Today is International Women’s Day and a day that I have come to really embrace. Last week, I had the privilege of attending an event for, about and created by women; wonderful, accomplished, strong and supportive women.
I have to admit, that through my life I haven’t spent enough time nurturing my relationships with other women. Of course, I have friends and colleagues, but until I started my journey with breast cancer, I never truly felt like I belonged in any “women’s” group. I know that sounds ridiculous, as of course, I AM a woman, but I’ve always been intimidated by most other women. I have admired so many women from afar; always wishing I could be as confident and successful as they are, but feeling like I have always fallen short.
Through my career,I worked in a heavily male dominated industry where there weren’t a lot of women that I could follow, emulate and learn from. In fact, the few women that I did work with, unfortunately were NOT the mentoring type. They were stereotypes of the women we all do not want to be. They were jealous, catty and manipulative. They would demean any other females in order to get ahead.For some reason they felt that by putting another woman down they somehow lifted themselves. I could never understand why someone would do that to another person be they male or female and so I kept my head down, trying not to cause any friction or give them any reason to pick on me. Unfortunately it didn’t always work. In fact I joined a company explicitly because the President was a woman and I thought “finally”, here is someone I can learn from and relate to. That experience couldn’t have been further from the truth. In fact, when I finally left she said to me that I would never be successful because I cared about others too much. It wasn’t until I started my own company, that I truly had the chance to make a difference. I did and still do, try to motivate, encourage and mentor all of the female employees on my team. I look at them like I would my own daughter, wanting to ensure they felt worthy, appreciated and confident in what they do. Of course, that goes for the men too, but I have always wanted to make sure that other women didn’t experience all the negativity and frustration I did throughout my career.
My best accomplishment in life is my beautiful daughter; who inspires me every day. She is confident, accomplished, bright, loving, funny and the most kind and empathetic person I know. To see how she has grown and become the woman she is now warms my heart.I am so very proud of her.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I joined a tribe of women, not by choice obviously. I have seen, met and become friends with some of the fiercest, strongest and giving women I could ever imagine. I have seen them fight and push through excruciating pain while maintaining their dignity,keeping a positive outlook and continuing to motivate and encourage everyone around them.
I never thought having cancer would be my ticket to feel part of a positive group of women. Before getting sick, I never felt confident enough to put myself out there and say, hey, can I join your group? It’s crazy to think that its taken a life threatening disease to make me feel that I was strong enough to step into a circle of women and feel the warmth and affection that we all should feel for one another.
I still struggle with confidence on many levels, but now I am not afraid to share my story. I am not afraid to reach out to other women for advice and guidance. With my writing and speaking engagements, I strive to motivate and inspire others to overcome life’s hurdles and reach their goals. I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a business owner. I am proud to be a mother. I am proud to be survivor.
I am woman, hear me roar. Happy International Women’s Day!
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.