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You Might Feel Like You’re Failing – But Your Squad Will Prove You Wrong.

You Might Feel Like You’re Failing – But Your Squad Will Prove You Wrong.

I need you to know that you are, indeed, winning.

You are winning, you are being successful, and you are making the right decisions. Read that sentence out loud to yourself once, twice, or however many times you think you need to hear it.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we, myself included, have gone through days, weeks, or months that have made us question the core of our identity, left us feeling scared, or even resulted in a sense of failure clouding our judgement of self-worth. That’s simply because none of us have a game plan designed to guide us through a global pandemic that has forced almost everyone to stay between four walls. Every day, we seem to receive a new tip here and a trick there about how we can be more productive while working, what to do if we lose our jobs, or how we can balance caring for our loved ones and work. We look to experts, leaders, or loud voices to see how we should be going through this process, but the hard-hitting reality is that none of us quite know how to best navigate the situation that we are collectively experiencing – and that’s completely okay.

What we do still have, however, are our communities to lean on and grow with, which is why this just might be the best time for you to establish your Squad, also known as your personal Board of Advisors. When you set up this intentional support system, there are key points to keep in mind:

  • There’s Strength in Numbers. At a time when nobody has quite mastered the new normal, having people in your corner who will look out for you is key. As you build your support system, make sure you are surrounding yourself with those who have different backgrounds, different lived experiences, and different sets of information they can bring to the table. Step out of your comfort zone and connect with women in different industries or even different countries - lean on your immediate personal Board of Advisors and your greater community for lived experiences. Embrace this time period as one where we are learning and solving problems together.
  • Your Future Matters. It might seem like a privilege to be able to focus on preparing yourself for the future, and it is. There are many debating how they will be able to make rent or working on figuring out their next move after a furlough. However, if you can, start future proofing yourself now. In order to be able to see yourself and those who look up to you succeed in the latter half of 2020 and beyond, set up your Board of Advisors so that they are moving you forward. Whether it is resorting to your community for for feedback or welcoming the new ideas, the people you surround yourself with will be critical to the future you.
  • Consistency Will Go a Long Way. Your Squad is not the same as that one happy hour you had to connect with your college best friends. Make sure that this group is intentional, goal-driven, and consistent. Have regular touchpoints with your support system, establish trust, and lean on them to give you their two cents – even if it isn’t what you are particularly looking to hear at the time. Take things day by day and allow yourself the space to empathize and learn from the stories of others. As the truth of the matter evolves every day, our support systems need to be able to stand strong and be there for us time after time.

That’s why, at Ellevate, we have been hyper-focused on cultivating a community for over twenty years, and why we’re being even more single-minded about it now. The global health crisis has shown us that with the help of technology, we can continue to stay connected regardless of physical distance keeping us apart. It’s important that we use that benefit mindfully, and in a way that will be of benefit to us now and in the future. This is a time when there is a clear positive outcome of surrounding yourself with a support system invested in your success - not just to stay connected but to continue to focus on the future you.

One of Ellevate’s signature programs, Squads, is designed for this exact reason: to give women a small yet diverse, peer-led, long-lasting space to make their future a priority. It is not surprising that 81% of past Squads participants say their Squad gave them ideas, tools, and resources that they didn't have before and that 80% of women had a positive or very positive outlook on their career after completing the Squads program-- when women come together, they rise together. You can, of course, set up your personal Board of Advisors yourself. But if you need a hand, Ellevate Squads are accepting applications until April 23 for a special cycle on Leading Through Uncertainty.

As you tackle the next big problem, remind yourself that nobody has all the right answers – I don’t either. And in a time of crisis, your personal Board of Advisors will act as sounding board, offer expertise, introduce new perspectives, and simply be there to lift you up and remind you that you are, in fact, a winner.

I will continue to be(virtually) right by your side, cheering you on. 


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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