This week is International Women’s Day and the theme is #BeBoldForChange, in support of gender parity. Beyond the case for equality, this is far more about equity. The terms are very different - while equality seeks the same status, a level playing field, equity speaks to the heart of fairness, not only for women, but for all people.
When we stand for each other with a common purpose, we are also standing for ourselves, so I’ve been wondering about extensions to the theme to remind us of the impact of being Bold for personal change.
It’s a noisy world and others are always willing to tell us how we should live our lives. Standing for yourself is a bold move. Remember when you wanted to make a change and your partner/mother/friend scoffed and said ‘That’s not you!’ or ‘Ha! You tried that before.’ And all the air went out of your balloon. Well-meaning or not, such comments say much about their desire for you to stay where you are.Boldness is doing it anyway. Just quietly deciding what matters most to you and getting on with it.
What are you committed to doing for yourself?
While comments can take the wind from our sails, we easily do the same to others. Too often unwittingly, or worse, by choice, women stand against each other, with discouragement and put-downs, often disguised as reality checks. Just as gender parity will only happen if women support each other, so too the steps we take to break out of our individual circumstances are made easier with the encouragement of sisters.
Whose change are you standing for today?
Revolution certainly has impact - the typhoon changes everything, and there’s no going back. Yet it’s the small daily changes we make that have the most lasting effect. A negative health choice, repeated, leads to decline, while a positive health choice, repeated time after time, builds strength. You choose in which direction you’re heading.
What’s the smallest change you can make today, that will have the best long term outcome?
Changing one habit of thought or action will always have far greater consequences than you can imagine, but only if that change is consistently applied. And that, I think is the hardest part of change. It’s easy to get enthusiastic and play a game of taking the stairs today. Boldness only arrives when we commit to doing it every time. When doing, or not doing something becomes an integral part of who we are.
I’m currently reading The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. As she explains, our brains get tired of the effort to stay with change, and altering our language makes all the difference. Rather than saying ‘I won’t take the lift,’ rewire your brain with ‘I take the stairs.’ That simple change in phrasing reinforces in your brain that this is who you are. That taking the stairs is just what you do, in the same way that you describe yourself as ‘I’m a coffee drinker.’ Positive, lasting personal change happens when you make it part of your identity.
So, #BeBoldForChange matters this week on many levels. And with all change, the best place to start is by looking in the mirror.