I am on a trip to Santa Fe with three strangers, powerful women I am getting to know for the first time. When we arrive at our destination, we meet other strong, competent women who work with us to achieve the goals of our trip. The interaction of these phenomenal women, our similarities and distinctions is heady. There are many myths about the characteristics women must have to be called, "powerful." Let's debunk them.
Here's what I know to be true:
Powerful women know how to focus and create results, irrespective of whether it's at work, at play, or at home. Some of us have local impact, some global; some create short-term change, and some literally change the world.
Powerful women are curious, interested, and rarely defensive. We may be self-taught, well schooled, or a combination of both. We trust the universe and what appears – whether new or familiar, spontaneous or planned.
Powerful women are intrigued by challenge. We take comfort in both the expertise we've collected, and the richness of experience that supports thoughtful problem solving and decisive action.
Powerful women acknowledge and empower others. We are instantly attracted to the potential in people and situations. And we derive ongoing pleasure from supporting personal growth in all others and ourselves.
Powerful women may be in the foreground or the background; in the spotlight or shining the spotlight on others. We may be introverts or extroverts and some of us have the agility to embrace both.
Powerful women can't be recognized by appearance. We may look like Barbie Dolls (why not?), bankers (why not?), truck drivers (why not?), fashionistas (why not?), peasants (why not?), girls (why not?), or grandmothers (why not?). Our facade is not our inner core.
Powerful women take pleasure in nurturing ourselves. Because our life's work is about serving others, we know that receiving is as important as giving. We model grace and gratitude when others serve us, at the same time as we are uncompromising about quality.
Powerful women relish constructive feedback. We're used to being looked at, assessed, and judged. We appreciate support. But we will respond negatively to being measured by antiquated limitations.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice,
and now that I have it,
I am not going to be silent.” — Madeleine Albright
There is so much more to be said. I'm barely scratching the surface. In recent history we are fortunate to have powerful models in every field. To name but a few: Madame Curie, Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Maya Angelou. Life was neither simple nor pretty for any of them. Ease is not a measure of strength. So I leave you with this quote:
"The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power.
You just take it.” – Roseanne Barr