Last week I had the opportunity to close out an inspirational day at the first annual S.O.A.R. (Seize Opportunity And Rise) conference for women. Every speaker shared their story of overcoming adversity, facing fear head-on, and striving to live life following their passions. When it was my turn to get on stage, I felt like my message about challenging the status quo on women’s self-defense was going to seem out of place…
…and that’s exactly why I couldn’t wait to share my story.
I had three key points I wanted them to walk away with; how carrying themselves with confidence, communicating effectively and using mental preparedness, plays a crucial role in their safety. Those three points are synonymous with the message of most leadership development seminars. We talk about these topics when it comes to career success all the time. What women haven’t been told is that these are the same skills they can use to stay safe.
Carrying Yourself With Confidence
How you walk into a room or around a conference expo floor can have a great impact on the impression you give potential clients or future business partners.
To be an effective leader or team member, you need to be able to communicate with clarity. Whether it’s advocating for a promotion or why your solution to a challenge is the way to go, you have to be able to clearly explain why you think your solution is the best choice.
When you discover a problem at work, you mentally visualize how the different solutions will play out. Being able to utilize this skill can help you avoid options that aren’t the most viable.
You’ve probably experienced these exact scenarios or something very similar over and over again and at every level of your career.
Look At Those Skills Differently
Let’s change out some of the words to make them apply to self-defense.
Confidence On The Street
How you walk down the street or around a store can have a great impact on the impression you give an attacker looking for their next victim.
To create and maintain healthy boundaries with others, you need to be able to communicate your boundaries with clarity. Whether it’s letting a stranger know they are making you uncomfortable or telling someone you know their behavior is unacceptable. You have to know what your personal boundaries are and clearly explain they need to respect those boundaries, or you will leave.
When you read a story about a woman being attacked, you shudder and wonder what you would do if you were ever in a similar situation. Hopefully, you literally put yourself in that situation and visualize what you would say and do. Or you picture yourself fighting back against the attacker with everything you’ve got.
Notice that none of these scenarios involved a specific martial art or weapon.
Does having experience in the martial arts or handling of weapons help you in a physical confrontation with an attacker?
Do you need to start with learning those skills in order to keep yourself safe?
Start A New Conversation
In my opinion, the conversation on women’s self-defense has started with the wrong topics. When most people hear “self-defense”, they think of physically fighting. How to kick, how to hit, and how to do a mean karate chop. Being able to physically defend yourself is a critical life-skill, but what about learning to spot a potentially dangerous situation BEFORE it happens? Isn’t that just as important-if not more important to learn?
“Success isn’t about the end result, it’s about what you learn along the way.”