‘My Circle Spans Across the Country’

"We lean on one another for professional support, love advice and mentoring in everything from friendships, careers, to healthy lifestyles," writes Leslie Bradshaw.

By Leslie Bradshaw on November 14, 2013.
Leslie and her circle members having a meeting on Google Hangouts
Leslie and her circle members having a meeting on Google Hangouts

We have a lot of talented women in our circle.  Women who don’t ever say, “I can’t.” This can be a great thing. It means we can always offer solutions to a variety of problems as they arise, a true operational energy. But sometimes this is also about being able to answer other people’s problems, and sometimes this means we are actually selling ourselves short. Just because you CAN do a task — and do it well — isn’t actually a reason to do the task.  Taking on O.P.P. (other people’s problems) and succeeding in solving them is actually a skill. And it’s a choice.

Leslie_Graphic

Graphic by Florencio Zavala

The text on this graphic was created in part because of a trend we’ve all experienced, namely one where we are being tasked with not only doing the job we signed up for, but also for essentially running the backend of a company, to boot. We often come into a place that needs help and our natural reaction is to put into place a smooth operations process, the “ops” of how a company runs. Often we’ve done this in our careers without a second thought to just how much value this kind of skill actually is worth.  It’s a valuable skill that could be leveraged if we are conscious of its value, instead of just employing it in a reactive way: a skill that befits someone who can run their own company.

This graphic is a great reminder to the capable women out there to remember to value themselves for their ops skills. And to remember that being skilled at that ability is a prestigious distinguisher.  Make sure that if you decide to use it, you are consciously doing so for a company you feel passionate about and supported by.

Name of Group: Breaking Glass and Kicking Ass

Location: Virtual, with five states represented: California, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wisconsin

Number of Members: 6 core (+ guests). Our extended group includes: designers, account managers, strategists, COOs, production designers, coders, writers, composers, filmmakers, editors, producers and everyone in between.

Where Our First Circle Took Place: Our primary means of communication is always online. In addition to meeting on Google+ Hangouts several times a month, we exchange weekly (sometimes even daily) e-mail chains, Google Docs, text messages and Facebook posts. We’re even all part of a secret Facebook group when we want to share things just amongst each other.

Circle Fuel: We are in absolute agreement that a glass of wine during our meeting is a great, heart-healthy practice. If we’re going to be real, we have some genuine Oklahoma ladies in the house who love a cheap well-priced beer as well as a fancy cocktail. Add Miami and LA in the mix and our meetings are part Absolutely Fabulous, part Texts from Hillary, part Wikipedia, part Bossypants and of course, lots of Lean In references.

Favorite Circle Moment: Some of our favorite moments are when we get to bring guests into the circle, especially former colleagues. Because of the broad time difference we also sometimes have loved ones or kids making cameos on their way to bed via video chat. It’s really incredible to have a circle and an extended group of people who are generous enough to literally invite a group to hangout in their home. That said if we have to pick just one all-time favorite moment, it might be when we were all able to virtually witness one of our members getting engaged through a live video feed.

Favorite Quote of the Circle Session: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Why We Started a Circle: Why not start a circle? We knew geography was going to keep us physically apart but didn’t want it to define our communication and interaction with one another. We lean on one another for professional support, love-life advice and coaching and mentoring in everything from friendships, careers, to healthy lifestyles. This much support couldn’t be crammed into only phone calls and chain e-mails. We needed something bigger, something that we all could lead, build and contribute to.

Circle Tip: Don’t stop. There will always be days when it seems like everyone is “too busy,” but don’t let it deter you from settling on some time to connect. We are always so busy that we often forget how valuable these moments and hours really are. Remember to keep each other top of mind and make the circle happen! 

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