I was invited to a lovely luncheon this past Friday for a mentor program I have worked with in the past. The room was filled with around 60 business professionals and students…some mentors, many young mentees. As we enjoyed our meal, our speaker – a former professor—was asked to make a few remarks on networking. My almost-70 year old former professor launched right into his “take” on gender differences in networking. Now retired, he talked about his networking occurring mostly on the golf course. There were several chuckles here. He then described how men “network with greater ease” because they keep their “personal bucket” and “professional bucket” separate. Women? He proclaimed, and claimed support in the research, are weaker at networking because they “comingle personal and professional all in the same bucket.” Hmmmm.
I continued to sit at my front table, a few eyes on me that knew that I had made the empowering of women in building relationships a large part of my day-to-day mission via my Women in Business Program. I continued to look ahead, a smile on my face, knowing that his remarks were a tad dated. Well, more than “a tad.” Especially when he stated, to the shock of many, that much male networking happens at Country Clubs, and women cannot capably network there. Wow. Poor guy. Out of touch.
Things really got interesting then, inspiring this week’s blog post…
I could not have disagreed with him more, but as I do with so many these days who judge or have misguided “takes on life” and hatefully unleash them on others, I chose to move away from this attitude and towards positivity, great attitudes and a continued desire to empower what is supportive and uplifting.
Can do, not “can’t do.”
Then another surprise. In this small room, those few words had pushed the buttons of a female mentor and now she unleashed. “Women are suppressed because they try to come to the table and you men,” as she pointed to several men in the room including young male students, “won’t come to the table with us. This is your problem, too.” She continued on, with a quite a bit of angry venom. Another Wow.
You see, whether I agreed or not, whatever I felt, this was NOT the forum. Their words, both of them – his ignorant and out of touch, hers angry and beaten down – affected the younger generation in that room. As a long-time mentor of young women and a mother of two millennial children, I choose to frame the world in a different light.
She friends, minding our “P’s and Q’s” is not about manners in this case, it is about the language that we use to communicate to others, particularly those of our younger generations.
We must not focus on the negative…our words to our youth cannot be doomsday, desperation and a message that the sky is falling and the world is bad. Rather, we must use language that builds them up, empowers them to use their minds, time and resources to make a difference in the world. They are listening to you, SHE friends…what are the words you are releasing into the world?
I speak truth in my words…and that truth really is about perspective and attitude.
I disliked the words that both adults in the room used at the luncheon. But I believe that the younger generation can be encouraged by our words and empowered to set goals and work hard for their accomplishments. I believe that failure does occur, but I do not give someone else the “power” by saying it is all their fault or I could have succeeded if THEY/HE/SHE _____________________________________. In fact, failure is the greatest gift for learning potential.
I also believe in the law of attraction, which has nothing to do with how one looks. If I put positive language out into the world with every opportunity, I believe that positivism will surround me. I am not raising children or mentoring young people to be fearful, to hate authority, to disrespect others’ property or to feel suppressed EVER. My language is one of strength, of tolerance, of assurance, of positivism.
SHE friends, let’s set the example. Let’s be the difference. Let’s mind our p’s and q’s and put positive language out into every relationship and human encounter.
Are you with me?
Note from the SHE Files: Can do, not “can’t do” is a way of life