How to Empower Women to Rise
Lisa Bevere, bestselling author of Lioness Arising and Without Rival, emboldens us this International Women’s Day.
Just off a trip to Cairo where she spoke to millions of people via broadcast about the importance of women in society, spent hours exploring the views atop a camel and handed out 1,000 copies of her inspirational book, Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World, author and international speaker Lisa Bevere told us about her life’s mission—empowering other women. While she was pregnant with her youngest son, the Colorado-based Sicilian mom of four had a dream in which she saw a magnificent lioness—a representation of strength, beauty and tenderness. Enthralled by the animal and touched by the vision, she began to study the creature’s characteristics and noticed the incredible example they set for women. “They hunt together, they greet and groom each other, they nurse and feed each others' young, they develop skills to benefit the pride—called prowess,” Lisa says. “I started to unpack these strategies and wrote about them in Lioness Arising.” Interestingly enough, Lisa has also written another book, tackling an issue on the opposite side of the spectrum—exploring the rivalry, competition and opposition that's all too common among groups of women, from high school settings to corporation environments. In her New York Times bestseller Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion
and Comparison, she urges women to stop seeing one another as rivals and to begin to work together. Lisa believes that, as a society, we have made the mistake of thinking that if something makes another woman look bad, it will make ourselves look good. But it is quite the opposite. We must view other women as our mirrors. “Lionesses all look the same,” Lisa says. “They’re pale, yellow and don’t have manes. When they come face-to-face, a fragrance is released that basically means, ‘I belong to you; you belong to me.’ Then, they groom each other so they are quite actually one another’s mirrors.” So, how do we take a cue from the lioness and use their pride mentality to empower the women around us?
Work together with other women; don’t view them
Men often compete and in so doing, push each other higher but women frequently compete and push each other lower. Part of the reason is because there aren’t enough seats at the table for women. It’s kind of like a musical chairs. Instead of fighting for the few chairs, we need to set a new table.
Seek real-life relationships
It’s a really good idea to have a woman a few steps ahead of you in your life who you want to be like. Be vulnerable and honest and tell them you admire and want to learn from them. Honor that relationship. At the same time, we need to have younger women in our lives who we can do the same thing with and bring alongside us. On Facebook and Instagram, people are so desperate for vulnerable, authentic conversations, yet, you really can’t have that without a relationship. When you just have a virtual, celebrity-centric culture, it’s a constant comparison and that actually shuts down your creativity and ability to find your purpose in life.
Use words of encouragement
When I was walking in Jerusalem, the pace was so intense and everybody was moving so fast. When I would look people in the eye and say, “You’re so beautiful” or “Thank you so much, we so enjoyed your city,” they would be taken aback. People are so hungry for in-person communication that when you actually say something kind, you pause and arrest them.
Discover your strengths and shift your perspective to positivity when it comes to others’ gifts
As long as we find out what our unique contribution is, none of us can ever be displaced. It’s when we’re copying or trying to displace someone else that we lose. A win for one is a win for all. We need to stop thinking that your winning is being withdrawn from my bank account. If you’re winning, you’re paving ways for all of us and not deducting from me, rather, you’re creating pathways that I can travel down, too. We all have permission to be everyday heroes. Every single woman has a circle of influence and if she sees a void, it may be because she’s supposed to be the answer to it.
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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo