Have you ever stopped to think about who is influencing you?
Who are the people that you follow on Twitter, watch on TV, read in magazines and listen to on your iPod? Who do you admire and think highly of? Who do you secretly follow because they're train wrecks and you believe they make your life seem better?
Are you consciously picking the people who may be subconsciously playing a powerful role in your life?
I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. Over the last year I have been speaking to inspiring women entrepreneurs who are living their purpose and who are models for other women just starting out on this path. They are strong, confident and authentic and quite honestly they're a joy to speak with. I wish I could spend all day in their presence. As a result of having weekly conversations and writing about them for my book I feel like my own life has been making subtle yet significant changes. I am stronger. I am more confident. I am more authentic.
Our exchanges may have been brief but the culmination of several conversations (over one hundred, in fact) and researching other successful women has changed me for the better.
As I reflect on how blessed and honored I am by this experience I think about other women who do not have empowered women as models of success. Women who don't realize just how many amazing women are out there doing remarkable work. Women who meekly look for women to admire with the hopes that they will just fall from the sky and be shiny examples to guide them. Truth is – you need to search them out. Good news – they're everywhere.
With our TV shows full of cat fights and judgment, our magazines full of unrealistic portrayals of the “ideal” woman and our media criticizing powerful women for – well, being powerful– it is easy for all this negativity to pour into our unconscious unfiltered. Left unchecked, many women feel self-consciousness, weak and unable to think bigger than what they perceive as possible.
But we can in fact filter it. It's a choice and a powerful one that you can make immediately.
:: What media am I dialed into daily, weekly or monthly?
:: Who do I follow on social media or follow on their blogs?
:: What magazines do I read or mindlessly flip through?
:: What reality shows am I consuming?
:: What TV dramas and comedies am I a fan of?
:: Where do I get my news?
:: What TV series do I binge watch when I have down time?
:: Who's coming into my email inbox regularly?
:: What celebrities do I tend to be drawn to and read about frequently?
:: Who do I surround myself with – friends, family, community, peers?
It all adds up.
Don't underestimate the power all these factors play on your psyche and on your own success. I'm not saying you have to toss out your TV, disconnect from the Internet and become a media hermit, but I am imploring you to become aware of who and what may be whispering in your ear and influencing who you are and who you could become.
So what's a girl to do?
:: Do some good ol' fashion research and find women who inspire you and who you can learn from. Read up on them. They're out there, you just have to look.
:: Look for women who are doing what you want to be doing. They might be just a few steps or a few years ahead of you.
:: Reach out and get to know them. Listen to their stories, ask for insights, and seek advice. (Don't forget to give something in return for the their time. Be creative.)
:: Seek out leaders in your industry and those inspiring gals in other fields. Follow them on social media and read their biographies or articles written on or by them.
:: Every week read an article written on someone you have never heard of who is making a difference either in business or in the community.
:: Find shows where the women are in a leadership or empowered role, even if they're not the lead, sometimes they are great female co-stars.
These are just some simple modifications that can have a lasting and profound impact on you.
Becoming conscious of adding positive, empowering examples of women will subtly begin to shift how you look at your own life and inspire you to reach further than you ever thought possible.
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