With Women’s International Day coming up on 8th March, it made me pause and reflect on the significant role women have played in my life. The word ‘sisterhood’ came to mind and what it represents and means to me - the coming together of women from all walks of life drawn together with the aim of wanting to support each other during life’s daily challenges. Giving each other comfort and support by letting you know that you are never alone.
It made me reflect on the “sisters” in my life and what each has brought to me.
My mother, a nurturing caring woman, who has always been there to praise or reassure, to wipe away a tear or remind me that I will get next year’s prize when I just missed out. The person who taught me my values and who I am reminded of every single day of my actions or gestures or the things that I say to my son.
She is in the UK and I am here in Hong Kong, yet I carry her in my heart always. She is a part of me. I hope to be there for my son in the same way she has been there for me.
Two years younger than me, my sister is so different from me. She’s dark-skinned and has a strong physical frame; I’m pale and petite. She loves and is amazing at sports: I usually have my head in a book. How we clashed at times, lashing out in the heat of an argument and say things we wouldn’t say to anyone else (the kind of things that afterwards leave a mark of shame on my skin)! So quick to judge each other and let each other know our disapproval.
“You’re not my mum!” still resound in my ears from the days I tried to boss her around. But when the chips are down, our relationship stands strong. When our mum has been seriously ill or when my husband Steve was in the hospital for weeks on end, we knew that there was no one else in the world we could count on more. We are bound to each other by blood and, at the core, a deep respect and love that nothing can untie.
My best friend
My dearest friend, who gives me honest constructive feedback and calmly reminds what I know deep down but what I’ve not wanted to hear from anyone else. I’ll never forget how spent her birthday one year sitting in the hospital with me when Steve underwent yet another operation. She kept me sane walking up and down Oxford Street, London, trying on clothes and makeup – anything to distract me from wondering what was going in the operating room just down the road. I will love her forever for that!
My first female boss
My first boss in a magic circle law firm, who believed in me when I didn’t. For the first six months, I felt like a fish out of water, unsure I would survive in such a tough and unfamiliar corporate environment. She supported me to gain promotion and gave me the confidence to strive for more and enjoy a successful decade-long career there.
A far cry from women who have not been so supportive in my life. Some have been incredibly difficult to work for, bullying and breaking women down. But I choose to look back and appreciate that their actions forced me to step back, analyze, step up and become a stronger and better version of myself. Through them, I understand who I am and who, as a leader, I never want to be.
Without all of these women, great and otherwise, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
What about you? How have the women in your life shaped the person you are today? Even those that you have not had such a positive relationship with, what have they taught you?
As I reflect on these women in my life, I hope to see more women support each other, lean on each other and challenge each other kindly to grow and be the best version of themselves.
I urge you, therefore, on the eve of Women’s International day 2018, to spare a moment to reflect on those that have most influenced you and those that you are in a position to be a positive role model for.
I hope, like me, it will give you a warm feeling to know that at times when there are so much hatred and violence in our world, your ‘sisters’ will be there for you to hold you up and keep you going strong.
To you, all special ladies out there, have a great International Women’s Day!
March 20th is also international happiness day!
Happiness is something we all strive for! So a recipe with a difference today a recipe for happiness! A Harvard Business Review found that those that are happier are 31% more productive! So with that in mind, here are our top 5 tips to be happier!