You spend years working a job. Maybe you didn’t care for the “job.” Maybe you loved it, but you loved the world of fitness more and felt a calling to solve a problem to get this world moving more. Maybe you yearned for crafting your own business. Whatever the means may have been, you found yourself from well-respected in your career to in many ways starting at square one. Whether you are starting a new career, switching roles, or starting your own business, the struggle is real. It’s especially unique to women. Of the companies that made up the 2019 Fortune 500 list, a mere 33 have women CEOS. The numbers are improving, but there is considerable progress to be made before we close the gap.
In many ways as women we are ingrained to be nurturers, naturally shunning the spotlight and downplaying our accomplishments. Although this is not true of all women, it definitely feels true for many of us.
Authenticity is easier when you feel confident. Being authentic is defined as being genuine or relating to others from a real place. It is relating as human beings, being grounded in truth and connecting to other people as opposed to being “faux.”
When your confidence is challenged, (as in the case of a new role), it is harder to be authentic. Not because we hope to trick others, but because we lack the self-assurance to be ourselves. We are too worried about impressing. It can be harder to look people in the eye for fear they will challenge you, demean you, or dare I say, disagree with you. Although there are exceptions to the rule, most women I know are conflict avoiders. We long for acceptance, we feel more comfortable when we are supported and supporting others, and we dislike arguments and disagreements.
Now being in the trenches of business ownership, terms like CEO and Owner, we especially as women are constantly surrounded by the feelings of vulnerability, inadequacy, and inferiority. However, there has been light in the tunnel. The business model at FitSwop is truly about elevating professionals in the fitness space, so it is high time I elevate the women I have met who have truly inspired, elevated, and picked me up when I was standing from a place of vulnerability.
To Christine Conti-you are my hero. I cannot believe sometimes we have not met in person. Your story, your enthusiasm, your absolute authenticity is something I admire each day. I aspire to it. #KFG
To Lisa Simone Richards- for calling me the “founder” of my business concept and telling me to rock it. Coming from a person of such poise and confidence, how could I not listen.
To Denise Imbesi- founder of Muscle Mixes Music, and one who has been in the trenches of the fitness industry for years. To not only listening to my idea but embracing it and offering to support it and being a part of it in any way.
To Lindsay Vastola and the staff at Impact and Influence event- for inviting me as a member of WIFA to this event, and making all of us in the room feeling worthy of content writing, speaking, and being the expert.
To Michelle Blakely- who on a sisterhood stride walk in Chicago told me sincerely I was going to “rock it.” You never know how a small comment of confidence like that can raise someone up.
To Mia Bjorkoos-Smith- for being a supportive and wonderful WIFA mentor to me, being a source of support during times of feeling inadequate. To scheduling that hour with me several times, and taking the time out of your life to not only be a mentor, but teach me what mentoring is really all about.
Being an entrepreneur is something of a roller coaster ride. Jenna Kutcher sums it up well in her quote below:
I feel fortunate enough however, that my path has been struck a little differently. Although there is no denying the challenges and the continuous battle uphill, I have a support system in place that has helped me in times of struggle. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of networks and organizations that help see you through.
When I joined this organization for women in fitness, I could not have possibly imagined that I was going to be supported to the extent that I have been. Yesterday’s member meeting was about authenticity and how to be an authentic leader. Being a part of this organization has helped me learn authenticity by showing me we all put our pants on the same each day, and as Deborah Goldman reminded us in the meeting, it is essential that we “leave our ego at the door.”
Thank you ladies for all you do. Let’s continue to do it. An organization is only as strong as its members, and this organization is overflowing with strong women.
To all the women of WIFA- connect with those who elevate you and inspire you to make the trek. To all the women in fitness-join the community that seeks to strengthen women in fitness.
Connley, C. (2019, May 16). The Number of Women Running Fortune 500 Companies is at an All Time High. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from Forbes.com