Up until recently, I considered myself a go-getter, a strong and courageous woman who can accomplish almost anything with ample focus. Lately, a certain awareness has dawned, that I am not as strong and powerful as I believe. This dawning is mostly because, I am paying attention and observing women who seem to always get what they want. Compared to them, I feel quite inadequate.
There are two women especially, that I want to focus on. They have been a source of inspiration for me for a while. To protect their privacy, I will call one the Tough Cookie and the other the Delta Lady. One is related to me and ironically is born on March 8th, the International Women’s Day. The other is a very good friend. Today, I want to share my observations about these two ladies and their common traits that make them strong and powerful. Here is some quick background about both these amazing ladies:
The Delta Lady is from war-torn Germany. She lost her mother at a young age, survived the WWII, was treated badly by her stepmother and left home at an early age. After, many adventures all over Europe in the late forties and early fifties, while struggling with famine and no place to live; she managed to attend secretarial training, ended up marrying an American and coming to America. With no formal higher education, she retired as an executive assistant to the president of a major labor union organization in the States. Her story is fascinating and her struggles to manage a household of five with not much help from her husband. Her motherly survival instincts pressed her to accept a job at the war struck Vietnam in the seventies. She lived in Saigon with her family as the sole breadwinner of the family. The reason I call her the Delta Lady has to do with her determination to take her children to the shores of a famous delta near Saigon, while air bombing in the area was prevalent. The courage to drive three kids in the midst of a serious war to enjoy the beach was a prelude of how she continued to manage her life and still fight with all her might to walk again after her fall and multiple fractures of her ankle.
The Tough Cookie, unlike the Delta Lady, grew up in comfort with both her parents’ full support. As a young immigrant, she also had to deal with poverty and struggled with money, but not to the point of famine as she always had her family unit to support her. Tough Cookie worked hard in her early 20s and originally studied accounting and became a junior accountant. After marriage while pregnant with her first child she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology. When her two kids were in elementary school, she completed her master’s degree, and ultimately her PhD in psychology. This all happened when her kids were in high school. During her studies, at any cost, she ensured her kids attend every tournament, every game, and go to every party. Both her kids are successful in their careers and relationships. Her nick name is because she is sweet, funny, lively, yet tough enough to chew anyone and spit out in five seconds.
I consider these women strong and powerful because they are unyielding in what they want. They don’t settle for anything less and usually get what they want, at any cost. Unlike some of us women, who give up at first or second try, they push and push, until they reach their goal. These two women have four traits in common:
The main factor and similar trait among these two ladies is their steadfastness. They have routines that cannot be broken. Their sleeping, eating, and daily life patterns are set. They are dependable and can recreate the same phenomenon repeatedly with very little diversion. They have a conviction that what they do, is the best for them, and no amount of logic or evidence, has an impact on them.
A second trait and similarity between Delta Lady and Tough Cookie has to do with their unending passion for what they want. Most of their wants stems from a desire to help their children. They keep their eyes on the prize. They are by nature great salespeople, as they can convince others that their cause or passion is worth the fight. So, their art in persuasion and their passion for what they want is truly the gift here.
The third similarity and trait that makes these women powerful and ultimately successful is their belief that the end result justifies the means. Though this Machiavellian approach has a negative connotation, these two, however, make their motherly instinct seem so natural and get what they want at any cost with such poise, that no one thinks about the big picture of why they are doing what these two want. Truly an art...very impressive!
Lastly, these two ladies are great negotiators. These strong women know how to negotiate and always focus on winning not just for themselves but their kids. Most of the time though, because of their kind heart, they end up giving more than they negotiated, but without doubt, they are savvy diplomats.
I have a long way to feel as powerful as Tough Cookie and The Delta Lady. The energy they spend on formulating a plan to get what they want, or the amount of time they spend on deciding what exactly they want, makes me wonder, why not just be? What is wrong with surrendering to what universe unfolds before me? Is this surrendering called laziness or wisdom? I still have so much to understand! As Avicenna says: “My knowledge has reached a point, where I know I am quite ignorant”!