Welcome to Brazen BFF

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Community, Health | 4 comments

I’ve been thinking about friendship. Community. The power of emotional support, psychological exploration, and above all – love. Not just the love we have for our partners in life, but the love we have for ourselves and our friends, especially our women friends.

In studies comparing how men vs. women deal with stress, it has been discovered that we, as women, have both the oxytocin hormone and female friendship to thank for our longer life spans and healthier methods of calming ourselves down. While men respond to stress with a fight-or-flight reaction that is exacerbated by their testosterone release, we women are fortunate to buffer that response by releasing oxytocin, which triggers a pro-social need to gather together and nurture one another. Wow.

I have witnessed many extremes when it comes to female relationships. I’ve worked in women-dominant businesses where women undermined and mistreated one another (I know I’m not alone!), and have seen and felt the toxic effects of that environment. More recently, though, I have benefited immensely from my female friendships. I can thank my friendships with women for helping me to define and create many of the changes that I have made to completely reinvent my adult professional life and career path, and my sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that has accompanied those changes.

I have wonderful best friends, most of them women. Those women include:
My sister, Coco, who has been a constant sidekick through many of my shenanigans and growth-opportunity moments… She inspires me daily with her hard work, determination, and patience.
Karen, who is as real as it gets, and amazes me with her brilliance, incredible work ethic, and ability to juggle it all with a hardcore sense of humor, acceptance, and grace.
Mandy – who is forever studying, examining, exploring, discussing, writing, and proclaiming. I love her passion for knowledge and her unflinching honesty.
Ashley – the woman I would want to have with me in a natural disaster or any anarchic Friday – her poised, deeply grounded, unflappable self confidence ignites in me a desire to achieve new levels of self-efficacy, and also to drink a beer and let stuff be.
Jenifer – the brazen-est of all, who shares her gifts freely, works for everything she wants with unwavering purpose and focus, and who has taught me through experience the power of collaboration and community in life and work. She challenges me to work better and live better. Thank you, my friend.

I have read that NOT having close friends can actually be detrimental to one’s health. While I am pro-singularity, living by oneself at some point in one’s life, and being one’s own best friend, I can admit that I have been fortunate to have always had at least a couple of BFF’s in every phase of my life. That is my style, really: I will always choose intimacy over superficiality, orgasm over flirting, honesty over polite small talk, and dinner over drinks. That’s just me. Those deep connections are essential to my well-being.

Most recently, those deep connections have been the vehicle for amazing things, incuding Brazen BFF. Several years ago, Jenifer and I, though working in completely different fields, recognized a connection in one another: we both wanted more. Though we were both working really hard and making a difference each day in our work and our personal lives, living our lives consciously and fully, we wanted to achieve more, own more, be more. We started meeting at a coffee shop once a week to discuss our talents and interests — what we thought we were contributing to the world, and to explore where we could go from there. We helped each other define new goals — and pushed each other (sometimes fiercely!) to meet them. These goals were always individual ones, pertaining to our own individual stuff: jobs, marriages, children, fitness, and finances. Often, at the moment when I walked out the door to head to my weekly coffee shop meeting, I would leave my home and husband in a state of chaos: dinner prep, kids arguing, homework explosions going off. I’d run to the car, forcing myself not to go back and calm everything, challenging myself to be allowed this time for me – without guilt.

It was hard, but it was worth it. By setting that intention and honoring it week after week, year after year, I eventually gained a BFF, a business partner, and a new day-to-day reality that I LOVE. I learned how to design & build websites, grew my garden from seed (despite my previously brown thumb), took up running, started playing the guitar. I left a job that had no potential for upward mobility, and started a business with Jenifer. I am not an expert at any of this, but I can say with absolute certainty that if it hadn’t been for friendship, intention, and action, I would still be stuck. So, as Jenifer and I are figuring this stuff out as we go along, and yet are moving upward and onward (despite our sometimes bumbling approach: you should have seen us on the day nearly a year ago when we had to face the reality that with business ownership comes the need for spreadsheets – yikes!), we decided we’d create a space for others to join us… and that space is Brazen BFF: a community of everyday experts coming together and sharing tools & tips to help each other get what we want out of work & life – delivered with the fun and ferocity of a trusted friend.

Brazen BFF, however, isn’t just about me, or Jenifer, or just our besties. I imagine they will all be present here in one way or another, but we’re simply a part of the equation. This is a forum that we want to see grow exponentially. We want to know YOU. To hear about YOUR experiences, YOUR insights, YOUR knowledge. It can be personal, professional, or both. Share as much or as little as you like. Tell us about YOUR friends, YOUR partnerships, YOUR work, YOUR goals, YOUR life. As of this posting, our only rule is that we don’t tear each other down; we are here to challenge and support one another. We welcome diverse perspectives and experiences: Brazen BFF does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status, so send us some love. Here’s to friendship, oxytocin, and taking action! Here’s to the journey!

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P.O. Box 6184 Norfolk, VA 23508

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