Women’s History Month: Marching forward with lessons learned
March marks women’s history month, a time where we reflect on all the amazing women who have changed our lives. These include all the brave women, our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, politicians, and activists, who have come before us with a common purpose to make all our lives better. It is likely that we will look back at this year as a watershed moment for women in history, with many women finally finding their voices. As I look back on the women who have help to shape my life, I wanted to share some of the best lessons I’ve learned from them.
It’s okay not to have it all
As women, we are constantly told that it’s hard work to have it all, but we can do it. You know what I’ve learned from the great women in my life - that you don’t need to have it all to be happy. Our culture describes this “having it all” mentality as putting 100% into work and 100% into family and 100% into fitness and 100% into organic foods and the list is never ending. That’s just not realistic for anyone. We don’t need to have it all, we just need to have what makes us happy. Finding the perfect blend of work, life and play for yourself is where you’ll find the happiness you’re looking for. In the famous words of Shonda Rhimes, “Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”
Find your passion
Women have heard this forever - find your passion in life and go for it. One of the greatest things I’ve learned from other women is that while it’s amazing to find passion in your job, it’s also just as great, or sometimes even greater, to find passion
in your life. Acclaimed author Kristin Hannah once said “Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs.” If you don’t find the passion you were looking for in your work, find it outside. Find whatever it is that makes you happy to get up in the morning- whether that might be doing yoga, surfing, knitting, staying at home with your kids, fostering pets, working for charities - whatever it is, make sure you bring a little bit of passion into your everyday life.
Be your authentic self
There are so many people and expectations that we feel like we must live up to. Take being a mom for example - a lot of us find that we are worried about sending our kids to school with non organic apple sauce because other moms think this is the equivalent of poisoning our kids. We are constantly worried about what other people think. Author and expert on courage, shame, vulnerability, and empathy, Brene Brown, talks about being authentic to yourself. She says “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” We need to make the choice to be true to ourselves.
It’s okay to fail
The only way to get good at something is to fail at it a few times. Oprah Winfrey said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.” This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. Failure is an important part of life. Rather than running from failure, we have to embrace it as part of the process of living fully and successfully.
This month let’s be sure we celebrate the women who’ve changed our lives, the women who’ve taught us lessons we will never forget, and the women who have fought to make this world a better place.