Jess here, one half of the Paperback Girls, and I’m here to remind you that empowered women, empower women! It’s International Women’s Day today and you better believe I’m celebrating. Get me some confetti. Pour me a drink. Let’s do this! I want to start by giving a shout-out to my business partner and the other half of the Paperback Girls, Katie. She pushes me and inspires me every day. She is the definition of empowerment. And today, we need to talk about that.
On International Women’s Day I’m seriously feeling so empowered by all you beautiful, strong, smart, and incredibly talented women in my life. Every year on this day I’m so thankful to be surrounded by so many kick-ass women who inspire me and drive me to pursue my goals. This year, I’m celebrating a specific group. After two plus years of entrepreneurship, it’s so obvious to me that we wouldn’t be where we are without the amazing group of women entrepreneurs that we’ve been so lucky to work with, collaborate with, and learn from. So today, I’m popping some bubbly and saying cheers to you! (And if you think that’s just a symbolic popping of bubbly, we obviously haven’t spent enough time together and you need to grab a champagne flute and join me!).
Because I’m feeling so empowered by this informal network of women entrepreneurs, I want to talk about the power of community. I want reflect on the importance of women empowering each other. And I want to talk about the idea of competition and how unproductive it is to define other women that way. Sometimes we can’t help it right? We see stories of success on Instagram or we hear them from other people and we immediately know. We know we should be happy for them. Ah but is that what we’re feeling? Not always! Sometimes our gut reaction is jealousy and we tend to run this internal dialogue of “Why not me?” It’s too easy to fall into a cycle of comparing every aspect of your life or your business to other women. I’m not saying that a little competition doesn’t light a fire under your ass, like yes girl, go get that promotion, start that blog, take that course! But too much fixation can leave you in a negative and unproductive place. Minutes become hours of missed work when you’re focusing on someone else. Seriously, have you been there? It’s really fucking unproductive.
When we start to focus on competition over community, we also run the risk of reverting back to a high school mean girl phenomenon. Remember when we thought mean girls were just a high school thing? We can’t create a divide and separation amongst us, it’s not productive. We have to embrace the good part of competition and leave it at that. Really, I’m not looking to take or be threatened by a mean girl approach. Seriously ladies, there’s enough room for all of us to thrive!
There’s so much power in community. Entrepreneurship can be really lonely and isolating sometimes and it’s so important not only for survival but for growth to build a community of support. We’re lucky to have that here. We’re part of a few women in business groups, Her Network, She’s In Business, and The Canadian Military Spouse Business Network. We’ve recently started our own (not just for women but the population is predominantly women), called The MilSpouse Collective where we encourage community, networking, and entrepreneurship within the MilSpouse population. We’ve met some incredible and empowering women through these groups and we want that to keep growing! We find creativity in collaboration. So ladies, 2019 is the year we’re saying bye to competition and we’re going all in on community and collaboration. Let’s watch the magic happen!
This is hands down one of my favourite quotes floating around Twitter and Instagram:
“Starting a girl gang of women aggressively supporting other women so hands up if you want in because if we get enough people, we’re totally getting jackets." -BossBabe
Seriously you guys. WE'RE. GETTING. JACKETS. We’ve ordered “Girl Gang” patches from Ask Yo Mother to host a BYOJ (Bring Your Own Jacket) party at Blendz Smoothie Shop and we’re so excited to celebrate our community of women here in the Ottawa Valley. Our supportive, empowering, girl gang. All are welcome!
So today, and honestly every day, I’m encouraging everyone to remember the power of community and collaboration. I’m encouraging this badass community of boss babes to aggressively support each other. I’m encouraging us to start a girl gang!
Love and Bubbly,