I first started blogging in 2009. Back then, I didn’t have any clue that starting a blog was going to change my life. I just wanted to write my stories, and I had no idea that there was a tribe of women out there waiting for me. But the funny thing about the internet is that it can bring you together with total strangers who are so like-minded, you can become instant best friends and it’s like you’ve always known each other. They’re around to support you, be your cheerleader, teach you new skills (and vice versa), share your work with others, be your accountability partners, and even to call to check on you if you’re sick or going through a rough patch in life. They genuinely want to see you succeed and be happy. When one grows, we all grow.
This is what the We All Grow community has been for me. I recently returned from a weekend spent at the third annual #WeAllGrow Summit at the lovely Hotel Maya in Long Beach, Calif., and as it always happens when I’m around all these amazingly talented women, I left feeling inspired, full of emotion, and grateful that I found such an incredible group of women to call my tribe.
The summit has also allowed me to share my professional skill set with women who respect me as an expert; I’ve been a speaker multiple times and I’m very appreciative of that opportunity because it can be tough for many women to embrace their expertise with confidence. The feedback I receive each time I speak helps me be better at what I do, and I submit proposals every year because I want to give back to a community I receive so much from.
I wanted to share some of the life lessons that I’ve learned not just from attending the conference for three years in a row and various mini, one-day events they’ve held (such as WeAllGrow cities and WeAllGrow Familia) but also from being an active part of the community on a daily basis. The saying about you get back what you put into things has been ten-fold for me and I hope these tips will inspire you to get involved in your community.
Lesson 1: Empowered women empower women. This is a fact.
Before I met the women who would all become a part of this tight-knit group of friends and colleagues, I didn’t think it was possible to have so many women come together to empower and inspire each other without drama, prejudice or envy. I had female friends growing up and through college, and even in my adult life, but none with such a large group of people who were so self-aware and driven, and willing to grab you by the hand to help you be great.
Lesson 2: The most precious gift you can give people is your time.
We all have busy lives, especially those of us who have full-time jobs and families. True friendship and support don’t cost anything but your time. And let me be clear: your time is precious and valuable, but when you spend it on others, the rewarding feeling of having invested love and kindness in another woman so she can succeed is an incredible thing that’s worth it every time.
Lesson 3: When you set intentions to be great, and you share them with your tribe, they will do everything in their power to help you succeed and make your dreams become realities.
Within the WeAllGrow community, I’ve forged some vey strong relationships not just based on friendship, but also mutual respect for each other’s work. This has led to many collaborations that otherwise might never have transpired. Sometimes we think our dreams or aspirations might be silly or too lofty, so we don’t share them with anyone. But by speaking your intentions aloud, it helps others help you achieve those goals—no matter how lofty they may seem. Even if it’s in incremental baby steps, your tribe will help you get there because they want to see you succeed.
Lesson 4: Prioritizing your growth is a form of self-care.
It doesn’t mean you always have to be No. 1 in line in the priority list, but you do have to make yourself a priority. Say goodbye to things and people who don’t serve a purpose but to waste time because they’re holding you back from growing and realizing your potential. It can be brutal and emotional, but letting go of people or things or situations that hold negative space for you allows you to push forward and go at your goals with gusto.
Lesson 5: Not everyone in your life is going to like that you’ve got personal goals and growth on your agenda. But that’s OK.
Whether it’s your family, your boss at work, or others, if the people who surround you aren’t 100 percent on board with your plans, it can feel like you’re disappointing everyone (including yourself). Making realistic, smart goals is essential to your success, and to reach them, you have to learn to set boundaries with others. This means having the courage to love yourself enough to say “I deserve this.” Not everyone has to like you or be on board with what you want, but courage and confidence in going after those things will at least engender respect for your hustle.
Lesson 6: You can’t succeed if you’ve never failed. Don’t be afraid of failing, though. It’s a necessary part of growth and evolution.
Sometimes you have to fail many times before you succeed, actually. Instead, view it as an opportunity to take that failure and turn it around into a learning experience so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Sometimes this means you have to completely change your plans, but that’s OK. It’s better to pivot and go confidently down a new path than to continue down the wrong path just because you’ve already invested a lot (whether it be time, emotion or money) and you don’t want to turn back because it feels like giving up. Letting go of the plans that don’t work and your willingness to quickly learn from it will help you pick yourself up and hit the ground running on a new set of goals.
Lesson 7: When you work really hard, amazing things will happen and doors you never knew existed will open for you.
We’re all working toward things that we believe will ultimately make our lives better. Once you’re successful, though, the work doesn’t stop. Your hard work makes people respect and trust you, and with that will come lots of new opportunities. Not all those opportunities will be right for you; you have to be diligent about choosing projects that keep you on the path to your goals. Sometimes, you’ll be presented with really cool, flashy ideas, but they don’t serve your purpose. It’s OK to turn things down that aren’t a right fit; in fact, people will respect you more because you don’t say yes to everything. The ability to recognize that and make choices about your path is a gift and a blessing that shouldn’t be wasted.
P.S. Go be great! Check out the @weallgrowlatina Instagram account for a peek at more beautiful moments from the summit.