I am one of the lucky ones, those who are honored to be regularly and consistently in the presence of powerful women. This past year in particular there has been an emerging theme of me becoming part of a remarkable circle of women. I recently became a member of a Leadership Collaborative through the Women's Chamber and these women are off the chart amazing! I work with a group of fellow Leaders on Catalyst Youth Leadership Project, a program that focuses on young women being emancipated from foster care. These ladies are my fellow collaborators on making a meaningful difference in the world. I have some long-time girlfriends (another way of saying we have been around the block with each other a time or two) who we fondly named the Wise Women, who come together to cook and drink wine and have slumber parties once a quarter. And every day for the past two months I get up at 4:40 a.m. throw on my workout gear, and participate in a "boot camp," (for women only, of course).
I have learned a lot the last two months, one such lesson from our fearless boot camp leader, who is fond of saying, "You can do anything for a minute." And I have found that this is a truism that has helped me many times when I thought this middle aged body could not possibly do one more push up, pull up, or burpee. I have also learned that women can be incredibly encouraging and supportive of each other by offering a kind word, or positive reinforcement for a job well done. Last week, I learned another important lesson. That it is rarely about the outcome, but rather who we are becoming along the way.
There are several people in my group that have been at this a lot longer than me. They are stronger and faster, and seem to never tire. There are others of us who are working hard to attain that level of fitness. One of those ladies, whose name is Kim, has endeared herself to me on so many occasions. She has this quirky sweetness about her, and at the same time is still finding her own power. This level of working out is clearly as new to her as it is to me. I have watched her getting stronger each day and conquering things that she never thought she could. Last week she decided to conquer "box jumps."
Box jumps come in three sizes. I believe they are between sixteen and twenty-seven inches high. I only started jumping up on the 16 inch box in the last three weeks, and before that stepped up and down during our allotted time. Kim decided it was time for her to start jumping up on the box as well. As I watched her, she jumped over and over again. Sometimes her toes grazed the front of the box. And she would fall back barely maintaining her balance. You could see her anxiety and uncertainty with each attempt. Then she would step up on the box for a while. Our leader came over and at one point held her hand. Still she couldn't quite commit 100%, her fear getting the better of her. She tried yet again, and this time actually fell backward hitting the ground hard. I thought at this point she was done and would chose to step up, and step down. Step up, and step down, but not Kim. She stood up, and immediately jumped again. My heart went in my throat, and I felt a wave of emotion move through me. I was so honored to be in the presence of her courageous and special brand of tenacity. She ultimately did jump up and land on the box one time.
I realized on my way home that morning, that it is those small moments of victory that define who we are. It isn't about being the fastest, or the strongest, or even the fittest that defines a powerful woman. It is instead being willing to fall on your ass, and without taking the time to let that "failure" sink in, to pick yourself up and try it again. And again. And again. Kim is more powerful than she knows. Her strength inspires me to be more powerful too.