Appreciation and An Expanded Answer

In considering how to express my immense gratitude for ALL of the love, care, support and kindness I’ve received, I decided that I’d also like to share an expanded answer to the question of how I’m doing.

Because “ok” is a bullshit and inaccurate reply to that question.

For anyone unfamiliar with the story, short version is: I was assaulted by someone I don’t know resulting in a broken and fractured jaw. I’m about 5 weeks into healing.

First – I am NOT often speechless but I do not have a word that even approaches the ability to illuminate my gratitude. Many times it’s actually been exhausting to be so loved. All I can say is that every single card, call, text, gift, donation, hug, well wish, kind word, thought, prayer, ALL of it has and is received with loving gratitude.

Ok, so in the practice of being real and genuine here’s a peek into how I am actually doing for anyone interested or curious. Note that this can and does shift on a daily, even hourly basis.

I am happy, hurting and healing. There are times I am wildly frustrated, annoyed, pissy, petulant, exhausted, incredulous. There are also times I’m overwhelmed with laughter, joy, exuberance, love, gratitude, compassion, awe, wonder and excitement. I experience a complicated and ever shifting blend of all of those things.

Honestly, I’m tired of hearing I look great because the truth is – I don’t think that I look great. My capacity is currently diminished and I get tired way more easily, my recovery time is about double after I’ve spent time socializing or with people. I tend to hit a wall in early afternoon when I’m simply done.

It physically hurts to laugh (though that doesn’t stop me) because when I do, multiple pieces of metal stab the inside of my mouth. And that fucking hurts.

Much of my frustration arises at having a severely limited array of options when it comes to food. Seriously, I have eaten more grits lately than ever in my entire life and I don’t even really like grits.

For those who saw me at the South Chapter Business Sorority Luncheon last Friday I’d like you to know I wavered on whether to attend for more than a week prior. I did NOT feel ready, equipped or prepared to be there and wasn’t sure I could show up.

In the end my decision to go was a choice to lean into “fuck this, I am going to show up for my life experience however, whenever, and wherever I choose”.

Adding in “normalcy” has been important to me as has trusting myself to know and honor what does and does not feel ok to me. Whether that’s what and how much I schedule or allowing myself time when I need to rest and recharge.

I’m a professional at mining my life experience for wisdom and insight and recent weeks are no exception. I do and will continue to have a LOT to say.

Self compassion is WAY uncomfortable to me but has been non-negotiable. As I write this I’m “hiding” from people after two very lengthy days of activity both professional and social. I’ve discovered I’m quite productive from bed.

Healing, much like grief is a non-linear process. It’s not predictable nor logical. Sometimes I’m doing great and other times I’m not. But really, I’m ok with all of that. Because I know the shitty pieces won’t last indefinitely. It feels like radical and renegade levels of allowing to honor myself as I navigate the next right (for me) step one at a time.

No one’s explicitly asked but…..there is no right thing to say. To me or anyone you know navigating something challenging. Every damn one of us is doing the very best we can at each and every moment. I deeply believe that and it really does help to remind myself of it.

Thank you for showing up. Thank you for being uniquely you. Thank you for witnessing, reading and being a part of my life experience. I am truly grateful beyond what words can express or capture.

By: Diane McDermott






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