Some gifts are simple to give. They do not take time trudging through stores or surfing the internet. They take some quiet time to think about the individuals who have helped make you who you are. So, get a cup of tea and sit with these thoughts: who has helped shape your life?
Right now I am researching the first section of my new book “Dipping in the WELL: Women Executive Leadership Learning”. This beginning part is about the women who have come before us, paved the way so we could move faster and with more assurance.
While our power base is growing it is vital to have our wisdom keep up with our positions of authority. I believe we can stand on the shoulders of the past by exploring the legacy of the women who held out a hand when the terrain was rocky, gave us courage when it looked hopeless, encouraged us to keep on keeping on no matter what.
Many of the women who shaped us were in our families, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, neighbors, and teachers. Strong yet Others are from books, films and politics. What a great time to send notes of appreciation, calls or give physical hugs to those near and dear to us.
The others can get a silent salute from the heart. Here are two that jumped out at me as I was reading. There are those women who are standing on street corners regardless of weather with placards to remind us of the futility of war. One such group, Women in Black, is tenacious by holding silent vigils in strong, yet soft ways. They remind us that we must continue to look for more effective ways to settle conflicts than the old eye for an eye.
And yet, when war is in front of us we cannot run and hide. We all know of Paul Revere, so let me introduce you to Sybil Ludington, a 16 year old girl who rode her horse across 40 miles of dark, unmarked roads to spread the alert that the British were burning down the town of Danbury Connecticut; a role model of courage and determination.
In the 1940’s there was a beautiful actress, Hedy Lamarr (think Angelina Jolie), who along with composer George Antheil received a patent for their invention of a classified communication system that was especially useful to submarines in World War II.
Did you know that Catherine Litchfield Greene invented the cotton gin? Way back in 1793 women could not hold patents so she passed the concept to Eli Whitney who got all the fame and glory.
Now think about the women close to you. For me it was a first grade teacher who challenged me to take an art project some “annoying boy” in my class had scribbled on and find a way to make it work. At first I sulked and resisted; that’s the drama queen in me. Yet, my teacher persisted and encouraged me to find a way to make “lemonade out of lemons”.
While I didn’t win first prize I did get third. And I must say, creating something that got any prize has stayed with me through the years. Miss Westcott is there in the background whenever I look at a situation and my first reaction is “no way”.
I’d love to hear your stories and with permission will incorporate them into the book with full recognition of who you are.
In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday week and honor someone, male or female, who has helped you become the amazing you of today.