The further away I get from my days as a corporate executive the harder it is to believe I ever lived that life. Snippets appear and remind me it was not a fictional tale. Take Monday morning. I was sitting in the Delta Crown room in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale watching all those business travelers. Laptops and Blackberries in hand, pulling their carry on luggage while juggling coffee, checking their watches, anxious they would make whatever meetings lay ahead that day. I was once one of them.
It took a lot for me to leave that world. Even when you know you have overstayed your time, it is never easy to forsake the comfort of what you know. But I did. What made it easier has been the support of a community of women I call my sisters. Yes, there are men who have been there for me on this journey, and I am grateful for them as well. But it has been my inner circle who has insisted upon believing in me, even when I have not.
This weekend I was in the company of that group. If you are a woman and have never heard of Regena Thomashauer and her school I suggest you read up and go take one of her classes. If you are a man, point your woman in that direction.
One of the difficulties women encounter in the corporate world is women not just supporting, but celebrating each other. It is something that comes naturally to men. What we refer to as the boy's club. Men doing business over a golf game. Men patting each other on the back for a job well done.
I came of age when the doors were just opening to women, many of us believing we had to act like guys to keep it that way. The rules of the game had been written by the men. Even when they didn't feel right, we believed we had to play by them or risk failure. It never occurred to us to create a girl's club. The rules did not have that written in.
The core of Regena's work is teaching women to support each other. Not to commisserate in each other's woes, but to lift each other in celebration. It is not a new concept. In fact one that has its roots in ancient times but has been suppressed in modern ones.
This past weekend I was reminded that I am where I am today because of the support of my inner circle. They insisted I had the courage to take this path of reinvention, that the easier route, to find a similar position doing something I had lost my passion for was not an option. This blog would not exist but for the women who remind me to believe in me, and who inspire me with their stories, nor would the two novels I have written and the agent who represents me. Above all I would never have had the courage to live my life as if I was twenty five again and just starting out. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to realize a dream.
The rules are changing and women are relearning the power of a circle of support. Women like Regena Thomashauer are leading the way. Today is my birthday as well as the one year anniversary of the launch of this blog. In case you were wondering where I am, I will be celebrating.