A few days ago, I attended the Athena Awards at the Cintas Center. The Athena Awards honors exceptional women and is in recognition of the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage. To become an Athena Award finalist, you must be a woman that has achieved professional excellence, given back to your community and created leadership opportunities for other women. I can honestly say that that the group of women honored that day were truly fabulous girlfriends. In fact, as I listened to each woman’s story, I began to realize what an arduous task it must be to narrow down the honored to just one woman. Yet, they were able to do this and chose the extremely talented Annie Ruth.
As I drove home from the awards, I was busy thinking about these wonderful women and what made them different from the rest of us girlfriends. How could each one of us also achieve their level of accomplishment? What would we have to do to receive an Athena award? It became clearer to me as I thought about the themes that emerged from each one of their stories.
Each woman that won an Athena award was doing work that was true to who they were at their very core. Each one was aware of their innate skills and talents and utilized them daily. Passionate about what they were doing, they encouraged others to follow their heart and do what they love. They knew that they were doing exactly what they were meant to do in life. When you have passion for your work, you have energy. These women were full of life!
Each accomplished woman had faced some sort of adversity in her life and had triumphed. When things got rough, each one just kept on putting one foot in front of the other. They found meaning and purpose in their bad times and grew from the experience to become an even better individual. As I always say, the good and happy times are easy; we enjoy them but we don’t really learn much. You know those moments that are the bleakest? The times when we are on the bottom of the rollercoaster and have trouble seeing how we could possibly ever find our way back up to the top? That’s when we learn how strong we truly are and how much better a person we can really be.
You know what struck me about each one of these finalists? They were awesome communicators. As they spoke, I was riveted with what they had to share. After giving this some thought, I decided that their skills come from the place of passion. Again, that passion word! When you speak about what you believe in and love, what comes from your heart, what is a part of you, people feel the energy and passion. I know I sure did, with each and every one of these girlfriends.
So, my question to every girlfriend out there is this- what are you doing to move forward in life? Are you living your dream like these women? Are you following your passions daily while giving back to others? Are you fighting your way back up from a dip in the rollercoaster? I hope every one of you will make a pact with me today: let’s live a little more like the Greek Goddess.