Business Sorority Word of 2019: Allow

Business Sorority turns ten years old in 2019 and it’s time for her to have a word of the year.

Many of us intentionally choose a word or theme for the year rather than getting tied up in resolutions. In fact, even the act of selecting a word or theme for the year is embracing “allowing” by letting go of what the details will look like.

So for 2019 (Happy New Year!!!!) the Business Sorority word of the year is: Allow.

I could literally take this post in a million directions but I do want to focus on a few key points from my own life experience. See what any of this or the word itself sparks for you and go with it.

Allow Vulnerability. This human experience is messy. Not a single one of us gets through it without at some point needing support. Allowing those closest to us to see our vulnerability, perceived weakness or actual mess takes such immense strength. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can actually deepen our relationships. Weird I know, and counter-intuitive to what society tells us. Reference The Illusion of the Highlight Reel as well as Boundaries and Barricades for additional info on determining who is a safe place to be vulnerable.

Allow Support. Intertwined with vulnerability is allowing ourselves to receive support. This one is REALLY effing hard for me. But if 2018 (and 2015, 16, 17) taught me anything it’s that I can’t carry it all on my own. The beautiful thing? I don’t have to. Regardless of what I’m experiencing, in the moments I’m overwhelmed, reaching out to my most trusted connections feels like (and is) relief. Even when my only answer to what do I need is “I don’t know” or “I just need you to listen”.

Allow room for synchronicity. I have been on the receiving end of synchronicity more times than I can count. People, experiences, connections, situations have arrived and stunned me because I wasn’t looking for them but they just felt so absolutely right. Allowing room for synchronicity means letting go of expectations and control (also really hard for me!) and needing things to look, feel or arrive in specific ways. Allowing for this innately involves trusting in the unfolding and in ourselves to recognize the next right step.

Allow people to be themselves. This also includes YOU. Allowing ourselves to simply be our weird, quirky, messy, unapologetic selves is brilliance in action. Allowing others to do the same is powerful. Not everyone will become a close connection and that’s not just ok, it’s really important to recognize and allow. Even within close connections you won’t always agree and that’s totally fine, allowing one another to simply be themselves is a gift in itself.

Allow yourself to be challenged. True, genuine, authentic partnership isn’t stagnant or idle. The absolute BEST relationships in my life are those that routinely challenge me. And that challenge is mutual and reciprocal. We challenge one another from a foundation of love, trust, respect and growth. Being called out on your bs is ridiculously uncomfortable. It’s also where our greatest expansions and growth originate. In my experience those challengers are also the ones who are the first to cheer one another on, and that is a beautiful thing to witness.

Allow emotions. If you deny having emotions I’ll be running away right now because that places you in the psychopath category. We all experience emotions and sometimes those are joyful, sometimes they’re exhausting and overwhelmingly incomprehensible. I’ve collapsed onto my kitchen floor crying and reached for my phone to text a friend who wrote right back with loving witness and words I needed to hear. We can’t predict when an emotion may arise but when the overwhelming ones threaten to overtake us it helps to allow ourselves to simply feel, experience and let it be. Allowing our closest people to witness those moments is also powerful and healing.

Allow your story to be shared. Brené Brown says that when we deny our story it defines us, when we own our story we get to write the ending. I deeply believe this to be true. The fires we have navigated and are walking through aren’t meant to remain hidden and locked away. Sharing and owning our stories invites others to lean into their own stories. It is also a brilliant example of showing up as our truest and most complete selves. None of us gets through this life without scars. The things that threaten to shatter us can turn into incredibly powerful messages of light to those walking just a bit behind us. Your life experience isn’t a source of shame, it’s your credibility. Own it.

So what will you allow yourself to lean into in 2019? Allowing on a surface level may seem passive but it’s actually not passive at all. It’s a level of authenticity we sometimes forget to recognize. Allowing implies an innate strength and surrender while at the same time expecting and noticing the beauty that does truly exist in this human experience. Honoring and embracing the genuine and heartfelt connections with those we choose to love.

It is hard to witness those we love struggling. It is hard to ask for help and risk being truly seen. It’s so damn hard to not be able to fix, and to not have all or any of the answers. Maybe allowing ourselves to be human and navigating this messy, sometimes brutal, also often beautiful life is more badass than we’ve ever realized.

Wishing you a beautifully brilliant 2019 full of allowing new experiences!

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