I’m going to do WHAT? Walk on f-f-fire? Bend WHAT with my throat? Hahahahaha… No. I. Am. NOT. That was, at least, my first reaction (as it probably is for most people) when Karen Pfeffer of Fire Power Seminars explained the evening’s activities. My hands gripped the sides of my chair and then relaxed a bit when she said, “all activities are voluntary”. Some time later, Connie Phelan of Fire Power Seminars explained we’d be leaving our comfort zone and going into our growth zone. My mind began to wonder… What if I tried something scary that took me completely out of my comfort zone? They had both done it. Why couldn’t I? What if I can? Would this help me be able to do other things that scared me? What other amazing things could I do with my life if I broke through my limiting beliefs? Read on and you’ll find out if I did the things my brain said I couldn’t and also learn 4 Simple Ways Women Can Empower Women.
When my heart slowed down to a normal rate I took some deep breaths; it gave my brain a chance to start back up. I listened closely to what Connie was saying and in between her statements the thing that kept repeating in my head was they’ve both done it. So it is possible… and that brings me to the first way women can empower women:
1. Be a Role Model and Mentor
No matter where you are in your life, someone probably has it worse in some way. Why not make yourself an example for them and as one VERY empowered woman, the amazing Maya Angelou once said, “Lift as You Climb”. Think about it… there’s a woman in your life, family, past, or a woman you read about that made you think, “Hmmm, maybe I can do that too…”. Don’t just take my word for it though. There are studies to prove a role model helps. In one virtual reality environment, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that “subtle exposures to highly successful female leaders inspired women’s behavior and self-evaluations in stressful leadership tasks”. Read the article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103113000206. If subtle exposure works, just imagine what daily doses of positive female role models and mentors can do! And that is what Reshma Saujani shares in her Ted Talk; teach girls bravery, not perfection.
I have nothing against men. Actually, I’m a big fan. I grew up with four brothers and their pack of friends. Guys are great, but there is just something special about finding women you connect with that can help you break through a few mental boards and physical boards! The next way women can empower women has that as it’s theme and is pretty easy…
2. Encourage Another Woman
Is it because they’re more likely to know how you feel than a man? They’ve had similar experiences? They are certainly closer to being able to “walk a mile in your shoes”. Whatever the reason, sometimes all it takes is a pat on the back and a “What if you can?” for a woman to see what’s limiting her and move past it. The bonus you will find is helping encourage someone else can make YOU feel more encouraged too. This starts a wonderful cycle. The effects of the shouts of encouragement at the empowerment seminar were visible on the faces and in the body language of the people attempting to break their boards. Some of the women went from meek and timid to “Hell yes, I CAN!” in the blink of an eye. They transformed with the words they told themselves and with the looks, nods and words from the person holding the board. They were encouraged enough to make it happen. Check out this short video of a similar seminar “Happy Black Woman Mindset Retreat” where Fire Power Seminars helped women face their beliefs/fears and make amazing and life changing breakthroughs: http://happyblackwoman.com/retreat/.
At my seminar, I’m proud to say after a couple attempts, my board split in two and I jumped for joy. “What if I can?” became “Holy-cow-that-was-amazing-I-broke-a-board-with-my-bare-hand-what-else-can-I-do?!?!” The vibe and encouraging words from everyone in the room believing I could break the board really helped make it happen and also having witnessed Connie and Karen do it at the beginning put that thought in my mind. Their sharing ties right in with the next way women can empower women:
3. Tell Your Story
One woman who tells a great story is Elizabeth Gilbert. If you’ve been under a rock and don’t know her, she’s the author of the New York Times Bestseller Eat Pray Love. A cathartic memoir where she eats, prays, and loves herself out of a deep depression. Her latest book, Big Magic, is in answer to the many years she’s spent listening to person after person come up and tell her about the great creative ideas and plans they have and then inevitably tell her why they haven’t done them yet. She feels the many excuses/reasons all boil down to fear and it is at the root of anything left undone. Her experience is that we should recognize fear can be helpful, but we should learn to ignore it when it comes to creative endeavors. In an interview, she said she appreciates fear and even lets it come on her creative road trips, she just doesn’t “let it drive, hold the map, touch the radio, or choose the snacks”. She uses it as a tool. Her Eat Pray Love story helped many women and your story can too. It can be an example someone else uses to say, “Wow, she made it through THAT?!? My situation isn’t nearly as bad.” Tell your story and let others learn from your missteps and your victories.
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” ~ Cheryl Strayed, Author of WILD and BRAVE ENOUGH
My story is that after breaking my board, I then went on,with the help of another participant, to bend steel rebar with my throat. One (and probably my favorite) nugget of information learned at the seminar is that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. The stories I heard Connie and Karen tell about how they had overcome the false evidence and broken boards in the past helped. Watching them walk toward each other and bend the rebar made their stories even more believable. It’s an amazing feeling overcoming the thoughts that hold you back and it can leave you high (on life!!) for days. That excellent, wonderful, fabulous feeling brings me to the fourth thing women can do to empower women and that is:
4. Be Grateful for the Empowering Women in Your Life
They may never know how much they’ve done for you unless you tell them. Call them up, send them a card or letter, write them an email, send them a text or video… just say it. Be grateful and let those empowering women know how important they are. You will lift them up and they will be encouraged to help others – making the empowerment circle stronger! If that person is no longer living, think of them and hold them in your thoughts when you’re doing these four simple things to empower women. There are countless studies on the powers of gratitude so think of the women who’ve helped you and let them know.
Some weeks after my seminar when I was still thinking about it and feeling quite proud, I realized I’ll never be able to go back to 1989 with my friends and get on the very small and scary plane headed for the Ruth Glacier on Denali; in the past that always made me very sad. The thought then came to me… I WILL be able to ask myself “What if I can?” and try things in the future that give me the same butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling. I will because yes, I walked on fire! In the future, I won’t have fear helping me create any new regrets. I can now say “I walk on fire. When I make a decision, I can do ANYTHING.” So my HUGE thanks go to Connie and Karen of Fire Power Seminars and the other attendees for giving me the mentoring, encouragement, and stories it took to get me across that bed of 900°+ coals not once, but TWICE and be a part of Women Empowering Women! I will be paying it forward!
Karen and Connie of Fire Power Seminars do these 4 things in their personal lives as well as their professional lives every single day. They are role models and mentors, they encourage women (and men!), they tell their super inspiring stories, and speak of all the women (and men!) they are grateful for. They can help you too. They walk the talk and can help empower you and the women in your life. So sign yourself and a girlfriend up for the 8/5/17 Fire Power Seminars’ South Florida Empowerment Firewalk today and help spread a little “What if I can…”?!?! And if you’re ready to empower women with fun, effective breakthrough experiences that engage the mind and body, you’ve come to the right place. Consider booking Connie and Karen to speak at your next women’s conference – Fire Power Seminars’ breakthrough keynote presentations on breaking through barriers with board breaking, or step into your power with arrow breaking, are getting rave reviews… and results!
“We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other, as we need the earth we share.” ~ Maya Angelou
Written By: Molly Norris, Hand Letter Love