I didn’t have female mentors until much, much later in my life. Maybe I thought I knew better and didn’t really need them. Maybe the right people didn’t cross my path. Maybe I didn’t have any idea of what to look for in a guide or mentor. But today, I am surrounded by wise, strong, powerful and inspiring women.
Some I’ve known for decades, others entered my life at pivotal times, while others I’ve known for barely a year (but somehow they’ve already become some of my closest confidantes).
Some are older, wise souls that have bravely lived through tough life situations and live a life that I aspire to, others are my peers on this journey, our arms invisibly linked as we weave through challenges in our careers, relationships, families and the biggest one of all - learning to understand ourselves so that we can live the best life possible and make the greatest possible contribution.
The women in my life have shaped and guided me. They’ve shown me by example to look way past the present situation to an expansive future that may be difficult to imagine but is absolutely possible for us to create.
They’ve demonstrated through the way they live their lives how to at the same time, lean into life as it is today, celebrating all that is good and wonderful and finding deeper ways to appreciate all that we have.
The women in my life are warriors but not because they are perfect. They take big leaps and make mistakes and get embarrassed and bruised and maybe even react out of pride or shame. But they learn from their stumbles and they never, ever let it keep them down.
They get back up, and with great love for themselves and for the world, they keep going, relentlessly pursuing their goals and dreams. Relentlessly trying to do the right thing for themselves and those around them.
The women in my life know how to live life well - they enjoy all it has to offer and teach me every day how to take bigger, juicier bites without guilt. They take good care of themselves, not by beating themselves up for eating a cookie but by fully enjoying that damn cookie. They carefully consider their environments whether at work or home, creating a tangible world that supports them in becoming more creative or more peaceful or more of whatever it is they desire. They say yes to new experiences, and encourage the women around them to come along for the ride.
The women in my life look you in the eye when they talk to you. They smile naturally and often. They give warm hugs. They message you out of the blue. They tell you they miss you. They encourage you. They cheer you on. They compliment you freely and mean it.
And they make you feel that you are never, ever alone.
I’m celebrating International Women’s Day for the women in my life. I’m celebrating it for my little girl and all the little girls who I pray will grow up to be brave, resilient, independent, full of joy and guided by love and all that is good.
But I have a special message for the women in my life (and beyond) this year:
The world needs you right now. It's time to step up and boldly offer your gifts. It's time to not only be, but to lead.