After spending an hour and a half on a Google Hangout with 5 fellow female school leaders across the country from my Moms As Principals tribe, my feelings about “finding your supportive tribe” are even more solidified. As different as we may be, we empower, support and encourage one another. In our Voxer group, we challenge each others’ thinking and they inspire me (daily) to consider perspectives different from my own.
In Lead Like a PIRATE Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf share, “Being the organizational leader can be lonely and difficult. With technology, we no longer have to go it alone.” Not only does technology connect us with endless information, but it helps connect us with each other. I love that connecting first through social media has then allowed us to connect with each other in person! Brian Fans wrote, “Social media won’t replace a handshake, but social media done well will change the first meeting from a handshake to a hug.” Meeting these ladies (and many others from the MomsAsPrincipals tribe last year at the National Principals’ Conference) in person was amazing, but connecting with them daily through Voxer has really been an amazing resource! I’ve been able to share ideas, ask for suggestions or input, and listen/grow as a leader and a mom. The ideas shared in this group on Voxer (and others such as Principals In Action), have already been implemented, thus helping the school community I serve.
Thinking about the power of one’s tribe & the how amazing it is to be part of groups that inspire and empower fellow women leaders, I’m reminded of Jen Hatmaker’s post on Instagram about female elephants:
“See, in the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.
They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.
When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.
Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases – under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant.
This is what we do, girls. When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover…we get in formation. We close ranks and literally have each others’ backs. You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck.
And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks.
Photo cred: David Yarrow Photography
There is no community like a community of women.
Don’t forget to spot the young ones learning from their fierce mamas, joining the protection squad. Our littles are watching us, girls. They see how we do. We are the ones to teach them about the formation. If they learn it young, they’ll never forget it. Protect your sisters and your babes will grow up and do the same.”
It’s inspiring to be part of a group that supports, encourages, connects, inspires and influences me to be better and do better. They are female leaders, who (just like me) experience “Mom Fails”, but who also support me in truly believing I am setting an amazing example of what it means to be a working female leader and amazing mom. It’s my hope that everyone finds their “tribe” and that leaders are willing to step out of isolation to connect, collaborate and learn from others to make themselves and their schools stronger! Collectively, as educators and leaders, we need to feel comfortable sharing our best practices and connecting to lift each other up.
To our newest members who have joined the #momsasprincipals group or believe whole-heartedly in #AllKidsAreOurKids, welcome and I hope you find as much value in connecting with other likeminded individuals as I have. Our tribe, like female elephants, will celebrate you, push your thinking, support you and best of all, have your back!