Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Evolve with us everyday! Gain tips from a like-minded community of women on how to stay centered, connected and strong during this unprecedented time. The Evolve platform offers multiple channels for you to recharge, continue to grow and have a positive distraction from the news of the day. Our special sauce is collective reinvention - and in our pivot to remote community and training, we’re reinventing alongside you in real time!
What’s the glue?
In conversations that we’ve had with women since the pandemic outbreak, many have expressed the opportunity that exists in this moment, for ourselves individually as well as collectively. One of the most unexpected silver linings has been the deeper connections that have been made albeit mediated by technology. What’s the glue? Shared experience.
We know the power of shared experience well. At Evolve we bring women together who are going through the shared experience of professional transition - whether thinking about a career pivot, returning to the workforce or starting a new venture. Shared backgrounds create a sense of belonging and empathy. Often it’s easier to bond with and learn from people who are experiencing the same challenges as you - that’s why professional associations and networking groups with like-minded people exist.
Shared experience changes the conversation
And now this unprecedented pandemic is our collective shared experience - we are all growing closer as a result of this global reset as we prioritize social connections more than ever. Communicating virtually has broken down barriers, allowing us to be vulnerable in ways we have not before.
When you are talking about work from your bedroom - showing your real self rather than your buttoned up business self - different kinds of conversations are possible. There’s a new sense of candor. When you see your child as a learner six hours of the day, you gain a deeper understanding of who they are. And your neighbors and community workers become even more important to us when we are dependent on solidarity to get through this.
As we were planning work for the fifth week of social distancing, Linda asked, is it possible that I feel even more connected now than I had before?
Here are ways we see barriers being broken through the power of virtual connection - at work, with family and friends and in our communities. As we consider what the future looks like, maybe some of these norms should be here to stay.
Take your real self to work
This week Linda and I spoke with a colleague who shared how she has been spending time helping small businesses navigate the CARE act and SBA loans - all from her “home office” which is also where she sleeps! The illuminating part of this conversation was in the details of how the work was getting done.
Colleagues who would not necessarily work together were joining forces to solve the urgent problems of the day and their conversations were different - more open and honest. They didn’t have their professional armor on, and with the backdrops of living rooms and kitchens, different topics became permissible and they got to know each other better. Seeing where someone lives can break down professional barriers as it shows others another, more personal side of yourself. It will be illuminating to see how in-office work cultures change as a result.
Family time gets cozier
We’ve heard in recent conversations with women in our workshops that many have felt closer to their families during this time - even with the added life stress of living, working and “going to school“ under one roof.
Women who work outside the home have remarked that being at home with their children makes them feel like they can be parents in a different way and be more involved in their children's day to day life. They also shared that they are seeing another side of their children now as learners and students.
And more women are reaching out to old friends and relatives in other parts of the country for virtual birthday gatherings, happy hours, dance parties and holiday celebrations. Families are creating new rituals to foster togetherness - children reading aloud to their grandparents and families keeping pandemic journals about the highs and lows of their experiences.
Connecting through video gives you human feedback that is sorely needed now through body language, facial expression and tone of voice. It’s been such a needed substitute for in person interactions that many, including us, have asked “Why have we not connected with people like this before?”.
The conditions that we are all living in right now make us feel like we lack control. One of the ways we do have control is to take action in the form of reaching out to support those most affected - front line workers in hospitals, first aid squads, police and fire departments and more. Whether it is delivering food to elderly in the community, writing letters, creating video messages and art for people in hospitals, or supporting local restaurants with your business - thinking about your community and how you can make a difference. Volunteering your time and resources not only helps others stay positive, but it builds your own resilience as it takes you outside of yourself and fosters empathy.
Linda has first hand experience with this through leading the FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) effort in her community which fuels front line workers with meals purchased from struggling local restaurants. The outpouring of support she’s seeing is overwhelming. The added bonus is an increased feeling of community and togetherness at a time when residents are physically separated.
We are building community and foster a sense of belonging with Evolve and it gets stronger everyday. We hope that through sharing this experience together, we'll emerge closer than before - with a refreshed vision for what relationships can look like in the future.