abby -carli -debbie clark photoPhoto credit – D.V. Clark

Interrupting your regularly scheduled cat fights, competition, sister wars, and broken friendships, is a refreshing and  heart warming example of true feminine friendship, camaraderie, and empowerment!!

On Sunday, as the Women’s World Cup came to a close,  Abby Wambach, one of the teams veterans and named captains, entered the game to roar of the crowd.  The game paused momentarily as Carly Lloyd, immediately removed her captain’s armband and put it on Wambach, as gesture of respect, friendship, and empowerment.

Surprised by Lloyds actions, the newscasters and cameras focused on this scene for a number of minutes, as well as repeatedly showing the replay.  Later, when the team went to accept the trophy, Wombach insisted that Christine Rampone wear the captain’s armband.  Rampone is one of the two teammates who played on the winning 1999 Women’s World Cup team, and is the captain whenever she takes the field.

Wombach (34) was most likely entering her final game for the National Team, and Rampone (40) is a veteran leader whose tenure is ending as well. Lloyd had scored a hat trick and was the most celebrated player of the match. Yet each woman was committed to highlighting and celebrating the other, instead of claiming the spotlight for themselves!

What an incredible example of female friendship and camaraderie!  My heart soared as I watched these interchanges.

Far too often women friendships are more often marked by jealousy, competition, and undermining.  I was delighted to witness these women cheer for each other and bolster each other’s position, image, and recognition, in the eyes of the fans and in the news! This unusual occurrence  caught the attention of many viewers and media outlets.

Women are often taught to compete with each other for the limelight, attention, and accolades, rather than partnership and collaboration.  And, sharing the top spot on the podium or even championing another woman’s gifts, talents and achievements, is sadly viewed as diminishing our own.

Growing up in a family of one of 4 girls, competition was the norm in our home.  Now I am a fan of healthy competition, and believe in winners and losers on the field and scoreboard. But, not in the game of life and friendship.

When it comes to talent and abilities, the mentality of “if you win, then I lose,” damages friendships, undermines camaraderie, and emphasizes insecurities.

  • Have you lived in this shadow of competition among women?
  • Have you felt the sting of jealousy for your achievements or talents from a friend, coworker or even sister?
  • Have you been the one who is envious and unable to cheer on or champion another women?

Sadly, I have to answer “yes” to all three of these questions, and on both sides, it is brutal.

We are created for connection and nothing destroys it like jealousy and competition.

Think about your girlfriends, female coworkers, or even sisters.  Is there a common theme of other centered celebration and promotion? OR Is there an undercurrent of envy and competition?

  • What if we didn’t buy into the scarcity mentality that another person’s talents, achievement, or light shining diminished ours, but instead viewed each others light, talents, and successes as adding to the pool of brilliance around us?
  • What if we began to cheer each other on… to say “Yay YOU!” to our sisters, girlfriends, and female coworkers?
  • What if we championed and highlighted one another?

Does doing so lessen our brilliance or diminish our talent? NO!

I think it actually highlights a grace and gratitude that makes both more brilliant! Carly Lloyd’s gesture acknowledged the contribution Abby Wambach has made to the game of soccer, and simultaneously underscored Lloyd’s generous heart.  Sure we noticed Abby’s talent, but we were enamored with Lloyd’s unexpected action.  Repeating the gratitude, Wambach celebrated Christine Rampone and our hearts were warmed again.

I  want to be this kind of woman, friend, coworker, sister…Not letting my envy or insecurity keep me from shining a huge spotlight on or celebrating the achievements, talents and brilliance of the women around me.

I want to have women in my life be willing to do the same for me, so we both feel secure enough, and encouraged to be our best self.

There are plenty of accolades, limelight, and praise for all of us so let’s start spreading it around!!

our deepest fear
  • Who champions and celebrates you?
  • Who do you need to cheer on and highlight more, instead of letting scarcity and envy keep you from applauding?
  • What can you do to shine brightly, confidently sharing your talents with others and thus giving others encouragement and maybe even permission to shine as well?
Photo credits: © Provided by USA Today Sports*AFP 542306627 S SOC CAN BR

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