Has anyone ever called you a “warrior”? What images came to your mind? Fierce, weapon-laden women? Joan of Arc, perhaps? Maybe Wonder Woman was more your thing. Whatever it was for you, we women fit the image – strong in the face of adversity, with the ability to take on the world to accomplish what we set our minds on.
Social media has enabled me to meet so many strong, accomplished women. We meet and within the space of a few words instantly bond.
Recently, I was with two such warrior women at a fundraising gala. Four years ago Bernadette Catrabone, a mother of small children, found out that she had aplastic anemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life. She faced, the transplant, but blood transfusions, chemotherapy, steroids, and hair loss. But her sister, Erica, turned out to be her perfect match and not only gave her life-saving marrow, she quit her job to help her sister and take care of her children. The bond between these two women was palpable in the room. I’ve asked them both to share their personal stories. They are warriors!
A few years ago, I needed to find my inner warrior when I faced divorce, a job loss, and the death of my father. I thought the black cloud over my head would never leave. I would give loose change to every homeless person I passed, thinking it would bring good karma my way. And I kept on believing there was a reason I was facing all of this and once I could get to the other side I would see why I was being put through all of these trials.
So what are my insights for finding your inner warrior?
• Face challenges one day a time. Even one hour if you that is what it takes.
• Don’t be afraid of failure. Anticipating failure keeps us from trying. I think you learn more from mistakes than you ever learn from successes.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I find people are amazingly supportive and helpful when asked. It’s flattering to be asked to give sage advice, right?
• Put down a plan each day. Take a piece of paper and layout some steps and things you need to do. Wallowing accomplishes nothing and makes you feel worse. A few crossed off items on a to-do list makes you feel like you are taking some action.
• Network like crazy. Whoever said it’s not what you know but whom you know was so right.
• Write a journal. To cope with my anger and frustration, I wrote. I ended up writing 200 pages. It was cathartic, calming and cheaper than a therapist. Somehow putting words on paper validated what I was going through.
Are you a warrior? Submit your warrior story. We’d love to share your words.