By Sarah Cannata
When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness.’ Malcolm X
By the time you read this, I will have launched the first issue of my new digital magazine, This Woman Can. In many ways, the decision to pursue this path was taken out of my hands; my experiences, combined with the incredible people I’ve met and stories I have heard in the past year, made inaction impossible.
Last year was challenging to put it politely. A shiny new job opportunity turned out to be a nightmare. A few of my closest relationships fell apart in the aftermath. Before I knew it, I was running a professional writing business without much of an idea about how to actually run a business. I won’t lie. There were some dark moments … moments that led to soul-searching.
Joy is connection
In response, I read everything I could find that would convince me something better lay ahead. One night, I found myself up at 2am, online and reading. I came across a Huffington Post article by Carolyn Gregoire exploring a study conducted by a group of Harvard researchers
This was a moment of change for me. The Harvard Grant Study took place over 75 years and looked into those big life questions that people have pondered for years: how we grow and change, what we value as we grow older, and what are the key ingredients that make us happy and healthy.
Three little words caught my attention instantly: “Joy is connection.” These words came from George Vaillant, the Harvard psychiatrist who directed the Harvard Grant Study from 1972 to 2004.
Early in 2015, and again in 2016, I attended a Women in Leadership conference held by the International & Australian Motivational Speakers (IMCI). And as the co-founder of Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films, Genevieve Clay-Smith, spoke passionately about social inclusion for people with a disability, I was reminded that people and feeling connected are both integral to my feelings of success.
For me, one of the most crippling feelings is emotional disconnection. I’m convinced that many other women feel the same. Articles about shaping your eyebrows or dressing for success don’t do it for me. In fact, they heighten a sense of separation between women, I believe.
I wanted a magazine that tells stories about women out there doing incredible things each and every day. It’s out with the fluff and in with real stories about women and from women. My idea, simply put, is that This Woman Can allows women to help each other through the power of storytelling.
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Sarah Cannata is the founding editor of This Woman Can.