By: Maria Pascucci, Founder of Campus Calm
We do not have to do it all, all by ourselves. Instead, women leverage each other’s strengths to make things happen.
You see, it takes courage to admit we’re not superhuman. When we feel pressured to be perfect, we oftentimes find it difficult to honestly assess our strengths AND weaknesses. But when we acknowledge (and forgive) our weaknesses, that’s when we can reach out to others whose strengths complement our weaknesses. Just like when we identify our strengths, we can help others who may be weaker in those areas. That’s when collaboration becomes a big win for all involved!
Here’s an example from two of our founding foremothers: In 1898, women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote, when talking about her friend and partner in crime Susan B. Anthony:
In thought and sympathy we were one, and in the division of labor we exactly complimented each other. I am the better writer, she the better critic … and together we have made arguments that have stood unshaken by the storms of thirty long years; arguments that no man has answered.
Alone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a great writer; alone, Susan B. Anthony was a great critic. Together, they united to lead the women’s suffrage movement, helping to grant all American women the right to vote.
Together, women and men can lead the world toward positive change.
A big flaw in our current educational model is that it can encourage cutthroat competition and a win/lose mindset. From SAT scores to scholarships to college admittance to grades to internships to jobs, it’s all about competition, and appearing perfect on paper.
While there’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of competition (because competition is always going to exist) the organizations and companies that thrive, both in profits and people, are built on collaboration and teamwork. When kids are raised to give themselves permission to not be perfect at everything, they become adults who aren’t afraid to recognize their strengths, and fill in the gaps (their weaknesses) by leveraging other people’s strengths.
Here’s an example from my own life on how we are all better served when women choose collaboration over competition. When my team of interns and I created Campus Calm’s “Campus Lead Her Success Kit” we reached out to other women leaders in the college market.
Many of the guest interviewees featured in the kit are my perceived competitors, as many of the women are college speakers themselves. Having been schooled in the principles of abundance over scarcity, I truly believe that there is enough success in the world for us all when we are bringing our authentic selves to the table because we each have unique experiences that no one else possesses.
It’s so brave to share your one-of-a-kind voice with the world! It requires a lot of self-trust and it takes practice.
Here’s an example of a practical payoff of collaboration over competition: Together, my perceived competitors and I created a far superior leadership tool to help college women than I could have ever created alone.
While my team and I at Campus Calm spread the word about this kit, our collaborators enjoyed promotion through our network. In return, our collaborators promoted Campus Calm through their networks. Through our collaborative efforts, we introduced us all to college and women’s leadership event planners, and we talk each other up when we speak on campus.
Because we only collaborate with women leaders who give abundantly, all of our clients are better served. Everyone wins and, most importantly, we are leading by example to teach college females the strength of women helping women.
Q: How can you collaborate with your friends so everyone’s strengths are being utilized for a greater good?
Leave comments below and let the collaboration begin!