Empowering Your L.I.O.N.E.S.S. Pride

by Debra Trappen

This post is a piece of my heart and soul.  I originally wrote many of these thoughts out for a keynote I presented at the WomanUP!® Conference in 2018. Women’s Council of REALTORS® and WomanUP!® have been walking alongside one another, supporting and promoting the other’s events and opportunities to get involved - locally, regionally, and nationally - since 2017. 

(This is a long post, so you can pour your favorite beverage and snuggle in to read it or pop your earbuds in and listen to it here on my podcast (iPhone + Spotify).

I am excited to share thoughts on how you can intentionally review, design, and empower your divinely supportive community – or as I like to call it – Your Lioness Pride. You will also read/hear some truths on what to do when another woman doesn’t agree with you, isn’t in alignment with your values, or publicly gossips or humiliates others.

Put your seatbelt on for another moxie-filled message from me to you!

To get us started, here is a little about the lioness.

  • A group of lionesses is called a pride. (A group of male lions is called a “coalition”.)
  • Females in lioness prides are considered equals and they work together to create a community.
  • They don’t form mean girl, gossip cliques or spend more time with any 1 specific lioness in a larger pride.
  • They really get to know one another and when they meet, their lioness greeting ceremony (rubbing and low roaring that sounds like a purr) reaffirms their social ties.
  • They choose their pride members wisely. If a female shows a lack of confidence to meet and greet other lionesses, this sends a signal that it doesn’t belong in the pride and is treated as an intruder.
  • Lionesses know they can’t be everything to everyone.  So, the number of lionesses in a pride can be up to twenty. In other words – not every lioness is part of the same pride.

If you and I have crossed paths - either here on the site or at an event across the country - you know my passion and purpose is empowering women. My mission is to encourage them to define their best life and then empower them to boldly and bravely step into living that life out loud, on purpose, and on their own terms.

One thing that holds so many women back is the focus on and wreckage created when a woman doesn’t support another woman. I believe we need to overcome this before we can move confidently into our visions and voices… and I believe that starts with focusing on what matters, ditching the senseless hustle and waste of time of trying to get everyone on your side and living your life out loud and on purpose with your lioness pride.

We all know stories of women supporting one another.

We also all know stories of “that woman that didn’t support another woman”.

The problem is – the second set of stories is so much more provocative, that they tend to get all of the press and sadly, more of our mindspace.

Case in point.  I asked a powerful collection of women to share their stories with me.  

I received lots of short stories about women mentoring one another into their dream job or business, helping with young children having tantrums in public, late-night phone calls talking each other off the ledge, laughing and crying over wine, brushing each other’s hair when we are in the hospital, cooking meals and cleaning our homes when we couldn’t do it ourselves… when we need our friends – Our Pride -  they are there to support us.  

1000%. ALL IN.

Now, even though I did not ask for them – I also received a number of long stories of women vs. women. Stories of mentors being taken advantage of by their mentees, second wives horrible behavior against first wives, bosses not promoting them because they were jealous, women spreading lies about one another to get ahead at work, get a man at home, get-get-get. The one common thread in every single story was that the women who were in the “un-supporting role” were not women they knew well or at all, really. They were strangers or acquaintances. They were not part of their Lioness Pride.

~ It’s time for women to help raise each other up and stop feeding into toxic competition and comparison.
~It’s time for us all to stop shaming each other when we don’t agree with another woman or support her agenda.
~It’s time for us to take a more active role in our own Prides – and calling each other out in our sacred spaces. Because that is where we can make a difference for ALL women.  


If we can collectively choose to thrive with each other even when we don’t share the same values or ethics we can truly be the change we seek. Let’s ditch the gossip, shaming, and judgment, and embrace an inclusive, yet individualized sisterhood mantra.

Intentionally choosing our Lioness Pride is our responsibility so where do we start?  During the process of defining this – it became clear that in order to form a Lioness Pride – you must either know your own inner lioness or work on empowering her along the way.

So, let’s use the letters of L.I.O.N.E.S.S. as a guide to describe the luscious layers of a Lioness Pride and how to identify and empower yours!

L: Leverage and complement your messages/mission.

You have spent decades finding your voice, living your life out loud, crafting and sharing your messages, and vivaciously embracing your vision.  It is no small task to BE YOU. There is no reason you have to dim your light for or shine a light on someone else who does not honor your voice or vision - regardless of gender. Yes, I said it and I will state it with even more clarity: 

Women don’t need to SUPPORT each other purely because they are women. 

However, I deeply encourage us all to HONOR one another - even with those we disagree with or whose messages don’t resonate with ours. Recognize your differences, understand there are many who we will resonate with, and move on.

On the flip, when you find a woman who embraces you and whose message/vision/mission complements yours… someone who shares your quotes, promotes your books, attends your events, recommends your services, refers you business - whenever she can - you have found a lioness.

Rejoice in both findings.

I: In alignment with your values.

Over the years, I have asked many of you if you have defined your core values.  Hundreds of you downloaded my values exercise and I am guessing that many of you went through the process… defined your words… and started to allow them to guide your choices. 

Now, I want to inspire you to take the next step. Use your values to help guide who you truly, madly, deeply support. To help you find YOUR Lioness Pride.

You see, finding lionesses who align with and honor your values is something you are so worthy of, my sisters.  (I share lots of examples on the podcast.)

We need to allow each other to have our own values and make our own decisions. To live them out loud - without judgment from each other.

Be strong, Lionesses. 

Define what matters to you. 

Find your Lioness Pride and change your slice of the galaxy focused on what you value and make changes that represent them.  Stop wasting time trying to get other people to change their values.  

Shine your light and you will attract others who want to be part of the change you seek.  

O: Open to hearing the truth.

Small talk is for strangers while standing in line at the market or Disneyland. It isn’t for women of action who are on a mission.

In order for others to be open to hearing the truth, you must be willing to give it.  

In order to hear it - you must find your truth-tellers.

One of the best decisions I made in my consulting business branding was to use the phrase:

“I speak truth, wrapped in grace, with sides of sass, moxie, and fire.”  

My clients and my lionesses know they can count on me to talk about the tough stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t love or seek confrontation, but I love helping those I am meant to serve and do life with see clarity in their chaos.  

Some of our best growth comes from real talk from our soul sisters.   

Let’s embrace being real with each other.  If you can’t have hard conversations with your Lioness Pride about what it means to have a leader who admitted to groping women, not wanting to join a march in a pink hat, or if you should marry/divorce someone - you are not surrounded by the right women.  Sisters, you are not required to agree on every single thing that would be boring.  However, you must have a respectful space to work it out and call each other out.  If one of your lionesses starts down a path of gossip and propaganda about another woman - be bold and start a discussion. Help her find more constructive ways to work through it.  This is another reason having an inner Lioness Pride is so important.  It creates a sacred space for you to speak your truth, to challenge and be challenged… so you can learn and grow.

N: Network with Integrity (...in other words, no gossip!)

Grown women get caught gossiping about each other in the bathrooms and hallways at conferences, brazenly talking smack about another woman when they thought the Facebook Live feed was over, or sharing gossip to gain connection or leverage with someone in a place of authority - all the time. It devastates me every single time I hear one of these stories shared by a client. It has happened to us all and most of us never fully process the pain caused by these moments.

Ladies, I’m pretty confident that I speak for many if not all of us when I say I have never felt ashamed when I shut someone down for - or walked away from someone - gossiping but I have felt shame when I fell into the gossip talk. 

Your truest lionesses will remind you of your integrity and guide the conversation in a different direction.  The others will not. Choose wisely.

E: Empower and encourage you to be your bravest, best self.

Our self-talk is known to be wicked.  Studies tell us 80% of our daily thoughts are repetitive. Yes, 80% of what we say to ourselves is exactly the same - day after day - after day. Oh, and up to 90% of our self-talk can be negative

We know we need to get in the driver’s seat and build a daily habit of positive self-talk… we need to step into an abundance mindset for it to flow into our lives and businesses.

We know we need to work on this with affirmations and gratitude journals, but it isn’t always an easy road in every season - especially alone.

That is why we need our fellow lionesses to speak life into us, encourage us to stand tall, and empower us to be the brave badasses we are.  

Schedule a retreat with your pride. Write your custom affirmations and moxie memos together.  Dream together and vision cast your futures.  Then, remind each other of those dreams - and sing your songs back to each other.   

Just as the Lioness Pride comes together to protect their young - gather together to support your dreams.

S: Serve and strengthen each other.

This means stepping in and helping each other when we are missing a skill, need to expand our connections, when we are playing it small (again!), or are not charging what we are worth.

It is much easier to push someone else out of their comfort zone. That’s why it is so important to surround yourself with lionesses who help you build on your strengths and bridge the gaps you have… or at the very least tell you that you have them.

If one of the lionesses in your pride is putting herself out there and running for office, seeking a promotion, or ready to open her own brokerage - it is your responsibility to step up, speak up, and share your knowledge, connections, and experience.  If she is missing key elements you believe will make her successful - help her.  Talk with her. Do your best to help her strengthen her skill set, suggest the connections she needs, or gain the experience required through an opportunity!

If you do all you can to help her step up and into her greatness and she refuses - you are not required to vote for, recommend her, or support a decision. You spoke your truth and provided your vision, and served her as best you can. This goes back to the in alignment element we discussed above. However, please note - if this happens to you often - it is time to reassess your Pride. 

Regardless, you must honor her. Please please please - do not fall into gossiping about her.

S: Support you as you support them.

Once you decide to join a Lioness Pride - you have chosen to support them and they have chosen to support YOU.

For this reason, I encourage you to start your Lioness Pride small and mighty. Find those who want to go all-in with you.  

Those who want to support, promote, guide, and advise - through the laughter and tears… the coffee and wine… the hires and the fires… the wins and the losses. 

By the way - our Prides overlap in the human world. 

If you have a lioness in your pride who isn’t in alignment with the Lioness Pride guide - talk to her.  Remember letter O - open to TRUTH… and go for it. 

Support her by correcting her and making her better. 

YES. We are better TOGETHER.    

My Dearests,

When you are part of the right Lioness Pride – you share a common vision and understanding of who you are, where you want to go, and the change you want to be.  

Not everyone in your pride will do things the same, but if you stay focused on the BIG VISION and mission – you will move mountains together.

Let’s all agree today to thrive together…

Let’s stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or who they are supporting and be the change we seek while having the times of our lives together! 


Never before have we had such an unfiltered opportunity to stand up, speak out, and create ripples of change as we do right now.

Let’s start here.

Let’s move forward from here.  

Let’s grow strong – from here.

Let’s ROAR TOGETHER – starting HERE!

Who’s in? Reach out and let’s get connected!


About the Contributor

Debra Trappen serves truth, wrapped in grace, with sides of sass, moxie, and fire. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, empowerment consultant, educator, and author with a concentration on engaging, elevating, and empowering women! She starts at the core by helping each of us to define and design the BEST version of ourselves and shows us how to leverage those elements to ditch the senseless hustle, find divine focus, and live our lives out loud, on purpose, and on our own terms!

When she is not igniting an audience on stage, sprinkling moxie on social, or creating in her studio, you will find her walking her pups, editing photos, watching sci-fi or 80’s flix, or traveling, hiking, and wine tasting with her husband and besties.

Her first book, Fire Up! Taking Your Life and Business to 11 and the Fire Up! Podcast are both accessible on her website. If you are ready to design a life and business that fires you up, visit debratrappen.com.

She dares you.

Email: debra@debratrappen.com
Phone: (425) 894-1011
Website: debratrappen.com
Facebook: facebook.com/d11-fireup
Instagram: instagram.com/debra11