Or, the way that I read the book: Strong Men Stand with Women
The first time I saw Molly Galbraith speak was at a fitness conference. At the time, most of the speakers in the industry were men, and most of the resources for trainers were by men and for men. Molly was well-known for Girls Gone Strong, and being a pioneer and leader in the creation of resources for women in fitness. At that conference, she was doing a talk on how to be a better coach for women.
It was a packed house. The room was full of dudes who recognized that most of their clients were women, and they wanted to know how to show up better for those clients. In an industry that can often be kind of “bro,” I was super inspired to see a room so full of men who wanted to learn.
I know that the majority of people reading this blog are women, so I wanted to highlight this book for that group of my readers. I also I want to write about what it was like for me, as a guy, to read this book. Here is a quick rundown of the contents:
- How Lifting Women up Change My Life
- Laying the Foundation: Principles of Lifting Women Up
- Disrupting Scarcity Mindset
- Overcoming Comparison and Jealousy
- Living True to Yourself
- Better Together
- Taking Small, Daily Action
- Your Voice Matters
- Using Your Superpowers for Good
- Becoming a Role Model and Making a Lasting Difference
In a way, it kinda of has two main thrusts: One is developing yourself, the other is lifting up other women. The developing yourself part is about the inner work that could be almost like a prerequisite. Dealing with the societal programming about scarcity of opportunity and competition among women that can get in the way of lifting other women up. There are amazing sections on clarifying personal values, noticing and checking yourself on thoughts, setting healthy boundaries, dealing with mistakes, dealing with jealousy, and how to connect what matters to you with your personal resources, so that you can create your own plan on how to make a difference. Then, there are examples and lists of clear action steps to take, right now.
Reviewing a book that’s for women on how to lift up women, as a man, is kinda weird. But, I think back to that room full of guys who wanted to learn, and it’s a really smart read if you’re that kind of guy. That workshop was presented for men, to work with women, and this book is not. But, if you’re willing to put in a little effort to translate this book into how it applies to you and what you can use, there’s a lot here. There’s also a lot you could look at as just great perspective on what it’s like for women in the world right now. If you’re a man who cares about standing with women, this is an important read.
Molly’s writing is a beautiful mix of stories, statistics, and action steps. You’ll get tons of really specific ways to make a difference for women. Sometimes that’s in the workbook at the end of the chapter, sometimes you’ll get that from the frameworks provided in the chapter, and other times you’ll get that from the stories and examples that bring the whole thing to life.
Men might start with chapters 2 and 7-9, jumping right into how to amplify women we work with, set women up to succeed in environments that are often set up for them to fail, and support women owned businesses. The whole book is great, but if you want to jump right into, “How, as a dude, can I make a difference?” that’s where to go first.
Some things that I pulled out that are totally doable things:
- Amplifying women in meetings. Noticing the tendency for women’s ideas to be either disregarded, or mysteriously absorbed into men’s ideas. Making sure that I notice when either of those things are happening, and put in, “Thanks for circling back to Jessica’s idea there,” or “I really wanted to hear more about what Elizabeth had to say about that.” Some places I’ve worked, it’s painful how necessary this was.
- I recommend women for leadership roles on projects.
- When a woman makes an important contribution to a project or in her job, and it isn’t recognized by higher ups, I let them know.
- Using my platform (humble as it may be) to boost women who experts. I’m on podcasts a lot, and the hosts often ask me who else they should have on. I recommend a lot of really brilliant women to be guests on podcasts, who aren’t like the “known” podcast circuit people. I’ve done the same thing speaking at conferences.
- When I find amazing products, programs, and resources created by women, I recommend them to friends and I post about them on social media.
- I buy from woman owned businesses.
- I look for women who are experts in things that I want to learn about. I keep finding experts who are doing wonderful things, who I had just never heard about.
Those are all things that I can do all of the time. And, those are just my examples. Reading the book, you’ll be able to find your own places to stand with women.
In the second chapter, she talks about how what you’ll get out of the book is learning how to use your own unique values and resources to create more opportunity for women. That’s something that men have to take responsibility for and take an active role in, every day. We can take small steps in our day to day lives and especially in our careers. I think Molly’s book could dramatically change workplace dynamics and women’s career trajectories.
I was really stoked that Molly sent me a digital copy of the book early. I wanted to write about what it was like for me, as a guy, to read this about how to stand with women. But also, I just have to say that the earlier parts of the book having amazing sections on personal values, setting healthy boundaries, and falling into the comparison trap, that I found personally relevant. There are parts of those chapters that would be useful for anyone. In fact, there was a part about handling mistakes that I’d read, serendipitously, right after I’d made a big mistake, and it was tremendously useful. I’ve recommended it to friends specifically for those parts.
Guys should read this book for the impact it can make on how you stand with women and help create opportunities for women, where there is currently a lot of inequality. That being said, I think everyone reading this will get a lot out of it for themselves, as well. Also, the stories and anecdotes made it a really compelling read.
Strong Women Lift Each Other Up, by Molly Galbraith, comes out March 9th.