LOVE, LEAD, AND LIVE WELL

Published On March 8, 2016 | By Janet M. Brooks

Girls Coffee Break Talking Chilling Concept

March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. Let us honor and recognize amazing women in our lives and history, and their profound impact as entrepreneurs, engineers, movers and shakers, inventors, CEO’s, community activists, teachers, mothers, daughters, and friends; each contributing a special flavor to the mixture of life across the world.

I can look back and see a part of many women who contributed to my personal and professional growth. These women are strong markers in my life. I would not be who I am today if it were not for their wonderful insight, love, support, constructive criticism, and ability to stretch beyond themselves to reach others. One woman in particular taught me a valuable lesson of love and friendship when we were just children.

When I was 11 years old, I met someone who became a lifelong friend. I am blessed that God put her in my life for a lifetime. When we first met as children, I was irritated by her need to follow and imitate who I was. I told our mutual friend I did not appreciate or like her. Well, needless to say, that friend went back and told her what I said. Even at the tender age of eleven, her wisdom and humility taught me true sisterhood. Cheryl came to me and said, “You should be honored that I want to be like you, I think highly enough of you to want to be your friend and be like you.” I will never forget the humiliation I felt for being such a mean girl. She taught me as a young girl to cherish friendship and sisterhood in the most valuable way and not to take it for granted. She has been my heart friend for 50 years.

We teach each other true sisterhood and how to become kick-butt leaders and movers and shakers. It is not enough to arrive to your point destination of being at the top.  The top is just the beginning of a responsibility of your success. We as women have an indomitable spirit combined with fortitude, which drives us to success. Do not strive to just reach the top; the top is not necessarily success. Success should always include compassion to make a change for the better.

Learning to “make it happen” takes talent and guidance. We tell women you can do whatever you desire, and you can, but no one makes it to the top without a springboard from a helping hand. There is a plethora of difficult decision-making we as women face. We have learned to weigh entrepreneurship and leadership, career and children, and family and business, and are moving with a complexity that forges new ground and impacts the world. We are conquering a new terrain of heading our households, decision-making, companies, and refusing to accept the status quo.

For our new group of millennial women who are born out of the digital generation and have never known life without the Internet and multimedia content, brace yourselves! You are living in a marvelous time. The potential of technology supports your framework of learning skills that include communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. You are setting the stage for future generations of women. Harness the power of caring and the entrepreneurial aspects of business. Be a savvy risk taker and always reach back for someone as you move forward. As Gloria Steinem, a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer says, “Imagine we are linked not ranked.” We are working together to make a change and open up opportunities for all women across the globe – not forgetting our sisters who are oppressed, enslaved, and murdered because their culture does not value women. Remember their struggle!

We can have it all, just don’t become greedy and indifferent. Do not bite off more than you can manage. Whatever you do, do it with passion, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. “When in doubt, look inward before your look outward, God will guide your steps,” great words from my mother. Do not make excuses for what you do not know, go learn it, master it, and come back and make it happen!

Please read at least one of the books below. I have enjoyed reading each one, and each one gave me a piece of advice I could use in my day-to-day life as well as my business. Great reads!

  • Loving on Me!: Lessons Learned on the Journey from MESS to MESSAGE by Katrina McGhee
  • Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger
  • The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
  • The 4-Hour Work Week-Timothy Ferriss
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