My recent post about women’s equality on LinkedIn went viral, but not only in a good way. It erupted a backlash of hate mail from men who felt their lives were in danger in a world with more balanced gender norms. This was a stark reminder of the importance of why all ambitious women must create a protective bubble to be able to realise their goals and dreams.
My life mission is to help women celebrate who they are and make their own dreams and goals happen. I want to contribute to building a society where both women’s and men’s ambitions are equally respected. I’m privileged as I’m surrounded by other ambitious, positive and powerful women. To do this work it’s crucial that I’m supported by women and men who make my journey possible every day.
I’ve created a bubble where I can protect my mission.
People often get criticised for “living in a bubble” but if you let the world’s negativity affect you on a daily basis it will consume you and pull you down. But I admit that it’s sometimes easy to forget the realities of what many women have to face very day and that the world is still a very hostile place for women’s ideas and identities.
Writing this, my LinkedIn post has attracted 200 comments, over 30k views and countless shares. Here’s a snapshot of the hostility I received, most of which I believe is something some women have to deal with every day.
“You don’t have a sense of humour”
Women have had to put up with belittling and sexist comments masked as humour for decades.
“There’s more important things going on in the world right now than [insert your goal]”
I spoke at an event some years ago and one woman lift her hand to ask a question. She wanted to know what she should do because “every time I want to start my own business my husband says now is not the right time.” Voicing this she burst out crying.
It’s difficult if the person who’s meant to be your closest ally is not on the same side of your dreams, but this is also something women hear all the time in the workplace. It’s another way of brushing aside our dreams and making sure we feel second class citizens.
“Grow up, toughen up!”
This is a good one and many of us swallow this without chewing. We are so used to the mantra that success comes only for those who don’t complain, who just labour on. It’s time to see this for what it is: it is shaming. Comments like these are not constructive or helpful.
I want to make the negativity women receive visible so that we can protect ourselves from it.
As women who want to show up and do things we will get push back, we will get silenced. There are many forces out there who don’t like women to express themselves and have their own dreams. But we must not shy away from that.
It sounds quite incredible because what wouldn’t be better for the world than a person, woman or a man, who is connected to her drive and eager to use her talents for the betterment of the world!
It is your job to create your own bubble and protect your work.
I envisioned my bubble years ago and then I have constantly acted on that vision. Nobody will come to you and say: “Hi, would you like a safe space and support to work on your goals?”
If you don’t have a protective and supportive bubble yet it’s time to start building it — now.
Here are four steps to protect your goals and dreams:
1. Have an honest look at the relationships around you.
Who do you spend most of your time with? Are they supportive of you or do you end up doubting your own ideas when you have spent time with them. There’s no easy way out here, it’s time to start reducing the time you spend with people who are pulling you down and stopping you from moving forward.
2. Remember that not everyone has to like you
You don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea. People get to like and support who ever they want, and so do you. Stop people pleasing and start placing your own needs first.
3. Stay out of negativity
Start putting boundaries to your work and how you spend your time. Don’t spend time on websites with negative energy or resign from a hobby or a club where the energy is toxic. We get to make a choice every day what we let into our bubble.
4. Surround yourself with people you want in your bubble
Find people who are on a similar journey and who are eager to grow and better themselves. Show up willing to help and ask for help. Accept support and support others.
And finally, remember that you are worthy of your dreams. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your goals and aspirations.
Miisa Mink, founder and chief-doer at DrivenWoman
DrivenWoman is a social platform connecting women who want to achieve their goals and dreams. Thousands of women around the world have joined our program and are achieving their life goals supported by one another. Join our FREE community the Doers Tribe.