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A Few Good Women

March is Women’s History Month and a time to recognize the important contributions women have made to the world.  However, on a personal note, women’s history month is also a good time to remember the important women of your past who have influenced you. With any level of success, there are others who’ve helped make it possible.  Although women have had a reputation for being “catty” to one another, if you have tasted success, chances are a few good women have helped you along the way. Can you name the most influential women in your life?

For those fortunate enough to answer “Yes, that would be my Mom or my Grandmom,” I take my hat off to you.  These fortunate women are indeed special to have had that crucial support system. But many other women have found a way to success without it. Oprah is the most famous woman I know who has honestly admitted the flawed relationship she’s had with her Mom.  Yet, she is also the most famous woman I know who will readily admit the role other women have played in her personal success.  Do you recognize the women who have played the following roles in your success:

The nurturer.  Most likely, this woman was Mom or Grandmom. If it wasn’t, do you remember the first woman who made you feel good about being you?  A woman who showed she cared, or supported you in a time of need or trouble? Remember the scene in “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle” when Rebecca de Mornay goes to the school to set straight the little boy who bullied Emma, the girl she babysat?  She actually walked up to the bully at recess and bent down to tell him the next time he made Emma cry, he was going to have to deal with her.  Stopped him cold. Now that’s what I call protecting and making you feel you matter!  In your life, it was probably a big sister, a favorite aunt, a neighbor’s Mom who let you know you were really pretty special.

The leader.  Who was the woman (or girl for that matter) who made no bones about wanting to be the first to take on a problem, an issue, or an adversary even if it meant going against the norm? Or who was the girl who wanted to be the first to cut a path through a difficult situation for others to follow?  That would be Bea Arthur in her role as a Golden Girl or Jo March in the book “Little Women.” Sometimes she was the girl who set a blazing path that lead to destruction, (the walk-out at my high school to protest an assembly speaker after which all followers were suspended) and other times, it lead to salvation (forcing school officials to allow girls to wear pants as an option). The fact that she was willing to put her neck out gives you the idea that at times, when you want something bad enough, that’s what you have to do.  And you learn to take risks!

The friend.  Have you ever befriended a woman who seemed to like you no matter how much trouble you can be?  When you did well, she was one of the first to be happy for you and celebrate with you?  When you failed she was there to console you and stick by your side no matter what. She is the first person you want to tell about the things that happen to you, and you don’t mind sharing your innermost thoughts and secrets. She is a person that you trust because she shows you nothing but acceptance. This would be the “Sex and the City “ group, or the “Waiting to Exhale” group. With younger women, it begins as a group of friends, but over the years, the group thins to just one or two women. But when you have one who has remained close over time, you understand just how rich she’s made your life.

The inspiration.  Have you ever known someone, personally or otherwise, who seems to have it all, and is successful doing exactly what YOU want to do?  The woman who gets the job she wants, the man she wants, the life she wants. The woman who handles the career and the household, who travels the world, and seems to make life work no matter what.  For me, this woman was Helen Gurley Brown, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. She was my first inspiration. I loved her book “Sex and the Single Girl!” Such good information for the career woman who wants to make smart moves to get ahead. I also loved her book “Having it All” for the same reasons. In your life, this woman may have been a mentor, a teacher, a business owner, a Mom.  She did what she wanted and let nothing stop her from moving ahead! This woman makes you see your dreams are entirely possible and that you should go for it.

These are just some important ways women influence one another, and chances are if you’re reading this and feeling fulfilled, you’ve encountered enough women of each group along the way to make your success possible.


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