Our monthly All Founders Need Therapy sessions are part of our initiative to help founders boost their mental health and morale.
This program engages founders in a small group forum where they can vent amongst themselves about problems only they can understand.
“We know it’s lonely at the top, so we host this event to show founders that they’re not alone.“~ Joey Womack, Founder and CEO of Goodie Nation
We were grateful to have had over 25 founders express their thoughts and feelings during our March 2022 All Founders Need Therapy session. Because it’s a private forum, we’ll keep the identities of the attendees anonymous.
Since March was Women’s History Month, the theme for this session was, “Working Women Wearing Many Hats.”
The group heard from 7 women who had the strength and courage to share their personal and professional pains with a level of raw vulnerability that sent chills down the spines of many of the attendees.
It was shocking to see how similar everyone’s experiences were and to watch as their stories converged on several topics including caregiving, responsibilities, and expectations.
By the end of the session; tears were shed, weights were lifted, and the realization that women put up with a lot was reached by the men on the call.
Here’s a deeper look into what was said in the session.
Building a company or running an organization is already a strenuous feat that can deplete someone of their energy.
But imagine growing a company while raising children. Many of the women spoke to the difficulty of being a mother and a founder – mentioning that the weight of caring for children, staff, and stakeholders can be suffocating.
In the same vein, there were several women who shared that they were caring for ill or elderly family members – with many of them caring for family members with dementia.
It was fascinating to hear the stories of how each woman ended up in the role of caregiver. Some chose the role while others had the role forced upon them.
Regardless of how they assumed the role of caregiver, they all spoke of a need for help. Be it a village, a partner, a friend, or a family member; someone to help shoulder the weight of responsibility can be extremely helpful for those serving in a caregiving capacity.
It came as no surprise that all the women in the All Founders Need Therapy session are shouldering the weight of an overwhelming number of responsibilities, but it was alarming to hear that many of the women carry that weight in silence.
In addition to being caregivers, these women serve as leaders, bread winners, counselors, decision-makers, negotiators, advocates, and so much more – but in most cases, they never complain, ask for a hand, or demand a break.
As the women shared their stories, it became apparent that there was an expectation that these women had to assume these responsibilities.
Many of the women spoke to expectations and why they compel them to assume so much responsibility with very little credit or reward. “We do all of these things because we don’t want people to be disappointed in us,” said one of the founders.
The women shared that the expectations took on many shapes and that they were upheld by society, friends and family, colleagues, and the women themselves.
The women were bound to expectations like “the strong black woman narrative” or the role of housewife. They also battled to keep up with high and often unrealistic expectations people set for them and that they sometimes unconsciously set for themselves.
After hearing that expectations play a critical role in how much women are dealing with, it became apparent that we all need to reevaluate and even recalibrate the expectations we have for the women in our lives.
Here’s what some founders have said about All Founders Need Therapy:
“I’m supposed to be in a meeting, but I saw this therapy session. I knew I needed to be here on Zoom, sharing how I feel.”~ Anonymous Founder
“Spaces like this are necessary for founders — especially diverse founders. We deal with A LOT.”
~ Anonymous Founder
“This is one of the most powerful events that I’ve been in. And the stories that you all have shared are so similar that it’s scary.””~ Anonymous Founder
“It’s been a very difficult year for me personally, so this has been extremely helpful.”~ Anonymous Founder
“Not gonna lie, I didn’t want to come to this and talk, but having this platform to share has been truly helpful. ”~ Anonymous Founder
“I’m so glad Goodie Nation has started this.”~ Anonymous Founder
LOOKOUT FOR OUR NEXT RECAP!
Be on the lookout for a recap from that session! If you missed our last All Founders Need Therapy recap, click here to check it out!