Last night I attended the 1st for Women launch of their new campaign #weputyoufirst. It was a brilliant event. Not because I’m being paid as an influencer on this campaign (shoo! Let’s just get that out of the way first), nor was it because of the intimate and exquisite venue or the fabulous decor and scrumptious catering. It wasn’t due to the carefully selected guestlist which included moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and other inspirational women or the ingenious idea of having two of SA’s top makeup artists and one of the country’s best photographers on hand to touch up and then capture each and every guest’s beautiful visage. No. Last night’s launch was brilliant because it made me think. And that was very refreshing. It made me reflect upon my life, the people who have gotten me to where I am today and the type of woman I have become. The 1st for Women #weputyoufirst launch was brilliant because it engaged me in a way that very few launches have managed to do so in the past: mentally and emotionally. Last night wasn’t about telling me why I should take out a policy with them instead it was about sharing who they are as a brand and what they do to empower the lives of women in South Africa and in doing so, they sold me on why I should perhaps hand them a portion of my hard earned cash every month.
In preparing for this campaign, 1st for Women conducted a social experiment and they asked women some depth-charge questions surrounding the subject of success and achievement and it turns out that when asked “why are you or your daughter/sister/friend/etc doing so well?” most women will attribute their success to external factors. Conversely, when asked the same line of questioning, men tend to respond based on their own assessment of their personal characteristics, “I’m a hard worker… I’ve made the best of every opportunity…I’m well suited for this type of work… I studied my butt off”. In a nutshell, women find it hard to put themselves first, they have a tendency to put others first (and that’s probably why the world is still a liveable place and why we still have hope for the future of humanity) and because of this, 1st for Women is saying #weputyoufirst.
Now the cynic in me (and yes, in you too) thinks of course they should! It’s in their best interest to put us first. But the reality is that nowadays it feels as though very few business really stay true to their company philosophy, their value system, their raison d’être. It all economics and no emotion. A customer is first but only in the vision statement.
People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe. Simon Sinek
Thought leader Simon Sinek says that profit is a result and what our world needs is more inspired organisations and last night I saw that description in action. The entire event showed me that 1st for Women really is the type of organisation that tries to preach what they currently practice not the type that tries to practice what they’re preaching to us via TV ads, print and social media communication.
In 2005 the 1st for Women Foundation was established with one objective: to uplift and empower the women of South Africa. To date, the Foundation has donated over R40 million to a number of women-related charity organisations that focus on two main causes: gender-based violence and cervical cancer.
Again, we all know there is a legal imperative for their business to do this but at least there is a sense of authenticity and strong synergy with their business model and CSI initiatives. They are putting women and women’s initiatives first.
Earlier this week I read an interesting article that millennials (those of us born between 1980-2000) are the most anxious generation to date. Our perception of life and its requirements place more weight on our shoulders than any modern generation before us. War, discrimination, sickness and disease ravaged the world before us without the help of the technology, legislation and media channels we have today yet worry is our greatest burden. According to the article “millennials have anxieties that other people have it together, and they don’t”, in other words we’re stressed out because we feel that we should be more, have more, be doing more and I can TOTALLY relate to this! The stress of trying to be the next super-entrepreneur under 40 can be debilitating. But last night 1st for Women’s marketing manager, Casey Rousseau, made a profound statement in her speech about the campaign. In fact it was three simple words that when strung together deliver a life-changing impact: You Are Enough.
I realised that if I truly learn to understand this statement, if I let it marinade and sink into my consciousness and every fibre of my being, I can be discontent yet happy. I can be ambitious yet satisfied or dissatisfied with the status quo yet pleased in the understanding that at this moment, at this point in my life I AM ENOUGH. Hearing those three words last night, once again inspired confidence in me. It brought a sense of harmony and reminded me that everything I need to succeed in this life is wrapped up on the inside of me. It made me think of one of my favourite quotes by Dr Myles Munroe, a quote that funnily enough has been in the bio of my blog since I started blogging, a message that I have seemed to have forgotten in the last few months: “It’s not what you think you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not”, and YOU ARE ENOUGH.
I encourage you to check out the #weputyoufirst campaign for yourself and please do share your thoughts either here or on my social media pages. Watching the new TV ad made me wish my mom was there last night but she had a work appointment. While I believe I am enough the truth is, I am because she is and she is so much more than love, care and support. Without her strong work ethic, I wouldn’t have gotten an education. Without her wisdom, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate life’s anxieties. Without her tenacity, I wouldn’t have had a mom today. She overcame cervical cancer in her twenties and stage 3 colon cancer over three years ago. I am enough because she put me first.