Recently my best friend recommended a podcast to me called, “Call Your Girlfriend.” It is hosted by two millennial women who are close friends and live on opposite sides of the country. Their topics are engaging and hip, very conversational and their chemistry is fun. I enjoy listening from the vantage point of someone old enough to be their mother, kind of like eavesdropping on my daughter and her friends. Listening to the podcast also serves as a measure of just how far I’ve come in my own life. And, these women do offer some pearls of wisdom tucked among the chatter.
One such pearl is a concept they’ve not necessarily discovered but rather they have codified it and given it life. I’m talking about the notion they call, “Shine Theory.” They even have a website devoted to it, www.shinetheory.com. Shine Theory is the idea that by investing long term in relationships and being authentic in a friendship, you can help someone else achieve their goals and become their best self and they, in turn, can help you. Shine Theory is based on the premise that confidence is infectious and those that tear you down are exhibiting their own insecurities. There is no room for envy or rage in this type of friendship, only love, support and joy. I like it. In fact, I’ve been living it most of my life.
As I’ve written here many times, I am an optimist and a cheerleader. Those traits are not necessarily requirements to practice Shine Theory, but they do help. Of course, friendships go through ups and downs, but if you are focused on being there for others, and can keep your own ego in check, you can weather the tough times and even thrive and grow as a result. As I’ve gotten older and have experienced more of life’s experiences, I’ve come to really understand the concept that everything changes. I feel, on a deep level, that change is really the only certainty while we’re alive. But a real, honest friendship is one way to weather the changes.
When I moved to Nashville I was fortunate to be invited to join a women’s networking group. Over the 10 years since I joined the group, I’ve met some terrific women, all very accomplished, from all walks of life and professions. The purpose of our regular meetings is networking, but the by-product has been some amazing new friends and the realization that successful women need other successful women by their side. And frankly, all of these gals know that. They know that the world will try and knock us down and we’d better hold each other up, or we struggle alone.
I think it’s great that some younger women have become enlightened to the notion of banishing competitiveness and petty jealousies in service of honesty and authenticity in friendships. Whatever they’re calling it, it is the pathway to a better future for women and for all humans. Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I try to live that concept and I’m hopeful my daughter’s generation will do the same.