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What Strong Women Need Most

Still, like air, I rise. ~ Maya Angelou

The new wave of conscious creative women is changing the world. As we celebrate this International Women’s Day, women are rewriting the rules, speaking out and pioneering change.

I was seventeen and had just moved out of home to start University. It was December 1990 and Mary Robinson was elected the first female President of Ireland. She was a crusader for women without a voice. In a small nation hungry for change, it was time. Finally, a politician made me sit up and listen. History was made and women around the world were watching. 

But the seeds of possibility were planted long before then. 

For me, it began with the nurturing, loving person who brought me into this world. My mother. 

And she did it against all odds. Rheumatic fever struck as a child. Bedridden for two years and having to learn to walk again, she was lucky to survive. Life later gifted her six hearty, healthy children.

My mother instilled in me the values I hold high, without me even knowing. She was always there. Drying my tears when the school bullies descended. Picking me up at midnight from my first disco. Cradling my colicky baby in the middle of the night. Her presence and gentle guidance always steering me back on course.

There are other influential women in my life that I’m yet to meet. Perhaps in this life or the next. 

As a child, pictures of Mother Therese decorated the walls of my classroom, etched in my memory forever. I would nod in recognition of her saintly ways, whilst my six-year-old self, apologized for having no intentions of following in her footsteps. At least I was honest.

Arriving home from school, Oprah was often on television, in the background. She just had a way of making people feel worthy. And I loved that. I liked how she raised people up. And gave away lots of cool stuff! Receiving her Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes she said ‘speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.’ And the ripple effect continues.

Images, memories and phrases from strong women, logged in my subconscious. 

So that when it came to my first job interview, I was ready. The fact that the smartest, coolest guy from uni was going before me didn’t phase me. That much. Whilst he read the morning paper I glanced around nervously. But with four older brothers, I was used to having something to prove. That job was mine. And I got it.

A corporate career amongst too many male suits temporarily dampened my spirits. I sought creativity in cooking and loved the leading ladies of the nineties in the kitchen. Enter Nigella Lawson. Need I say more? Google one of her earlier videos and I guarantee you will be seduced by that silky voice in ten seconds!

A later move to the southern hemisphere welcomed a new chapter in my life. I launched my own business and started learning from women entrepreneurs who were doing amazing things. I read Arianna’s Thrive and started my own life audit. My personal development journey was underway.

Every Monday I would take a trip into town to work onsite with a client. 

Inspirational women are not just leading countries, lovingly packing lunchboxes and launching cookbooks. 

This one was serving me coffee. With a smile. Remembering my name and asking me how my day was going. Sometimes it’s in the mundane where we find the inspiration. Spreading kindness and a reminder to be present. Enjoying a good coffee.

This life is precious. It’s fleeting and it’s full of ups and downs. The women in my life have helped me get back up when I’ve fallen down. They have helped me grow and learn and become who I am meant to be. 

We cannot be someone who we cannot see. 

Seeing these women today and in the past take the first step into unchartered waters gives me courage and permission to do the same. And for that I’m thankful.      

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