I grew up as the second of five children. When I was 15 years old, my dad left and mom was left to raise us kids alone. We ranged in age from newborn to 16 years of age. My sister and I were thrown into the role of second and third moms to our little brothers. We quickly came to see the importance of helping each other out. Our mom simply could not do it all alone. Work as a school teacher, manage the house, grow the garden, parent, cook, clean….the list just goes on. It was too much for one woman to handle. Yes, I think at times we resented all that responsibility. But I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without that time in my life. I learned so much from my mom, my sister and the experience itself. The most important lesson I learned was that women need each other and women are often there to support you when no one else is.
We had a neighbor who had two little boys who were my brother’s ages. So, naturally we all spent a lot of time together. This woman made delicious salsa and was encouraged by her family to start a business making it. Her husband built her a commercial kitchen in the basement of her home and she started her business. It took a lot of years of hard work but she made that business a huge success for rural WV. For many years, she worked full-time at her day job and came home to make salsa. I can remember she had my mom and another neighbor lady come over at night and on the weekends to help her. They would clean, chop, cook and can that salsa together late into the evening and night. It was an endeavor where women were supporting women. It has always been a beautiful example to me of the possibilities there are for women when we support each other.
When I started my accounting career, I had male bosses starting out and as with corporate America in general, the upper echelons were male dominated. However, one female boss came into my life a couple of years in. She saw something in me and she started mentoring me. She believed in me and my abilities way before I did. She encouraged me to apply for different positions within the company. I remember there was this big leap of a promotion that she encouraged me to apply for, it was about three levels above the position I currently held. She knew that I could do it and that I could handle the responsibility. She even put her job on the line trying to get the corporate office to see that I was the right fit. They didn’t bite and she had to back off. But I will never forget this woman going to bat for me in a world full of men. She was a woman supporting another woman. And she inspired me then and even now to go for my dreams and to be willing to go for big risky dream.
Now that I am an entrepreneur, I see a whole different level of women supporting women. There was my first life coach who specialized in helping women love and appreciate their bodies even despite perceived imperfections. This woman inspired me to make big changes in my life that were scary and uncomfortable, yet all the while she was there supporting me. Now there is my business coach whose specialty is offering clarity and simplicity to her clients. She not only supports me in building my business each step of the way, but she also created this wonderful Facebook group where women come together to support and encourage each other. It is such a beautiful place where women can feel safe and supported as they work toward their goals of earning an income. These women in my life are amazing and beautiful and inspiring because they support other women.
Women often feel like we have to do it all on our own. But that isn’t the case. If we open ourselves up to the possibility, we can see that there are women all around us who freely give of their time and energy to support us. I am so grateful for all the women I have mentioned here as well as so many others that I haven’t. Grateful for the experience, the inspiration and the support they all give to me. How have women supported and inspired you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Sherry Parks is a Rediscovery Coach who helps women rediscover themselves and reconnect to the core of who they are.
To contact Sherry for more information about coaching join her women only Facebook group Lives in Balance.
Originally published at medium.com