What is your first thought when you get introduced to another woman? ‘She’s pretty but maybe not as pretty as me?’ or ‘Gosh, I wish my edges were that laid’ perhaps ‘Who is this? Does she think I’m cool?’
Whether it’s involuntary or not we tend to have a train of thought that borders on the competitive when we meet someone new. It even happens with people we do know, hearing good news about a friend’s new promotion or engagement can sometimes make us feel a little left behind.
Well the Shine Theory, advocated by Anne Friedman, challenges you to flip the script. The basic premise is that when you meet an intimidatingly successful bad ass woman, instead of letting that little voice in your head tell you that you should feel inferior or even intimidated, send it back where it came from and befriend her! Friedman explains, ‘Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.’
Why the Shine Theory?
We live in a society that constantly pits women against each other, as if we can’t imagine a world where two successful women can exist without being competitors. The Shine Theory encourages us to surround ourselves with women who are successful and to encourage these successes. How can we not want to see the women around us flourish and do the most? After all, we are the company we keep.
But does the Shine Theory actually work? It has been tried and tested by the women in the Obama Administration with the effects fostering an important change in the way women treat each other in the workplace. It has been a long time coming but it is definitely time to change the narrative that women cannot exist in the same space without being pitted against one another.
So how can you practice the Shine Theory?
Well, charity does start at home. How we see and treat others is based on how we see and treat ourselves. A little self-love and self-confidence goes a long way. When you recognise your potential and your unique path, you’re less likely to compare yourself to others and resent their accomplishments.
It is important to ask yourself why you instinctively take a negative approach to meeting someone new. How do you feel about yourself, your career and happiness? Your answers to this will generally reflect how you ultimately treat others.
Convinced? Here’s how to start.
The Shine Theory can easily be done with our friends and general social circle but it is not just limited to seeing our inner circle flourish. It is also key to make an effort when we meet someone who potentially intimidates you. This isn’t a ‘fake it till you like her’ situation.
Be genuine and honest with your friendships and acquaintances, be part of a BOSS community that encourages and thrives off each other’s success.Whether it’s a tweet of encouragement or creating platforms that support another woman’s business, the Shine Theory allows all those involved to bask in each other’s sparkle.
Building friendships with more accomplished women is great for building your business relationships and your personal networks. Who knows? That seemingly intimidating woman could be you next business partner. More significantly, you gain you a strong support system that pushes you to be the best version of yourself.
We need friends that are smart, confident and kick-ass women who dish out the best advice and inspire us daily. Create and foster friendships based on mutual appreciation and respect in seeing each other’s triumphs as a celebration for all.