’m not an expert on human nature or a productivity specialist. What I am is experienced. I’ve been there, sisters. I’ve been scared. Unsure. I’ve failed gloriously in countless way.

I’ve also tasted victory. I’ve kicked ass. I’ve been humbled by the beauty of the imperfect and marveled at what can be overcome and accomplished. It’s there for you too. If you take the time to look around and accept the messiness of it all, you’ll see that life was not meant to be conquered, but it can be managed and maybe more importantly lived with intention and presence.

By: Trish Saemann

 

 

The Illusion of the Highlight Reel

Ever found yourself comparing and perhaps even brutally judging yourself based on the highlight reel of someone else? Me too.

And we’re not alone, this comes up all the time! Focusing on the highlights and polish, the very best of other people’s experiences, while denying the mess that lies beneath the surface is a slippery slope. It’s also a direct pathway to feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness and all around crap.

The thing is, highlight reels and polish are only and always superficial. They float upon and skim rather than scratch the surface and they don’t EVER reach the depths of our human experiences. Human experiences that always involve messiness: Everyone has a mess. Everyone. The only difference in whether or not you see it is based on whether you’ve earned the right to witness it.

Holding ourselves to a standard of highlight reel perfection is a recipe for dissatisfaction and disconnection.

What’s the antidote? Connection. Real, true, authentic, vulnerable and messy human experience connection that’s forged and strengthened over time and founded in trust.

Not everyone will earn the right to witness your mess and you won’t earn the right to witness everyone else’s. That doesn’t change the fact that the mess exists.

Developing genuine connection with others brings an invitation to go beyond the highlight reels that we all have. To go deeper than the superficial and see one another more fully. Highlight reels may look amazing but they don’t ever carry our full and truest stories. The stories that always include challenges, hang ups and insecurities, fears doubts and “failures”, the fullness of our human experiences.

Clinging to highlight reels may feel safer but it shuts off the opportunity to more fully connect with one another.

My absolute favorite and most trusted people are the ones with whom there’s deep mutually earned and respected access to the messes that lie beneath the highlight reel. Those are the connections that feel most true, safe, uplifting and inspiring.

Highlight reels foster disconnection and comparison. Drop the assumption that the highlight reel is the entire story, because it never is.

I’m not suggesting verbally vomiting all of your internal struggles, challenges and every hang up you’ve ever experienced at an initial one on one with someone. You can’t force a connection and there IS such a thing as over sharing.

There is such freedom in letting go of the highlight reel with our trusted connections. In being seen not as flawed or inadequate but as humans navigating life experience that includes messiness. The next time you’re scrolling or assuming that the highlight reel is the entire story, remember that it’s not. There is always far more beneath the surface than a highlight reel will ever convey.

Some of my personal recommended reading:

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle (formerly Glennon Doyle Melton)

Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein

By: Diane McDermott

 

Boundaries & Barricades

For decades I was under the impression that in order to be “open to receiving” I couldn’t have any boundaries. One of the many gifts of my divorce was the invitation to explore this notion more deeply. That exploration brought the awareness that boundaries aren’t the enemy of openhearted living: they’re the essential ingredient.

Turns out that instead of creating healthy personal boundaries I’d spent a very long time carrying around barricades.

The difference between boundaries and barricades comes down to what is the foundation: Love or Fear.

The barricades I used to carry were created out of fear. Fear of not having enough, fear of not BEING enough. And since fear was the foundation, they were highly ineffective at welcoming loving and heartfelt connections.

Those barricades were flimsy, brittle and destined to shatter because fear is an illusion. They were also extremely heavy and kept me firmly focused on what I didn’t want, blinding me to the opportunities waiting for me to look around and notice them.

Boundaries on the other hand are created and built out of love, most importantly Self Love and Self Respect. Based on love, true boundaries are light, solid and flexible. When a heartfelt connection arrives they whisper “let them closer”.

Going deeper on my boundary journey allowed me to weave personal values through and within them. Values such as: integrity, honesty, joy, respect and trust. Clarity on those value based boundaries allows me to stay true to myself and also to what is most meaningful to me. It speeds decision making down to “does this align and do I have the capacity for it”?

Boundaries invite discernment which does not include judgment. It DOES include intentional alignment with core values.

Boundary badasses don’t go around apologizing for staying true to themselves, they simply honor what’s most important to them and release anything (and anyone) that isn’t a match. They also know this is not a “once and done” process. It’s an ongoing journey and it’s the process not a destination that is the purpose.

Creating, honoring and aligning boundaries with my personal values has brought tremendous freedom and joy into all areas of my life. Releasing non-aligned clients and bio-energetic vampire connections has freed up space, time and energy to focus on the people and experiences that DO align. And the shift from barricades to boundaries has made all the difference.

Some of my personal recommended reading:

  • Rising Strong and Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown
  • The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

By:  Diane McDermott