My first women’s circle of the year happened this week and only 40% of the members showed up. This in itself is not a problem as we have an agreement that attendance should not feel like an obligation. The tricky part is that the women who do show up are doing the work and those absent, miss out on the connection, vulnerability, self-accountability and personal empowerment.

I have noticed in my nearly 20 years of volunteering for various schools and organisations that criticism and complaints come from the people sitting on the sidelines not the ones showing up and being intimately involved in the activities undertaken to achieve a mission.

This speaks perfectly to Brene Brown’s philosophy of “If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Her philosophy was born out of Theodore’s Roosevelt’s quote:- “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

We are all invited to step into the arena and show up. Show up for ourselves and for those we care for.

It is only when we show up that we find success, community, love or healing. And this showing up is despite feeling uncomfortable, despite being bothered by our monkey mind around perceived expectations or fear of disappointment.

To help understand how you are currently showing up, here are some helpful questions:

  • Are you showing up in your life?
    • If you are showing up, are you showing up fully and completely and how is it serving you?
    • If you aren’t showing up, at what point are you going to show up for yourself or for those who are important to you?
  • What is the impact of not showing up on your life?
    • What is preventing you from showing up?
    • What would you gain if you showed up fully?
Over the past eleven years of being involved in women’s empowerment work I hear the repeated longing for community. I hear a deep desire for a sense of belonging and a need for a place to be seen and heard. Women For Afrika (WFA) has this on offer but to quote Stephen Hawking “half the battle is just showing up.” Showing up, both literally and metaphorically, points us toward the promise of our communal vitality and the free well-being we all desire.

As the new chairperson of Women For Afrika starting a new year with a strong Leadership Circle and powerful Board, I know, love and acknowledge this group of women who show up for the community and for themselves.

I’m so excited about what the next two years hold and my invitation is for the full WFA community to show up.

* If you haven’t sat in circle for a while, come join our monthly open circles,
* if you have strong opinions of how you think Woman Within should change, join in the conversation and
* if you’re missing vulnerability, connection and generosity of spirit, join the group of women who are working together to bring the next weekend to Cape Town and Johannesburg this year.

We’d love to hear from you. What do you need from us in order to show up?

  • What do want from our community this year?
  • How are you going to show up for the community in 2022?
  • How can we collaborate in making things better, faster, more impactful?
  • How can we show up for each other?

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Here’s hoping that this year is full of Ease, Evolution and Elevation and I am aware that progress is the result of conscious thought, decision, and action so I look forward to showing up with you.

“The tools we are taught on the Woman Within Weekend are continuously used to help us stay connected, supported and accountable, and provide us with strength, safety, and empowerment,” I continue to be amazed at the power of this work and this community.

Ingrid Lotze