What’s one thing you're really proud of and wish every girl could experience too?
My name is Jone Bosworth and that is one of the questions I asked women in 36 U.S. States for my upcoming book, The Flight Patterns of Superwomen. I’d love to hear your answer!
If you ask my family about my adventures as a working woman, they'd laugh and say, “Oh, Jone, she keeps learning and learning--no telling what she’ll be when she grows up.”
And they’re right. If growing up means an end to trying heaps of new things and learning from successes -- and especially failures, I'll never grow up.
In my jungle gym career, I've lived and worked on several continents wearing different professional hats: social worker, college instructor, diplomat, lawyer, government agency leader, and now consultant and executive coach. The connecting theme? “Make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”
That’s the simple legacy I intend to leave. It fills me with joy to discover and develop strengths – my own and others – unlocking the promise we all have to make a meaningful difference.
Last fall, American women inspired me to add “author” to the stops on my professional journey.
The Flight Patterns of Superwomen is based on interviews with America’s majority: Women. They do make up the majority of the U.S. -- and the world’s -- population. That simple fact fascinates me. Since the 2008 economic crash, I've become deeply curious about how Main Street women -- a catchphrase for the average American – experience their lives.
I interviewed dozens of women, aged 29 to 79, who are this nation’s backbone, the glue that keeps the country together. These do-it-all Superwomen recognize their importance. And they told me what they care about, what they’re proud of, and what they want transformed in America.
The women I interviewed want an end to the vitriolic dialogue that’s taken hold in this country. They yearn for greater tolerance of our differences. They are gravely concerned that the gains women have made in the past half-century are being stripped away, as evidenced by the diminishment of their reproductive rights and the ever-quickening spiral that pulls women into poverty.
We are the majority. We could wield our tremendous collective power as consumers, voters, workers and caregivers to shape and lead a national transformation. What’s stopping us?
The Flight Patterns of Superwomen will, I hope, give voice to that silent majority of women. I’m challenged but also honored by the task. It fits smoothly into my professional journey as the founder of inCourage Leading, a leadership development firm dedicated to advancing women and the organizations that recognize their value--that when women lead, positive results follow.
As a certified executive coach and organizational strategist, I’m inspired every day to embolden others to connect to their purpose and lead in ways that realizes meaning and produces results. And, one of my goals is that Flight Patterns helps women recognize, grasp and wield their power collectively.
It seems to me that women have the uniquely female gift of keeping the good of the entire human family front-and-center in their decision making – at home, at work, in communities and countries.
What would I tell young people starting their careers or their own businesses? Be courageous and let go of others’ definition of success – define it for yourself.
The one thing I wish I had done differently in my career thus far – have the courage to work less. For over a decade, I worked an average of 80 hours a week and looking back, there are many things I could have said “no” to. There were times I wasn't there for my family and friends because I didn't have the courage to say “no” to work.
Sometimes we don't even recognize our own courage, a thought echoed by two of my favorite quotes:
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” –Marianne Williamson.
Those concepts resounded in the responses I got to that initial question: What do you wish every girl could experience?
“I wish for girls to never, ever act out of fear,” said one North Carolina woman I interviewed. “I don't mean when a saber-tooth tiger is chasing you. Then, by all means, RUN! I mean emotionally letting fear stop you. I want girls to be able to acknowledge their fears and move on.”
The biggest obstacles in my career can be traced back to fear. Sometimes it was a fear of saying “no.” Or, because I do lots of public speaking, every time I get up to a podium I feel twinges of fear. Will I connect with the audience? More pragmatically, “what if I literally trip and fall on my face?”
One time, I actually did knock over a full glass of water, blanketing my notes so that they were unreadable. Not a saber-tooth tiger but definitely embarrassing. Sharing laughter about it with the audience authentically joined us together. It gave us space to connect in a way that we might not have otherwise.
Acknowledging fear and letting it go is a key to success. While my daily work routine varies considerably based on clients’ needs and making time to write, I often include looking in the mirror and saying, “I accept that I am afraid. Today, I let that fear go.”
If I could have just one wish granted, it would be that every girl and woman leads without letting fear stop her. What better way to soar in our one wild and precious life?
Founder & CEO
inCourage Leading, LLC