Women my age, relatives and college classmates, seemed to hear wedding bells, visualized a white gown and veil and anticipated a lovely church ceremony. Not me! The closest I came to those wedding bells was as a bridesmaid four or five times! The bridesmaid’s gowns of pastel, sherbet like colors, unable to be worn for any other occasion, hung in one of my mother’s closets for years. I promptly disposed of them when she died.
My mother always prayed I would catch the bride’s bouquet of flowers at a relative or family friend’s wedding and there were many opportunities. This is a tradition which signifies if you caught the bouquet you were next to get married. I failed that expectation! I never caught anything but humiliation that all 200 wedding guests knew I would not be walking down the aisle anytime soon. My parents were very proud of my professional achievements but accepted that with my personality and career focus I was not likely to marry.
I always felt there was something wrong with me that I just did not have this traditional life style as a goal. I tried hard to want the children, the home and the husband but I did not feel an emotional connection. It wasn’t worth my time or energy. I just wanted to change the world and achieve economic independence.
Juggling careers, family achievements, and eating pizza for breakfast after a night of partying until 2 a.m. is more than acceptable among millennials, single or not. We use apps to find dates, judge people based off how many likes they have on their Instagram and communicate through filters and hashtags. Despite the sometimes-negative outlook on our use of social media; it is our way of building relationships. Relationships for us have a very different meaning than they did in the past and influence the way we interact with one another and in society.
One of my biggest strengths is my ability to build relationships. I have found through effective communication and my confidence in starting a conversation has paved the way for me to learn and engage more in the community. There is a misconception of Millennials that because we communicate so frequently via social media, we do not know how to communicate face-to-face.
I believe the skills Millennials have however, are much stronger in the relationship-building sphere then understood. We live in a world where networking and connecting is a driving force to our existence. The approach might be different, but we understand and appreciate the need for growing relationships. All of our social media networks revolve around building connections and your
The foundational skill of courage-building is the willingness and ability to rumble with vulnerability.” – Brené Brown, “Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts”
For each of these leadership topics we’ve shared our own individual experiences as a baby boomer and a millennial, shared some of the questions we are often asked and seek to answer in our work, and some related resources for women who want to explore further on their own.
“Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World,” Joanna Coles
“Unfinished Business,” Anne-Marie Slaughter
“Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Sheryl Sandberg
“Becoming,” Michelle Obama
“No One Tells You This: A Memoir,” Glynnis MacNicol
I am a big fan of millennials and Gen Z. They want leaders they can trust” – Admiral William H. McRaven