Dear loyal reader,
This is a a post where I’m hoping you’ll comment, because I want to hear from you. It’s about marketing tough information, and I’d love your thoughts.
Recently I met someone at a social function who asked what I did for a living. I’m one of those people that can spin this a variety of ways, given my spastic scope of work. On any given day I can truthfully call myself a writer, a CEO, a media pundit, a speaker, an entrepreneur, a social change activist, an author, a self-defense instructor. Many of us fall into this “jack of all trades” camp, and sometimes it can give us an identity crisis…and possibly even cloak our true value.
If you are an entrepreneur, you might also find the same thing about your work. At Girls Fight Back, we have carved a solid reputation on teaching women to defend themselves. But does that mean at cocktail parties I have to tell people I teach others to fight for a living? Or is it bigger than that? Maybe I’m too deep into this company, but I think we offer more than instructions for an effective elbow strike. It’s not about the fighting…it’s about teaching women to lead bad-ass lives.
Living without fear can only happen once someone knows they don’t have to rely on others to come to their rescue. At the end of the day, there is tremendous power in knowing you don’t have to wait for your daddy or boyfriend or brother to save you…because YOU can save YOURSELF. All of a sudden, those big opportunities like taking a big job in a new city or moving halfway across the world don’t seem so terrifying anymore. I believe this has been a critical, yet missing piece, of the women’s empowerment movement. After all, when you ask most women circumstances when they feel most afraid, it tends to be in everyday situations like walking in parking lots, taking a shower while home alone and other isolated circumstances where others aren’t around.
Is it the situations we fear, or the simple fact that we don’t believe we can handle these situations on our own?
The women’s self-defense industry is in dire need of a makeover, and people’s initial impressions on this line of work are not typically accurate or celebrated. When I tell people what I do for a living, questions start about martial arts (and I’m not a martial artist, just a street fighter) and horrific stories of raped and murdered loved ones are shared. I don’t mind discussing either topic, but here’s a trend: I tell people I teach self-defense. They connect that to Bruce Lee movies. Then they want to share stories about people who have been victimized. Are you seeing the pattern? People jump from Hollywood to real-life horror story, and usually a conversation circles around in this way for quite some time. Where is the girl power? Where are the options? Where is the empowerment? Where is the happy ending? Nowhere.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to change this conversation.
I’m excited to be working with a stellar graphic and communications company to help give Girls Fight Back a facelift, and get more honest with ourselves and the public about what offer. I like to believe we provide the chance to reclaim one’s feeling of safety and security in the world, so females never make choices stemming from fear. If women weren’t fundamentally scared of living alone, sleeping alone, taking risks or even trusting themselves…imagine the progress!
So what I’d like to know from you is this…how can we better market these messages of women’s empowerment? How can we make teaching this kind of life-saving material more like swimming lessons? If you think about it, kids are enrolled in swimming lessons to prevent death by drowning – scary outcome, right? But learning the content is fun, and the kids score awesome floaties and swim trunks! How can we teach self-defense with that same upbeat energy, and help people avoid such unwanted outcomes as rape, assault or murder?
There is too much at stake, to put off this conversation any longer. For the sake of women and girls everywhere…it’s time to innovate.