I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but lately I've noticed that we're a nation obsessed with girl power. We have women's initiatives at corporations, women business owners organizations, women networking events and women's conferences. These programs are amazingly well attended.
What is it that women get exclusively from each other that makes girl power so in vogue?
On Friday, I found the answer when I got another first hand glimpse of the intoxicating power women have to motivate each other. I attended a conference called Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick: The Balancing Act. Dr. Elizabeth King, founder of the International Holistic Center, organized the daylong program that brought women together at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale to learn more about everything from finances to relationships to social media to law.
King, lover of red lipstick, launched the conference with a simple slogan that summed up the encouragement women are so desperately seeking: Women," she said, forget about your stresses, your worries, be confident: "Put on your lipstick attitude." From that minute on, women attendees were primed and ready to devote their entire day to picking up any thread of wisdom they could garner from the variety of speakers that followed.
I've decided businesswomen are so caught up in the juggle that they need to be pumped up and there are some amazing professional motivators swooping in to do the job. At this event, Kandee G wowed the crowd with her hard luck story of being a broke divorced mother of a infant. She then declared a decade later she now travels on private jets, owns horses and has two homes and is in demand as a motivational speaker and consultant. Kandee threw out motivational statements such as "Feed yourself images of what you want to create in your life and focus on it" and "It is not knowledge that is power, it is the use of knowledge." Oh, let's not forget this one that met with applause: "Guilt is a useless emotion." The crowd of women ate it up. Women just can't get enough of hearing that what we feel while balancing jobs, kids, husbands, hobbies and friends is normal.
Next came my favorite panel because it combined our new obsession with girl power and our new fixation on social media. Four women who carved a niche in social media marketing discussed how to balance our personal lives and our social media lives. This is a huge area where women are struggling and newly anointed experts are swooping in to help. Tips for the audience: "You don't have to be online 24/7 if you're not adding value or have something meaningful to share," said Chispa Marketing founder Lourdes Balepogi (Luly B) "Find strategies that work for you because there is no right or wrong way to do social media." And, from Social Entrepreneur Brenda Leguisamo : "Social media is 80 percent giving and 20 percent asking."
I love the way vendors have discovered women a target market. Met Life worked its subtle but realistic pitch into the day by telling women how much at risk they are of shortfall in their retirement and how likely they are to end up managing their finances on their own. If we're turning to girl power for motivation, we really need to be listening to reality about the need to get control over our financial future.
Julia Yarbough, broadcast journalist and author of Highway To A Husband ended the event by encouraging women to step outside their comfort zones. "Create your own change, someone is not going to hand it to you," she said. "It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can be little steps." Yarbough says work life balance happens when you are authentic. "That's been true for me," she told her audience. "When you're authentic, doing things you truly believe in, opportunity appear and things fall more into balance."
This is what women want to hear. This is why women are going to conferences, joining women's organizations and networking with each other. We see business opportunity but more important, we want confirmation that what we feel about our daily juggle and drive to succeed is normal.
If this event, and the engagement of the audience, is any indication, I think our obsession with girl power is just beginning to pick up steam. I think this tweet from @JuliaYarbough sums it up: @WIHC1 thank you to all the amazing women sharing insight for life, work, health & balance- incredible conference! Honored-#holisticwomen