What Women Need to Hear

5:11 AM

There is this fabulous young woman who works in my office. I tell her all the time that she reminds me of June Carter Cash, and even though she doesn't know who Mrs. Johnny Cash is, I tell her anyway. She has this beautiful, super voluminous dark brown hair and she wears red lipstick like a boss. She is beautiful, and I have told her so. She is also smart, super charismatic, and very good at her job.

Somehow, though, when I am gushing uncomfortably about how cool she is, what comes out of my mouth is more related to her impeccable sense of style than to how hard she works.

I thought about it quite a bit last week when I finally got to spend some time with a couple of my favorite little girls. Little girls with futures and huge possibilities.

There are a lot of things I believe about women, because I am a woman, but I think what I believe most is that we deserve to know that we are capable. Capable of pursuing an education. Capable of owning a business. Capable of being beautiful. Capable of looking sexy and being smart. Capable of being great friends, great mothers, great bosses. Capable of running a corporate enterprise and running a household. Capable of bringing home the bacon and frying it up for breakfast. 

As a woman, there are a lot of dreams I want for myself. Some of them are traditional, like I want to have a beautiful home with a clean kitchen and spotless faucets. I want to be a fabulous cook and I want to throw dinner parties complete with matching dishes and Pottery Barn place mats. I want to be the kind of wife whose husband never questions that he is the most important person in her life. 

And then there are simultaneously some dreams for my life that will require me to unite with other strong, career-minded women and together, beat the bejezus out of the glass ceiling that looms above us. I want to contribute to something great and be the kind of woman that others say, "she gets it done." I want the corner office with the huge windows and the great view. I want the fat salary check, the bottomless expense account and the shiny company car. I want others to see my career moves and professional prowess and ability to negotiate like a crocodile and I want them to say, she is smart. She is hardworking. She is a boss. 

And not because I am a woman, but because I am a human, I am weak. I have weak moments in which I think to myself, those things will never happen for you. And while sometimes I challenge those weak thoughts, other times I soak in them and allow them to saturate my thoughts for far too long. 

I guess this matters because there are little girls in my life for whom I believe the world is the biggest, baddest, most opportune book on the bookshelf. They can do anything. And while I have weak moments for myself and my abilities, when you love a little human being, it is impossible to be weak for them.  Still such small little girls, they have dreams for their lives that they don't even know exist yet. Maybe Adelly will grow up to be a teacher. Maybe she doesn't know she has a passion for education yet, but it doesn't matter. I know that she can pursue her passions and interests and succeed wildly. I know that because I love her, simple as that. 

But how can I challenge her weak spots? She is a human and someday she will have the same thoughts I do -- I can't do this-- I'm not smart enough -- I'll never achieve that. But I believe she can, and is and will. 

I think first, we have challenge ourselves. I am so guilty of telling a beautiful girl that she is beautiful and leaving it at that. That girl in my office? She is a great many things and beautiful is only the beginning. How about the characteristics that are truly inspiring? Like the way she is pursuing an education and how she works multiple jobs and is paving the way to what I believe will be an outstandingly successful career? Why not praise that? 

Little girls grow up to be big girls who will undoubtedly question themselves and their capabilities and they deserve to hear the important stuff. You're a great leader. You are creative. You are powerful. You are an excellent communicator. You are smart. You are valuable at home and at work. You can be a mom. Or you can be a businesswoman. Or you can be both and be great at both

And perhaps the most important thing they need to hear -- chase every dream you have. Chase it and achieve it because I promise you, you can. 

Be an awesome mom. Be an awesome team member. Be a boss. Be a stellar wife. Wear fabulous heels and wear the name tag that says "CEO."  Be the woman who never forgets to send birthday cards and never misses the opportunity to exchange business cards. 

There is so much gray between the black and white and I encourage you to live there. Forget the spectrum, wherever your dream falls, chase it. And like my sister said to me last Saturday -- don't just live outside the box....forget the damn box altogether. 

PS - That sister? She's a rockin' mama and a fearless nurse. A total dream chaser. 

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