Fun fact: there has not been a boy born in my family in 113 years (my mom’s side clearly). And everyone has also been divorced a minimum of two times.
So my sister and I are likely born to be single, independent women. Will also probably have a daughter or two. I’m only half kidding.
The upside to this is that I have generations of strong, powerful women I’ve had the incredible opportunity to watch navigate unthinkable challenges.At the end of the day, this is something all women are trying to figure out. What is the definition of a strong woman and how do we apply it to our lives.
One of my favorite photos of my mom is her with my sister in our moldy apartment after her divorce from my dad. We recently took a photo together I also cherish in her new apartment on the Vegas strip. She’s an incredible self-made woman I try to emulate in everything I do. She inspired me to start my own business at 17 and move to Barcelona last year to go global.
I also direct a group called Women Who Dare with the former CEO of Girl Scouts and director of the US Chamber of Commerce Connie Pheiff to help other women be powerful in career and personal life.
Here is what I’ve learned from all of these amazing women:
Drop the fantasy you were raised to cling to:
Do not look for “the one” in every guy/girl. It is not your duty to mold yourself to attract a mate or to fit someone’s ideal who may be in your life for five minutes. Assess the relationships in your life like you would any other investment (your time is your biggest asset). Does he/she really check the important boxes? Do they align with your path? Are you comfortable/happy or are you trying to be? After 7 years of horrendous long term relationships, I figured this out (sort of). I don’t even want to be everyone’s cup of tea. If I am, great. If not, great. Enya and Cher both live in mansions with cats. I’ll take it if it means authenticity through and through. Now of course this does not mean marriage can’t be a source of healthy support and companionship. But that is exactly what it should be.
Don’t ask permission:
As women, starting at a very young age, we learn to look for men or other superiors for permission to act or look a certain way. I blame the “my daughter’s never going to date” type of fathers for this one. This mentality is crippling. You have to train yourself to recognize when you are stopping to look for validation and remove that from your process. Go from “I want this” to “I’m getting it.”
Do not under value your time and talent:
Tough lesson, but if you’re going to make an impact and be able to grow, necessary. This is more business oriented and I just wrote a blog yesterday called “How to squash your fears and be confident when talking numbers. Know what you’re worth and ask for it. If they can’t afford it, move on. I’ll let you apply that to whatever for yourself.
Don’t shame yourself:
I had a hard time with this. No one cares except you about your “number” (in terms of men), what you’re wearing, what you want to do with your hair, makeup, what you don’t want to do, etc. Don’t let opinions held outside of you influence your decisions. I’m currently sitting in my office in bodysuit on and hoop earrings about to code because I want to and I can.
That’s my two cents. Though the term “strong woman” may vary depending on what stage in life you’re in, culture you are a part of, area you’re from, challenges you’ve been given, these are things I’ve seen to be characteristically true across all.
You can find me here: Women Who Dare
Originally published at www.womenwhodare.com.