Women are complicated. Inherently, we believe we have to take responsibility for everything. We worry. We plan. We organize. We give what we have to others. Mostly, we believe that the work is never done. And, honestly that’s because it isn’t. Wherever we are on our individualized path, there is always something next.
I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to hear stories of women’s accomplishments, their fears, dreams and plights. Typically, these stories are just that – a set of data points illustrating the situation. We don’t tend to ask for help and rarely do we outline how a few strategic gifts of time, resources or thoughts could get us to the next level.
There are many out there who have said to me that women are not very good at helping other women succeed. Why? Generally, we are known for our giving nature, yet when we are achieving our goals in bigger ways in business and can afford to reach out to another woman to give support, we are falling short. When I meet with women in our community, I don’t always know if I can be of assistance, but I never let them leave without asking what they need from me or how I can be helpful.
Usually, women are surprised and don’t know what to ask for or even how I can help. But opening that door for them to walk through then or at another time in their career climb is important to me. It’s not just women helping women. It’s about giving back what you’ve been given. I feel blessed to work in the field that I love; I get to do it in a community that is supportive.
I can identify women from each phase of my life that helped me by sharing their insight and talents. Some of these ladies may not even know the profound impact they have had on me. To honor them, I offer my time to others. I have a personal policy that if any student reaches out to me for a meeting, I take it. I want them to ask me questions and hopefully glean something that could be helpful one day. I may never know if I said something that helped them down the road, but knowing it could be all they need.
It’s a responsibility that I believe women have at all levels. They should reach back, grab a hand or two and help them up the hill. Emily Fijol, executive director of the Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, gets to chronicle some of the most courageous, brilliant and giving women from our state. She is celebrating them and their impact on others. It’s powerful to be a woman today knowing that the amazing women before us made it possible to succeed. I am determined to help the next generation go further.
I challenge each one of us to take some time in the month of March to help at least one woman move forward towards a goal. It’s time to be a part of the solution. Everyone has something to give. Share it.