Source: Jenn Gietzen

A few weekends ago I went to a leadership conference. I had no idea what I was walking into. I figured there would be some interesting speakers and small group time to discuss what we heard. But I was wrong.

There were great speakers, yes. But the small group time was incredible. I was in a group of six other women who were vastly different from me with two facilitators. The concept of the small groups component was to dig into who we are and what we struggle with to find the power in difficulty. I was sure I was simply too different from the other women to share anything about myself. I was self conscious, and blown away by the stories these women told. They were so kind yet were lugging around lost relationships, broken families, difficult failures and closed opportunities. They were so strong and so brave. I thought they were absolutely beautiful.

Eventually, I did share. It felt so good. It brought down this wall that, if we are all honest with ourselves, we have all constructed. . . That has “My life is great and I don’t need help!” spray painted all over it. (In hot pink letters, no less.) I looked around the circle of women, our sweet little motely crew, and they gave me eyes full of compassion. I mean, how often does that happen with absolute strangers? Especially with women?

By the end of the weekend, we were high on encouragement and ready to change the world. But the best part was that we were ready to change the world by embracing what challenges us and what, at times, seems to defeat us; by agreeing that we are all messy and yet, at the same time, dynamic.

That is our power.

My struggles are different than Dorothy’s, whose are different then Megan’s, and so on. The hard things we’ve been through are as unique to us as our fingerprints. And we are meant to share them, and use our individual experiences to create a collective powerhouse.

Mindy Kaling is my. freaking. girl. I adore her for her witty wisdom and undeniable #GirlBoss attitude. Her funny quote, listed above, touches on what I am getting at here: we’re all a bit of a mess. But, we have the choice to channel our energies into something awesome and impactful for other people. Relate to someone. Open up to someone who looks up to you. Write a note to your coworker letting them know that you admire them and the work they do. We are made for relationships and genuine community.

Here’s to the phrase “you are a hot mess” being one of the nicest things you could say to a #GirlBoss.