Tag Archives: be brave

The Risks We Take

I’ve always admired risk takers. You know, thrill seekers in helmets jumping off bridges or flying through the air with GoPro cameras strapped to their heads. I envy their rosy cheeks and deep smiles and brightly colored outfits.

Everything about them screams “I’m alive!” while everything in me just screams at the thought of zip lining across a 400 foot mountain gorge.  My lack of risk taking has long been a dark spot on my soul. I even have a difficult time hitting on a guy in a bar.

Until I realized risks don’t always mean jumping off a cliff.

I have a good friend, named Kurt. I adore him. And as it happens, he adores me. One night over dinner he asked if I would join him in completing his global To-Do list. As soon as the question left his mouth, my brain became a vortex of possible complications… what about my dog? My apartment? My parents need me and there’s all those planes disappearing in that pesky ocean.

My late thirty-something self couldn’t do it. My girlfriends thought I was insane. Who would turn down a proposition like that?

Me. I would. The girl who doesn’t take risks. I wasn’t saying no to traveling all over the world, I was saying no settling for someone I adored instead of loved. Even if that person did come with two plane tickets to Bali.  I believed something bigger was waiting for me.

Not long after Kurt, I decided to do something really stupid: become an artist. Just me and my craft facing the world and my checking account! I would pursue my artistic dreams. When I told friends, they were in awe. I could see the gleam of envy in their eyes. Or maybe it was shock at my lack of desire to work in an office for the rest of my life with health insurance and a regular paycheck.

heatherAfter I downed a bottle of my favorite wine, I convinced myself I was indeed doing the right thing. But this kind of risk is terrifying. Everything in my life is a variable upon things I can’t control… like the weather or if my dog decides he wants to pee on my running shoes.

However, I’m breathless when I look back on my decisions. The risk taker would understand. The thrill seeker jumping off the side of a mountain to fly around like a bat on a summers’ day would get it. I’m one of them now.

 

Written by Heather A. Haines

I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss

Starting from a relatively young age, many girls are discouraged from seeking leadership positions because of some learned fear of power. Whether we can pinpoint the origin of that fear down to one specific moment or not, the truth is in the statistics; women simply don’t aim for coveted leadership positions as often as men do.

In 2012, a study done by the U.S. Labor force determined that 51% of working Americans were women, but females held only 18% of all Corporate Officer positions. In 2011, the Washington Post reported that only one third of the top 50 colleges in the country had female student body presidents. Those numbers drop dramatically in high schools and middle schools. Growing up, I remember being discouraged from running for class president because everybody knew a girl would never win. But where does this fear come from?

Many women actually feel that being the head of large groups like student government, or even a corporation is ultimately less effective than putting their energy into a smaller venture that impacts more people. However, as a gender, we are missing out on opportunities to create tangible change by letting the boys have all the glory. Following the success of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, which provides encouragement, advice, and strategy to women in the workplace and other leadership positions, many famous women have stepped up and spoken out about their thoughts on female leaders.

Beyoncé and Jennifer Garner have led one of the most popular campaigns, explaining that many women and girls are simply afraid of being called bossy or bitchy. After decades of having our place in the world defined by the space not otherwise occupied by men, women who come near to crossing that invisible line are often called out for being out of their place. Women who are assertive are often called bossy and overbearing, while men with the same disposition are praised for their work ethic and passion.

So how do we combat this double standard? Dianne Von Furstenberg suggests we “just ban the word bossy!” Garner says being labeled matters, and encourages other women to think twice before calling other women names. Just because we don’t agree with a particular leadership style, doesn’t mean that woman is a bitch—she is working just as hard as you are to level the very uneven playfield. Ultimately, Beyoncé’s advice is as golden as her long locks; “Be brave, be you. I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.”

 

Written by Eleanor Haeg