Why I Started A Women's Empowerment Book Club At Work

To feel shame is, in my experience, to be fearful and anxious. Will I be good enough? Am I good enough?

Admittedly, being shameless is not something I have mastered. More often than not, I let my anxiety get the best of me and throw some serious shade at myself. Recently though, I am realizing that without talking about areas of real or perceived shame we will never truly be shameless.

Whether it’s your body image, your public speaking ability, your photography skills, even your parenting abilities, if you’re not talking about it unapologetically, you can’t truly become shameless in all that you are.

I stumbled on this quote from Sarah Silverman that honestly, and hysterically, sums up why I started a women’s empowerment book club at work: “Mother Teresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs, she had shit to do.”

Often, I grapple with self-doubt about my abilities - to lead, to succeed, to make an impact at work. To “earn” my seat at the table.

I was attending Ann Shoket’s Badass Babes dinner on the night before the Lady Project Summit when I realized something that I should have known all along: I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Sitting in a room full of women, many of which were my co-workers, we went around sharing what we’d hoped Ann could solve for us if she had a magic wand. And the resounding theme was clear: we all just wanted to be the best version of ourselves we could be.

Staring at my to-read list full of titles that promised me the world - confidence, leadership, power - and feeling like I was talking to a wall when reading passages aloud that nailed so perfectly how it feels to be a woman - I realized the shortest distance to being more shameless was to build a tribe.

I could “complain about my thighs” or do something about it.

So I reached out to a few women at work who I thought might be interested and something crazy happened. It was one of those “I thought it was just me!” moments that you don’t get to experience too often.

And now I have a book club at work. I was excited to find that everyone I asked had another book to add to the potential read list and a story to explain why they wanted to read it. We put it to a good old vote and started with The Confidence Code.

A group of women who want to read and discuss a book about how to be more confident and kick-ass at work? Sounds about right. We’re gearing up for our first discussion and I can’t wait to see just how shameless the entire conversation will feel.

I could complain about feeling inadequate at work or I could do something about it. Seems easy enough.