It's Time to Shift the Conversation Around Ambition
March 8, 2019
We’re constantly on the lookout for life-changing advice to share with our community of 3 million+ people spanning 189 countries. What we run into time and time again: A whole lot of advice from men, and a lot of digging to find the gems created and coined by women.
Just Google image search “Quotes about ambition” and you’ll see what we mean—for the most part, it’s a boys’ club.
As a female-founded startup, it doesn’t sit well with us, especially since we know women in the U.S. are nearly half the labor force. Also: We know women—and especially women of color—are facing unique stressors as they fight to close the gap between women in the workforce and women holding leadership positions. In 2018, only 24 women were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies—and today, only one Fortune 500 CEO is a woman of color.
Here at Shine, we’ve highlighted the problem of “representation burnout”—that feeling of exhaustion that comes from being the only person of a particular identity in an environment. It’s a very real experience for so many women.
A 2018 Women in the Workplace study conducted by McKinsey showed that “one in five women say they are often the only woman or one of the only women in the room at work.” Besides feeling additional pressure to perform, women who are "the only" in a workplace have a higher probability of experiencing microaggressions, having their abilities challenged, and having unprofessional comments thrown their way.
Representation burnout is real—but so is your power to thrive in spite of it. Listen to our Representation Burnout meditation, now available in the Shine app. Here's a sneak peek:
“Women have a distinctive point of view and a unique experience of work and life,” Anna Rowley, Ph.D., a psychologist and millennial wellbeing expert, tells Shine. “Not only do women have to go it alone to get ahead, they are often seen as anomalies. For example: Men’s ambition to succeed is healthy ambition whereas women’s desire for upward progress is often described as ‘neurotic.’”
While the statistics and Google search paint one picture, we know strides are being made: Roundups of leadership books that include women authors are becoming the norm, not the exception. The Sheryl Sandbergs and Bozoma Saint Johns and Brené Browns of the world are taking the mic.
And we all know women are sharing advice with one another—over coffees, drinks, study breaks, brunches, toddler tantrums in the park, Twitter, even Instagram DMs.
It’s conversations like these that inspired Shine: Our co-founders were “work wives” who leaned on each other for support, advice, and compassion as they made strides in their personal and professional lives.
The company came out of answering the questions: How could we do this for more people? How could we help other “Onlys” feel less alone, more empowered, and comfortable being kinder to themselves?
That’s why, in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re doubling down on our commitment to elevate the voices of women thought leaders—from CEOs to researchers, entrepreneurs, activists, actresses, authors, and more—and share their tactics and wisdom with our community through our daily motivational message, articles, and audio content.
To Shine, a more gender-balanced world means elevating women as thought leaders.
We started with a list of badass people who self-identify as women, then sourced their advice to help you better navigate your ambition, your emotional health, and your day.
Just some of the topics we’ll talk about:
●︎ Balancing ambition and your day-to-day happiness
●︎ Owning your time
●︎ Taking up space
●︎ Redefining productivity
●︎ Embracing—instead of fearing—change
We’re proud to say that Shine is founded by women and powered by majority women—and now more than ever, our community is empowered by them, too. That’s why we’re calling this campaign (Em)Powered By Women.
To kick things off: Here's one of our favorite quotes from a woman about ambition:
So, how can you join in?
1. Share what you’ve learned from women.
Today, think of something you've learned from a woman that's positively impacted your life—whether it’s a friend, family member, former co-worker, boss, or even a Solange lyric.
"Impact" can be as big as shifting how you view ambition and your overall approach to life, or as small as that to-do list tip that keeps you from getting overwhelmed.
If you can, thank them IRL. Studies show that expressing our gratitude out loud amplifies its feel-good power for both people involved. Plus: It can help us create a wave of new insights from women thought leaders.
2. Join us on the Shine app.
If you haven’t joined Shine already: Kick off the rest of your March weekday mornings with a female-backed motivational message, sent straight to your phone.
Plus: Listen to our Shine Talks daily—they’re short meditations created by our team of self-care experts (majority women!). Our recommendation: Start with our meditation specifically designed to help you cope with representation burnout.
Let’s amplify the wisdom of women and the words that helped (or are still helping) us become who we are.
Let’s shift the conversation around ambition and leadership and amplify the brilliance of women making strides, too.
Let’s start recognizing women for who they are: game changers and thought leaders, this month and always.
Today's recommended meditation: