My junior year of high school, the local all-girls school closed and 80 girls joined my co-ed school. In the disrupted equilibrium, my friend group was unwelcoming to this new class of girls. High school became a competition trying to get a starting spot on the lacrosse team or a prom date.

In college and early career, I found myself surrounded by men in the computer science classroom and the workplace. At first I didn’t mind being the only woman. I felt like one of the boys, watching football and skiing on the weekends. But over time, I realized they were elevating each other at work, but never me. Even though I won our fantasy football league and could beat them down the mountain, they never treated me like a professional peer.

Throughout my 20s I intentionally gravitated toward women – socializing, running, working. We spent hours and hours chatting on the trails, discussing workplace politics and potential business ideas. We gushed about our successful female peers and our favorite women in leadership. To celebrate my friend’s 30th birthday, seven of us rode our bikes 100 miles to Napa. With these women by my side, I made the biggest strides in my career.

In high school, without consciously knowing why, I was competitive with other women because life was a zero-sum game. But the stakes are different in the professional world. It is easy to regress into a scarcity mindset when we look at the lone woman on executive leadership teams, but C-suites don’t actually have a female seat cap. In a world where the odds are already stacked against us, not helping other women only perpetuates this reality. The only way to ensure a better outcome is to uplift women everywhere. The more successful women we have in positions of power, the sooner we can eradicate the stereotype that board seats are for men.

These days, I am the first to congratulate women when they beat me in a race or earn a promotion. For me, a successful career is one that results in more opportunity for women to be financially independent. If women support each other, if we have each other’s backs, we will take more professional risks and make bolder decisions. The boys are already doing it.