Let's face it: women and our collective experiences have been in the news a lot lately.
So perhaps that's why, when I think back on this weekend, what stands out to me the most is that women are pretty damn powerful.
I've never had a lot of female friends and quite honestly, I was a little nervous about spending this much time cooped up with a bunch of women I didn't know that well.
The prevailing notion is that groups of women are catty and competitive. I guess maybe I was worried that those messages would turn out to be true. I hadn't spent this much time in close quarters with so many women since summer camp.
As it turned out, there was no need to worry.
There was no shortage of things to talk about. From work experiences, to daycare woes, to in-law problems, we all had something to share. Each woman had an incredible story to tell about her journey to this moment in her life, the decisions made along the way, and what drove her to succeed. We came from different walks of life (social work, education, law, business, and medicine), yet we each had a story about overcoming an obstacle and defying expectations.
Even though the details of each story were wildly different, they started to feel kind of familiar after a while. Reflecting on that these last few weeks, I now realize that what each story had in common was the Resiliency, Grit, Determination and Fearlessness of the story teller.
Looking back, I realize my path to business owner & community leader was shaped by dozens of women with those same characteristics .... My mother and her friends, tackling mundane obstacles like what to make for dinner, as well as life-altering obstacles like caring for a dying spouse or being diagnosed with cancer ... Women I've met who not only raise incredible human beings but also run a successful business ... Friends I've seen blossom into strong, confident runners who tackle every new challenge with a smile while also running a household, working full-time, and volunteering ... Wherever I look in my past and present, I see powerful, passionate, smart, determined and strong women.
These women not only shaped me into who I am today, but they also push me to be a better person. I see their resiliency in the face of obstacles I can't even comprehend, and my own self-doubt about a small obstacle in my path melts away.
I hope that others can see resiliency, grit, determination and fearlessness in me as well so that I can inspire others, the way the women in my life have inspired me. By creating that spark in someone else, perhaps she will pass the flame to someone in her life.
The funny thing is, those characteristics have always been there, it's just that we need to open our eyes and recognize them - not just in others, but in ourselves, so that we can make the world a better place.