The adjective to describe my childhood is “old-fashioned.” This is partly because my parents were in their 30-40’s when they decided to have kids, and they treated us the way kids were treated when they were kids back in the 1950’s. This influenced me toward having an “old soul,” with more old-fashioned values and views on life, including my views on women and leadership, but over the last few years I’ve been figuring out what I think about both of these topics.
Men have a natural tendency toward leadership and an authority that we are drawn to; they tend to be bigger, talk deeper, and have more confidence. Since men have this leadership tendency, when I was growing up I thought and was encouraged to just let men be the leaders because it is easier for them. I was around some women leaders at my church, but their strength, directness, and power scared me a bit.
Women CAN do a lot these days! I am catching this vision partly through friends I have worked with over the last few years, strong women, and through a conference I attended last May called Business Boutique by Christy Wright where she encourages women to make money doing what they love! (Check out this link for her new book on this topic: Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves ). Christy is a wife, mother, and has a growing career as a speaker and author. I appreciated her encouragement to go after what I love and become an expert in that field.
One reason why I haven’t grown my leadership skills sooner is because I was stuck in “nice land”—where I couldn’t be honest, and I let people walk over me, take advantage of me because I was too quiet, shy, and nice. I’ve been learning that I DO have a voice and can fight back! This year teaching junior high has taught me how to be a strong leader and to stand up and lead even when there are students in my classroom that want to be the leader. Now I know that women are equal to men and worth being heard just as much.
Learning that I can be pushy and loud, say what I think, and push for what I want is okay has been liberating! I can be confident in what I know, what I want, and go after it. I can be a modern woman who enjoys a career along with marriage. Having high standards and not just accepting the minimum is what I’m growing into. The expectation of good and of great is important to being able to push for it. Women can be strong, effective leaders, and I’m so glad I’m learning to develop this in me. Women reading this—you can too!
P.S. The book that gave me hope and keeps on giving me hope to keep trying is the Bible. Check out a great copy here: