Drawing a line in the sand

When it comes to women in business, we can’t afford not to…

Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash

Recently, I joined a professional development program called the Women Leadership Intensive, and we had a great conversation about women empowerment and external factors that might hinder our self-esteem and confidence.

How much do we let external factors, usually outside of our control, dictate how we feel about ourselves?

How much does social media add to this? We’re constantly bombarded by facades of what a perfect life looks like: perfect job, perfect career, perfect house, perfect partner, perfect kids…

The matrix is something that everyone is seeking to be a part of. Even for those women who “are making it” (whatever making it may mean to you) they’re still stuck in this matrix and are caught up in a system that confines them in those boxes of what an ideal life should look like.

When it comes to women in business, we have to draw a line in the sand of how much we are controlled by external factors that steer us from one wave into another. Because riding the wave of others, especially waves of power structures, social media, big tech and its matrix, does nothing good for us or our confidence, self-esteem and empowerment as individuals.

What does drawing a line in the sand look like? It sometimes means saying no to people, things, and processes that you don’t stand for and will not help you move forward.

If it’s not aligned with you mission, vision and values, draw the line and cut it off. Why do we often find this so hard to do?

More importantly, when we do, it’s often a headline maker.

Recently, the CEO of Canadian company Knix Wear made headlines for not just raising $58 million round, but also “nixing” investors who questioned her pregnancy while fundraising. At this point, when people, investors included aren’t aligned with your company’s values and mission, they’re making your life easier and helping you to draw the line faster.

Why should a successful business woman listen to you and your gatekeeping about an aspect of her business that literally got her to where she is to date? I don’t know what people are thinking.

We need to do more of that. Standing up for ourselves shouldn’t come as a surprise, it should be the norm.

In fact, my feeling is that the more you’re explicit, courageous, and fearless about communicating and making those values and mandate clear, the more we will be able to find, and align with forces that make sense for us and our business.

It doesn’t come easy. We have to constantly encourage and push ourselves to make these decisions that are sometimes easy and often difficult. The more we do it, the more they’ll get easier at making them.

When we decided to stop using Instagram and Facebook for our organization’s marketing, it was an easy decision! It didn’t matter how much reach and followers we had. It didn’t matter how many folks were gravitating to our programs from these platforms, what mattered is doing the right thing.

The choice to stick with our mandate and values, and no longer support platforms that endorse white supremacy was easy. They weeded themselves out, and it was easy to draw the line.

Some decisions are harder to make though.

And they take a lot of courage. But the line has to be drawn because otherwise, it can mean that we’re compromising the company’s mission, vision, and values. The business will be hindered, as a result, and we can’t afford that. We have to draw the line in the sand, and say “that is not welcome here”.


If any of this resonates with you and you’re a woman founder and need support, please feel free to reach out to me at rusul@parkdaleinnovates.org

2 thoughts on “Drawing a line in the sand

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