This week I was lucky to get out of my normal work day for a couple hours and attend Music Row’s Rising Women on the Row Awards. It’s an annual event that has been going on for the last several years in which a handful of female professionals are honored by the online magazine while the rest of us get to sit and eat breakfast and find inspiration in their journeys. In a male-dominated industry (especially when it comes to country music), there are a number of efforts out there to promote women in the workplace, which completely aligns with everything else that’s been going on in our nation’s culture. I’d nearly forgotten about how empowered this event made me feel the first time around, but wouldn’t you know I was lifted up once again this year in a much different kind of way.
Some people complained about how the honorees talked too long and cut into our day, but I couldn’t have enjoyed it more – I could’ve enjoyed the respite for hours longer! And maybe that means I’m not a good professional…to be a rising woman you have to want to work, right? But I don’t think there’s any harm in taking a break to surround yourself with good vibes – especially when there are far too few in the confines of the office.
The honorees included a load of female entrepreneurs in artist management, business management, publishing and promotion – from Luke Bryan’s manager, who has found her work-life balance as a wife, mother and manager of an arena level star, to a powerful self-proclaimed lady gangster who financially manages an array of stars between Nashville and LA. The latter was the kind of woman you can’t help but fear, but respect all the same. She knows her shit and her shoes, and she ain’t afraid to tell you about it. These ladies have passion, they have personality, they have talent and they have wisdom. They know branding and they’re willing to take risks – on their clients, on their businesses, and on their strategies. They have the life that I want….at least in some capacity.
The sad truth is, it’s hard being a #ladyboss, and a good one at that. Because being a strong role model and business woman means more than looking out for yourself – it means taking the necessary steps to grow that culture that you’ve created for yourself. There’s a very fine line between truly believing in your employees and other women and just putting on a good face for an event. And I want to believe that because these women were honored by their community, they’re the real deal. But I looked around that room and saw an astonishing contrast. There are a good number of people out there, men and women, who are looking out for themselves – their pocketbooks, their status, and their well-being. They put up the money and the face for that event in the hopes that they, too, will be honored one day. But they’re not really making any difference – not when it comes to the things that matter.
Of course, you have to be strong to build up a dream. But I don’t believe you have to be ruthless or self-centered. And just because you make it to the top doesn’t mean you should give up and just protect yourself. You have to nurture your employees along with the future of your business. You have to be more than a social butterfly – you have to be a role model and a mentor from the heart. There are certain people that make it hard for me to believe that they possess those qualities. And all I can say is, even if I’m not in a position of power right now, I want to be one of the good gals, even if only on the smallest of scales.
The ladies I heard speak today – they are the ones I look up to.
I idolize their mentality – not their status.
Because like them, Nashville has always been my dream. But dreams can change. And of course Music City is my home and I can’t imagine living in the vicinity of any other place, but lately I’ve found myself hitting the Re-Navigate button on my personal path. I will always love music – especially country music – but there’s so much one can do outside of the music industry and outside of the capitol city. And maybe my strengths will be better realized elsewhere. Many of them aren’t where they thought they’d be today…maybe I’m just moving in the opposite direction.
The principles these women laid down are applicable to any desired life and lifestyle – we must discover our purpose and plunge in full-force, holding our hats atop our heads as we speed forward in a reckless convertible. But above all, we must also do what makes us happy. And for me, I know that happiness doesn’t equal taking your work home with you everyday.
It’s not that I’m lazy – it’s just that I know I place value in balance. And it’s absolutely fine that they’ve worked so hard to get where they are today – they are some mother-effin badass women. It’s just that I don’t know if I’ll ever have what it takes to stand in their shoes. In fact, I don’t know that I crave that lifestyle so much as I once did.
All in all, the morning served as some genuine inspiration, for whatever path I choose. I don’t need the glory, but I want the people I care about to be proud of me. I want their support to be worth it. I want to lead a fulfilling life. And I want my kids to one day look up to me, and see that dreams can be real. Because I want to believe that they are, too.
until next time,
~~ h ~~