Over two decades ago I met with a highly accomplished business woman in my local community. She had agreed to visit with me as I mentioned how much I respected and appreciated her work and wanted to ask for her guidance. I imagined she would see my bright light, my uniqueness, my personal brand and help me shine it forward.
I still get red faced as I look back on the meeting. She kept looking at me, a beautiful slightly sideswiped smile, waiting for me to catch fire with why I asked for her time.
But nothing really happened, because I had become self-conscious when I sat in her office with all the images of her success around us. I realized I really did not have much to share… I was just a hard working career girl with a desire to climb the ladder of success. And, I had not prepared for the meeting like any successful professional would. I had dumbed down and went blindly into her office never really sharing my desire for her guidance or to take any of her ideas to heart.
I hadn’t been prepared or willing to learn from her because I wasn’t ready to give up my style or own habits. She realized it too, so while she was warm and engaging, she kept her eye on the clock and her mind on what she had to do when I left.
Oh, how I wish I had that time with her back. I know I would do better today. Of course I would, I have gathered some wisdom along the way.
Recently, I had an opportunity for small restitution. A young woman I had worked with in my last job sent me an e-mail. It had a humorous slant on how she had gone by my office to get some advice about a tense situation that had just occurred at work. She said… “But your office was empty because you no longer work here!”
We went back and forth by e-mail throughout the day. She had quit her job. She was sad because she loved her work and most of the people in the office, but she had stubbed her toe with the key decision maker and he had not played fairly. She hadn’t prepared well for the meeting that resulted in her resignation.
My friend is much younger than me, but the age difference has not diminished our relationship. I became the wise business woman I had sat with over two decades before.
I recalled several discussions we had had over the past year where I coached and counseled her. He style was abrupt and she didn’t always think through her plans of action. She agreed, but indicated that she was “just who she is and she was going to be successful because of her skills and talents.” The challenge was her skills and talents were not yet well-honed and she wasn’t willing to buffer her approach to others. She expected others to see her “uniqueness” and give her wide berth to do her job the way she wanted to.
My young friend has a new job, but more importantly she now has real-life wisdom to put in her tool box. She will be red- faced for a while over the outcome from her poorly aligned approach to her superior.
Our friendship has been strengthened. I was here for a friend just as other women have been for me for many years.
I have wonderful friendships with many men who have stood by me over the years as well, but there is no real replacement for the instincts, knowledge base, or experience that comes with sharing woman-to-woman. There is a different tenor to the tone. Woman wisdom comes from within the soul and spirit.
I love the saying, “it is better to give than receive.” I think I may have just proven that saying to be true!
Gezil (Kristin) Andrews is new to blogging, but not new to writing. She first wrote a poem for her mother at age 12 and is still working hard to get the dangling participles, pronouns and adjectives in all the right places. Welcome.