One night at dinner, I told my kids I spent my entire day in meetings with only men. At first it felt strange. Then it happened again, and again, and again. It became a joke in my family as we waited for the day when other women would show up.
I was lucky enough to work at the “higher” levels within different organizations (I’m thinking of three different roles) and I felt myself shrinking. As a woman in the workplace, being interrupted or ignored by men in meetings is a way of life, unless you are running the agenda.
Peter Drucker wrote, “Strategy eats culture for breakfast.” But I completely disagree. I’ve seen the way strategy gets shoved on employees in exchange for a particular way of being. I would venture to say, “Culture rules everything!” And I can honestly say, I’ve had one boss that gave me complete autonomy while “having my back.” (You know who you are…)
Culture is how we act, how we learn, what we think and what we do. It starts within our families, and expands into our neighborhoods, our organizations and our world. As Brene’ Brown writes, “Culture is the way we do things around here.” Culture highlights whether or not we are walking our talk. And we have complete control because we always get to choose.
And thirty years later, I finally run my own agenda and my own business.
But karma’s a bitch, right? And this journey we’re all on is a bit unpredictable.
So, here’s the rub. I have my own business, I’m the boss, I run the way we do things ’round here. I get to accept or decline jobs and clients.
Today, I have many more men as clients, than women. Yep, it surprises me too! But it also makes me extremely happy.
Men, in general, have been raised to not show emotion or weakness. How many times have boys been told not to cry, shake it off, get back in the game, don’t be a pussy. If you, as a boy, do any of that, you will be shamed. You get it, right. We all know the stuff that men are exposed to.
But the men I deal with want to get out of the box our culture has created. They want to learn. They want to grow. They want to be themselves. They are strong. They want to be equal partners. They want high paying jobs, and high responsibility.
They want to be themselves. They want to be honest and courageous, and do right by their families, but mostly they want to do right by themselves first.
That’s what makes me extremely happy. That there are men out there that want to have the best life ever! Not just be providers of chores and income. So let’s just leave it there.
Let’s all be OK with a man who tells you how he feels, tells you his job sucks and wants something new. Let’s be OK with a man that hurts and cries, or a man that feels vulnerable and tells you. Let’s allow men the space to get real with themselves.
Maybe if we begin this, men won’t feel they have to interrupt women to show they’re smarter, or stronger. Maybe they won’t speak out of turn, or over others because more of that man is being seen and accepted.
Let’s just leave it there.
Part of my creation of Passion Forward was for men, because it offers them the privacy to think through these concepts in the comfort of their own homes. Then they take action by testing things out in real life, and how to ultimately create their best life!
This opportunity is gold, don’t miss it!
*Photo: November 1986. James E. O’Neil wins the race for RI Attorney General. Our first press conference after a night of celebration. I’m wearing my boyfriend’s (who became my husband) sweater! omg!!