Today is International Women's Day. And since I am a woman, I think it is appropriate to give my personal reflections.
Having grown up with four brothers, I always felt comfortable in a "man's world", minus the locker room talk. I value hard work, the ability to figure things out and creativity. I like a challenge and am always exploring new things.
I have not pursued "Women's Issues" in association with any organization and I would never label myself as an activist or feminist. However, I do value the road that has been paved for women in this country. We enjoy many freedoms that other women around the world do not, like the ability to pursue an education, to drive our own car, to walk about freely and to speak for ourselves. Things that we all too often take for granted.
Yes, I have encountered people who have a misconception about my abilities because I am a woman, but those have been few, and I simply choose to consider the source and move on. It is because of the opportunities that I have seized that has brought me to this place in my life, and I will continue to cease such opportunities.
If I were to speak from one woman to another, this is what I would say:
- Recognize that what you think about yourself and others will hold you back more than any person ever can.
- Be adventurous! Say "I will try before you say "I can't."
- Surround yourself with people who see your potential and will help you develop to your fullest.
- Understand that you do not have to know everything. Even if you do know the answer, practice listening and letting others speak first. You will learn more than you thought you knew. But, don't be afraid to speak, even if the answer is "I don't know, but I would like to learn more."
- Embrace criticism and don't take it personally. It is the best opportunity to grow. If someone is taking the time to give you advice, it is because they care about you. However, you will encounter the perpetual critic. Thank them for there feedback and move on!
BTW, I am still reaching for my potential...