Sometimes you come across something – an article, a person, an idea, a place – and you have no idea how important it will be to you later. Something influential could be around every corner – you never know! At the time, it’s just another thing. But in hindsight, you can see the impact that thing had on your life. This is about one of those things.
In 2011, I had no plans to start my own company. I was in college and focused on writing a thesis, swing dancing, and generally being in denial about impending Real Adulthood. It was around that time that I started reading Get Bullish.
Get Bullish was a career and life advice column authored by Jennifer Dziura, and published on The Grindstone and The Gloss. The topics Jen covered ranged from salary negotiation to break ups to spending free time enjoyably. The thread through these topics was this: practical, direct, actionable ideas and zero bullshit. And critically, an emphasis on how to use social privilege to make [insert what you care about here] better.
Four years later, I did start my own company. I had no plan, but I did have determination (with a dose of desperation), not much to lose, and Get Bullish.
Since it started as an advice column, Get Bullish has grown into a powerful community with multiple entry points. There are physical products touting feminist values, educational products for productivity and planning, a membership society, a conference, not to mention tons (and tons) of free articles full of no-nonsense good ideas. Get Bullish will help you run a business, build and navigate a career, self-advocate, and ask for what you want. But equally, if not more importantly, it will connect you with people. People whose values align with yours. People who will challenge you and call you out and push your comfort zones. Such connections are worth more than words can express – but the inimitable Brené Brown does a good job: “by the time you’re a social worker for ten years, what you realize is that connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about.”
The best thing you can do for yourself, your career, and your life is to join communities. Click To Tweet Whether that’s your neighborhood civic association, local Chamber of Commerce, or a powerhouse like Get Bullish, do yourself a huge favor by seeking out groups and becoming a part of them. Here are concrete examples of how the Get Bullish community changed my life:
Get Bullish: the People
- Friends: I reached out to the Get Bullish Facebook group to connect with other local readers. We met up at Busboys & Poets. A few years later, these women have become close friends with whom I talk weekly (Sarah Dale, I’m looking at you!).
- Clients: after meeting at BullCon15, the aforementioned friend hired me to run her communications. She introduced me to her husband, and I built an Instagram following for his company. She introduced me to her friend, Lisa Lewis, another Get Bullish reader who has become a good friend and recently referred me two prospective clothing clients, Maia Moda and Cotton Canary.
- Strategic partners: Lauren Orsini, a Bullish WordPress developer, has become an invaluable consultant for my own learning and for referring clients who need website support.
- Expert advice: during a vulnerable point in my career, I wrote to Jen and received a quick response with thoughtful, understanding, and practical suggestions. Thank you, Jen!
- Community advice: the Facebook group and Society provide forums to ask questions, vet ideas, and get feedback. I am thankful to the many women who comment back when I ask a question or solicit advice.
- Connections: the thought leaders and inspiring women I have met through Get Bullish is a list that keeps growing – Laura Vanderkam, Jen Ashley Wright, Tonya Rapley, Jasmine Smith, Carrie Goldberg, and more.
Get Bullish: the Resources
- My favorite podcast: Jen was interviewed by Sarah Starrs on her podcast, The Girl Gang Conversations. The podcast has since become one of the few I look forward to and listen to regularly. (Sarah and I have also connected via email and Skype, which is cool.)
- Templates: I have visited Jen’s 6 Important Business Email Templates again and again, and have adapted some for my own use.
- Language: from Bullish: Seven Sentences To Boost Your Career (and Life) to Bullish Life: How to Communicate with Chutzpah, Get Bullish has made me a more effective and confident communicator.
- Pitching: the Get Bullish Society did a 30 day pitching challenge last fall. It formed the basis of the pitch I write to sustainable clothing brands, and gave me resources and confidence to make the ask.
Value that can’t be measured
The resources and people I’ve connected with through Get Bullish have a tangible impact on my life. But the actual value of those friendships and connections is hard to measure. Another less tangible, but no less critical, impact of Get Bullish is confidence. The confidence to ask for what you want. The confidence that you’re worth being paid well. The confidence that you can create and learn pretty much anything.
Get Bullish has broadened my professional, social, and mental horizons. It’s hard to do what you can’t imagine, or you haven’t seen others do before you. Being a part of Get Bullish exposes you to binders full of women doing unapologetic, game-changing activities from morning until night. The best thing you can do for your business and life is to join such a community. It will change you. For the greater.
A couple of Jen’s articles that I revisit again and again:
“The only thing that is actually literally essential to having a business is that someone pays you money for something. If you’re feeling a little intimidated by the process of starting a business, it’s nice to just focus on one thing. Figure out something that people want to pay for, right now, without you having to pull metaphorical teeth. Then do or make the thing and get the money. Use the money for the other stuff, as needed.” – The Best Business Strategy Is the One That Makes You Money
“Let me be clear: there are some men who are pretty good feminists who don’t really call themselves that. There are some men who call themselves feminists only because they like women having the individual liberty to have sex with them. I’m talking about—if you’re into men—only getting together with men who 1) recognize structural oppression of all kinds, and 2) believe in actively dismantling it…. Getting together with a “nice guy” is not good enough. I’m deadly serious.”- Secrets of a #Bossbitch: On Parenthood, Marriage, and Leaning In
“If you are my work-friend, and then you try to dick me over in a negotiation “just to see if you can,” or “because that’s how the game is played,” here is what will happen. I will continue to be polite to you, because I am a professional…. And I will never, ever forget that you were friendly to my face and then tried to get me to do a job for less than I’m worth, or tried to get me to do your work for you.” – Bullish: What Men Need to Know About Negotiating With Women
Has Get Bullish impacted your life? What communities are you a part of that have? Share in the comments!
(photo taken at BullCon15)