Joining your own dots11 May 2020
In relative terms, I’ve not been a feminist for that long. I came round to the term in my late twenties through a classic Millennial cocktail of podcasts, brightly colour books with irreverent titles, and a decade in a 93% male industry.
I’ve been a dot-joiner for much, much longer. Joining the dots between people, causes, opportunities and issues is the most natural thing in the world to me. It makes me a pretty damn good project manager if I do say so myself. It also keeps my wonderful therapist a busy woman (Hey Lucy 👋).
Curating a very ambitious series of International Women’s Day events was the ultimate dot-join for me. I could finally bring together my new found feminism, project management and all my other more human dots. For six months, I single-mindedly joined dots, dotted I’s and crossed T’s for gender parity.
I succeeded in my aim to create empowering events for local women, of all ages and from all backgrounds. When I look back at the gorgeous photos of smiling people, I know I did that. But immediately afterwards, I couldn’t see past hundreds of tiny individual dots of “I could have done better” to see those joy-filled bigger pictures.
I was physically run down, mentally exhausted and emotionally… well, I didn’t actually know. I was elated that I’d pulled off what at times I didn’t think I could. Yet I was frustrated by people not doing what they’d promised. I was fired up from hearing other women’s voices also urging for change. I was equally heartbroken by the no-shows. What I found most confusing was I couldn’t do my magic trick of joining these dots of feelings.
In trying to keep up with the relentless game of join-the-dots that is running a small business and trying to change the world at the same time, I'd completely disconnected my emotional dots.
Talking therapy has been an intermittent part of my life since my late teens. However, these periods have always centred around a big dot like a bereavement. It felt indulgent and privileged to approach therapy without a “big dot”. Despite my own self-consciousness, I’ve been spending an hour a week on my own dots.
Right now I’m working on finding and re-connecting them in a way that finally works for me personally. In a way that will make me a better business owner, a better project manager and a better advocate for the rights of women and girls.
For me that means:
Disconnecting from those people and businesses that take too much, and give too little
Re-connecting to what success feels like to me, rather than looks like to others
Staying connected to what makes me happy today; whether that is knitting in my pyjamas, or writing a kick-ass new project brief
I don’t think I’ll ever stop seeing dots and wanting to join them. But hopefully by starting with mine, I’ll make a better connection with those around me.