“Women’s strength, women’s industry, women’s wisdom are humankind’s greatest untapped resource.” – Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet
I love that quote.
She’s talking about you, by the way. Not your neighbor, your favorite author or someone you see on TV. Yes, other women are important, too. They’re living out the lives they were meant to live. And together we’re even stronger, but only if we all choose to go after our dreams and create the lives we truly want.
And you are a part of that. Your dreams, your ideas, your talents. They matter, and the world needs them.
Funny thing is, I didn’t always believe that about myself.
When I was growing up, I had the distinct feeling that success and making things happen was for other people. I’m not sure where I got that, if someone said it specifically or if it was just part of the culture in which I was raised, but the idea that I could do what I wanted or “make it” somehow…well, that was just not something that would happen for me.
Then I started meeting other women. Amazing women. Women who were making things happen, planting their ideas, cultivating them and sharing them. And at some point it finally dawned on me that I could do that, too.
It wasn’t an overnight shift, but over time I’ve learned that I really can achieve the things I set out to do. It’s not always perfect, and I make mistakes, but I love going after what I want. It’s scary, it’s hard sometimes, and the rewards are so gratifying.
And the more I do it, the more I want to make sure other women are doing it too. The actual content of our individual goals doesn’t matter. Some women want to open up jewelry shops, others love to bake and some want to teach, write or create loving homes for their kids. The important thing is that we start on our path, and that we support each other in finding our own paths.
And as women, we have a duty to follow our hearts and pursue our dreams, because when we do, everyone wins. When we decide to create something, and we earn the money that follows our creativity and talent, we pour that money back into our families and communities. We educate our children, we feed the neighborhood, we make our communities safer and we support others who are doing the same.
“When you invest in women, they typically invest 90% back into the health, nutrition and education of their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men,” says Karen Sherman, Executive Director for Global Programs at Women for Women, a non-profit that provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to women in conflict and post-conflict countries.
Wow. Look at that. 90%!
Often times I’ll hear women say that they feel “selfish” or “indulgent” when they go after their dreams and set high goals. But go back and look at that statistic. Is it that selfish?
Hmmm…not really. In fact, it’s the opposite.
You were given your dreams for a reason. They are yours and yours alone. No one else can do what you do the way you do it. No one else has your perspective, your ideas or your passions. I truly believe that you’re here to share that with the world, and that it’s needed.
Now is the time for you to set high goals, to work towards them and to achieve them. Right now is the time to start. You have one shot at this life. One shot. Set big goals, work towards them and enjoy your success.
Take a few minutes to think about the women in your life that you love and admire. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone of them, and you, started working towards what you really want.
What would change in your own family, your neighborhood and immediate community? Would there be more jobs? Would more kids feel safer? Would more people stretch themselves by following in your footsteps?
It’s incredible to think about what will be created as you put pen to paper and start mapping out your vision. Get inspired by your own talents and strengths…I can’t wait to see what you create with them!