Celebrating the strength of women!
In March, women all over the globe celebrate Women’s History Month. Over this month, we celebrate cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women. In addition, we celebrate the women we know who have exhibited strength in getting through major life events that may cause some to just crumble and cease to exist in a productive manner at work.
Personally, when I share the stories that have occurred throughout my adult life, the response generally given is, “Wow, you have been through a lot. How do you get through it? You are one strong woman.”
My stories include traveling down the journeys of placing a child for adoption, the death of my grandfather and father, my birth daughter and biological parent reunions (I am also adopted), being the mother of an addict and the road to her recovery, breast cancer and many more experiences that are gut-wrenchingly personal.
And through them all, somehow, I worked. Some days were spent in a fog, some in a semi-functional haze while on other days, working through the struggles made me work harder and smarter with a completely different perspective that coworkers.
Frankly, strong may not be the best word for me, although it could be one adjective. How do I get through these traumatic events and get to work every day? I can share that ignoring issues does not fix them but recognizing and acknowledging their existence does.
While in the throes of addiction, my daughter held a “starter” job. Through those years, she, not once, “messed up” at work — meaning she never “no-called, no-showed” and if she knew she was going to be on a binge, she had lined up replacement works. It is with a sad, proud smile that I share this, because her manager often told me, “She was the most responsible employee they had; she never left us hanging or short-handed.”
Fast forward several years, and that former addict is a mother to a 3-year-old boy and holds a full-time job. How does she push through the tough times? She shared, “Being responsible for raising my son, and making sure he knows he is loved keeps me going. I know what would happen if I started using again, and I refuse to give him a childhood he would have to ‘heal’ from. I won’t let him grow up wondering why he wasn’t more important than getting high.”
In finding one’s purpose, one can push through just about anything.
A friend of mine, who owns two of her own businesses, has really had a few tough spots in her personal life as of late. This week, a text flashed across my phone reading, “Call me ... sad news.” Another blow, that was out of her control, sent her reeling and changed her plans in a drastic way. At the end of our conversation, and her tearful retelling of the events, she paused, sniffed, and strongly stated, “Oh well. It is what it is, so I just need to deal with it.”
There was nothing but strength and resilience in those words. That’s what women are — at work, at home, and all around the world. Some of the richest learning moments on how to handle the traumatic events in our life and to successfully move through them come from events others have already experienced.
This month, and really, every day, week, and month, women need to look further into the lives of their coworkers and learn from them. To the strong women out there — take a look around. Do you see someone struggling? Can you lend an ear? Help build them back up? Help them through their pain? If you can, do.