We march. Then what?

“The ultimate measure of a [wo] man is not where [s]he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where [s]he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  – Martin Luther King Jr.

Last month I had a lunch date with an old friend in Vancouver.  One of those lunches where digging deep is safe and nothing is off the table – love those kind.  As we caught up on the ins and outs of our professional lives, we segued into a conversation about potential, fulfillment, leadership and impact.

We explored two questions:

  1. What are we waiting for?
  2. What are we ready for?

Fast forward to Saturday, January 21st, 2017:

We matter. We march. We move forward.

On January 21, women and men around the world participated in solidarity for the Women’s March on Washington.

Before doing so myself, I pondered why I was marching.  I concluded that I would participate because We Matter.  We ALL Matter.

For me, it wasn’t an anti-Trump event.

It was a PRO-women march, in the true spirit of feminism.  I appreciated the 8 “Unity Principles” released by organizers:

  1. Ending violence against women
  2. Reproductive freedom rights
  3. LGBTQIA rights
  4. Worker’s rights
  5. Civil rights
  6. Disability rights
  7. Immigrant rights
  8. Environmental justice

I marched FOR not AGAINST.

After I marched, I asked my business partner, Jake, to weigh in with her thoughts.  Where we put our focus grows, and when we continually focus on unity and love, leveraged with the power of collective action, we become unstoppable.  Co-writing this blog further demonstrates that.

After the March, the real power lies in how we move forward, together.

According to Micah White’s article in The Guardian, Fontaine Pearson, co-creator of the Women’s March on Washington, shares my views: “I’m not that interested in the march itself but in what comes afterwards.”

PowHERhouse | We March
photo credit: Occupy Democrats

We’re Still Marching?

The impatient part of me agrees with this Occupy Democrats image.  Are we still marching? Really? We’re only here?? What is holding women back?  What are we waiting for?

It has been estimated that 3.6 million participants marched on January 21st, well over 1 percent of the U.S. population.  Our next critical step is self-examination – to explore what it is that we are waiting for.   Every single one of us has the opportunity to take a step – however big or small – towards our potential to lead, whether in business, our careers, community, family, relationships.  It’s a choice.  The real question is “what are we waiting for?”  Are we waiting to be asked?  Are we waiting for support? Are we waiting for the perfect circumstance; waiting until we have more time? Are we waiting until we have perfect opportunity? Are we waiting for the heavens to open? We all need to understand what exactly it is that we are waiting for, and to recognize it when it shows up.

What are we ready for?

Here’s where the lunch date started to go deep. We concurred that we get what we are most ready for. Let’s not confuse what we are waiting for with what we are ready for.  Be honest with yourself.  Do you know with absolute surety what you are ready for?  

When we ask for opportunities, let’s ensure we’re prepared to meet them head-on.  Our job is to be prepared.  And if an opportunity doesn’t show up or perhaps is taking longer than anticipated, let’s be careful how quickly we blame external forces.

Many of us were ready for a female President of the United States.  That opportunity didn’t come to fruition. So, we can choose to blame external forces (and get stuck there), or we can prepare for collective action and decide how we will contribute – not only by marching, but also by prioritizing daily leadership in our lives.  How we choose to show up, who we are being, leading by example, and where we are placing our focus.

PowHERhouse | We March Jake weighs in

On January 21st I marched.  As I marched, I realized something.  Something became crystal clear to me – I have spent most of my life in a patriarchal system by CHOICE.  Like what? Say that again please? 

I spent over an hour marching with this realization.  Me.  I did this.  A strong capable woman raised by a feminist Mother and Father.  Wow.

Why had I made that decision? I struggled to get comfortable with owning it. Can I own it? I was not sure I could.  It scared me.  It made NO sense to me. Then it dawned on me.  I had a choice.  I exercised my choice.  I made it of my own free will.  I was prepared, and the Universe helped me along in my choice. It was what I was ready for THEN.  Being a powerful woman is about making and owning a choice regardless of what the choice is.  My power is in the freedom of choice.

After reviewing Char’s blog and the question……What are we ready for? BOOM.  It hit me:

I made a choice as a young woman to chase a corporate career.  I got a fantastic corporate education, earned an MBA, gained complex financial and business skills and was exposed to incredible opportunities in leadership, learning and community volunteerism.  Without being prepared, I would not have had these experiences, and I would not have the skills I do today.  I’ve realized I would not change my choice if given the chance to.

However; those experiences were what I was ready for THEN.

This is NOW.

What am I ready for NOW? Well, for those of you who are new to me and Char’s partnership, more will be revealed to you as you get to know us as a team.  For those of you who know Char, you know she has been in the business of women for over 16 years, and she has built a powHERful media-platform.  For those of you who know me, you know I am a driven.  You know I am undeterred in my work with entrepreneurs, on community boards and in building learning programs.  You know I do not stand for Try.  I stand for Do.  You know I believe in the power of women.  I always have.  I always will.  You also know this unwavering belief often put me at risk in the patriarchal system.

So, this brings me to what I am ready for NOW.

I am ready to continue the work my Mother and her generation started long-long ago.  I owe them.  BIG TIME.  I am ready to be an enabler of women’s growth in Canada.  To stand beside Char and our team and NOT stop.  No matter what.  No matter how hard it gets and know matter how scared I am.

I am FOR women in Canada achieving their definition of success in ALL aspects of their life – their way.

Like Char, I am a FOR person, not an AGAINST person, unless we are talking NFL football or someone trying to beat Roger Federer in tennis.

Char and me? What are we FOR? We are FOR bringing our gifts, skills, resources, our contacts, our connections, our team and our powHER together. We are FOR finding the right women to join us. To partner with us. We are FOR self-motivated women who want results.  We are FOR being the spark, the glue, the catalyst, the guide, the voice for every woman we work with.

Let’s do this!  #herecomethewomen

We march.  Then what?  Love-leveraged ACTION.

We are being called to participate like never before. 

We are being called to lead.  

PowHERhouse builds strong women who lead.  

PowHERful women are not victims and they don’t stand in their own way.  We know we matter.  We’ll march.  We’ll move forward, together.  

We know what we are ready for, and we are going after it -together – with love-leveraged ACTION.

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About Charlene SanJenko

Charlene SanJenko, Founder + CEO of PowHERhouse Impact Media Group, has worked intimately with thousands of women over the past 20+ years to understand what they need to fully integrate excellence and fulfillment in all areas of their lives. www.powherhouse.com