As a vice president of quality and customer experience, I love to analyze the root cause of an issue, build flowcharts, and trend data. Leveraging my love of quality, I built DIG on the premise that challenging our beliefs, thoughts, and assumptions opens our minds to explore and get closer to our truth. Then we can align our behavior with what is real instead of aligning with unchallenged assumptions.
With this flowchart in mind and the understanding that beliefs are just the thoughts you think most often, let’s explore DIG.
1. D = Discover. Ask yourself, What beliefs are leading me to this thought, reaction, or feeling?
Early in my career, I struggled with comparing myself to other women.
The stories I heard growing up about the cattiness of women, the TV shows, and the actual experiences that I had all supported the belief that women needed to compete with each other. On top of my youthful experiences and observations, I began dating my husband at age twenty, and we married a couple of years later. Because he is eleven years older than me, I valued his beliefs and experience. In those early years, his guidance helped shape my beliefs about how women should behave, including what we should or should not do. Recalling his words, I internally denounced my female colleagues for appearing to put work, after-work activities before their and family. I thought, those women must have their priorities confused.
DIG required me to question if I felt the same way and ask myself which of my beliefs led me to compare myself with her and regard her with contempt. What I discovered led to a reframing of the situation.
Let's take a woman who golfs with executives, partners, or customers; while traditionally being a male networking event, why couldn't a woman have the same experience? You can be a woman who likes golfing without trying to be “one of the guys.” Arranging for your partner to take the evening parenting shift so you can network and bond with your coworkers does not make you a bad wife or mom. I can celebrate her choices—or even make the same ones—instead of succumbing to the comparison/competition trap. Although golfing isn't my jam, I would absolutely drive the golf cart!
I intentionally decided to create my own thoughts and beliefs around this situation and change my behavior from self-righteous and judgmental to open and accepting.
2. I = Investigate. Ask yourself, Why do I feel this way?
To explore why I felt competitive or frustrated with other women, I had to ask that same question more than once to dig deep enough to find the answer. I discovered that it all came down to conditioning, environment, and other people’s lenses. I decided to listen to my gut and pay attention to my own experiences, using them to shape my beliefs.
I asked myself how I felt about women—their wardrobes, hobbies, hustle, and priorities, and I came to one general conclusion: I support them, period. I am here to celebrate and encourage women to be diverse, courageous, and honest thought leaders. All women have a right to be heard and respected, not just the “good girls.” The irony is that the “good girls” are often the women conditioned to stay small and quiet.
Think about the stories we would miss if all women complied with the “good girl” rule.
The girls and women who dare to listen to their aspirations, thoughts, and beliefs are changing our world despite being told what they “should” do. They have sacrificed broad acceptance of others to achieve acceptance of themselves.
What thoughts and aspirations do you have that, if you allowed yourself to believe in them, would move the needle for yourself and the women inspired by your courage?
3. G = Ground. Ask yourself, Does this reaction correlate to who I want to become?
My old reactions of judgment, internal comparison, and jealousy were not aligned with who I wanted to be. I wanted to be successful and have a happy family while also building a strong friend network, able to say no when it felt right and say yes to the things that lighted my soul on fire. I wanted to make room for myself in my life without feeling guilty.
To ground yourself, ask who you want to be in one year, three years, five years. Ask what it would take to get there, and then start thinking, acting, and living as if you were already that future version of yourself.
The future version of me is a fierce and fearless advocate for women, and in that version, there is no room for competition or jealousy with other women who are out in the world living their truths.
People live their lives as a result of the stories they believe about themselves—the stories they repeat in their heads and hearts. I believe we are doing the best we can with what we know and that we can grow and change as we learn more.
What areas of your life do you need to DIG in on?