International Women’s Day: What We Can Do Next
Posted on March 8, 2017 by Angela Lussier
We all saw the wild success of the Women’s Marches on Jan. 21. Today is The Day Without a Woman and International Women’s Day. These initiatives are doing a good job bringing women together and raising awareness, but what else can we do? Here are three strategies for building your own movement and showing up as a leader.
- Start building your leadership by picking a specific mission.
Great leaders have a clear vision. Saying you want world peace and you think everyone should be more loving toward one another is nice, but it isn’t specific. What if you focused on something like fair wages for women? Or teaching women how to negotiate better for themselves? Or, maybe focus on helping women during that time after she gives birth and has no idea who she is anymore.
When determining your focus start with two key questions:
- Who do I most want to help?
- What do I want to help them do? / What problem do I want to solve for them?
Selecting a specific audience of people will help you determine what they need. If you feel drawn to helping kids, what problems do you want to solve for them? If you care about giving young women more confidence, what do you want that confidence to help them do? Figuring out what motivates your audience and what outcomes they are looking for will also help you build a compelling movement. Consider their hopes, dreams, fears, challenges, and goals. Work backward from there.
- Build a community
In 2008, I was lucky enough to read Seth Godin’s book, Tribes. This book changed my life because of its one simple premise: Rather than try to change the minds of those who don’t already agree with you, find the people who do agree and build something with them. When I realized I was spending all my energy trying to convince the people who didn’t understand me, I quickly changed my focus to finding people who were in my tribe. Once I found them, I felt supported, seen, heard, and understood. My world started to open up and we started to build things together. Finding people who agree with and believe in your vision is what will boost you up and help you be successful in building your movement.
You can find your community by making a list of the goals and values for which you’re seeking. You can also build a pitch that will help you quickly determine if the person you’re talking to is someone who is or isn’t on your team. You’ll know it when you find your people because it just clicks. Once you find them, be open and honest about what you want to do and invite them to join you.
- Speak Up!
Great leaders become known because they speak up and share their vision. They don’t just write it in their journal and think about it for 40 years, they go out and talk about it. They get on stage and inspire people with their ideas and their goals. They create a platform for themselves by standing for something and then pouring their heart and soul into their words. Public speaking is one of the most important skills a leader can possess if they want to be heard, respected, and followed. If you can’t share your voice, how will you create change?
When I was 24 and working at my first job, I quickly noticed that the leaders in my company all had one trait in common: they were all amazing communicators. Not only that, they were adept at public speaking. Realizing this, I knew I had a big decision to make. Stay quiet, or build my public speaking skills? If I wanted to one day be a leader, the answer was clear. As scary as it was, I chose the path of growth and signed up for a public speaking club. It has been 11 years since the day I gave my first terrifying speech. Today, I have given over 700 presentations, written three books, given two TEDx talks, and I am an award-winning professional speaker. Recognizing how much public speaking has changed my life and knowing how important it is for women to learn how to speak up, I’m now building a network of public speaking clubs for women called the Speaker Sisterhood. By doing the work, the movement I want to lead appeared. This can happen for you, too. You just have to start by taking the first steps today.
I’ve learned that our voices are the most important thing we have and if we don’t speak up, we miss our opportunity to lead. Start now by developing your message, finding your people, and connecting with your voice. Getting started requires recognizing what matters most to you, doing the work, and not giving up when it gets hard. If you think you can’t, do it anyway. Who knows, you might just surprise yourself.