FIRST THOUGHT: Overcoming Hardship
Have you ever done that thing where you’re talking to a friend about something difficult in your life and then you suddenly stop because you feel like she has something worse going on? As women, we are really good at comparing ourselves to one another, even when it comes to comparing suffering.
Sure, there are different types of pain, but your pain is just as real as mine.
I bet you’ve gone through some tough stuff in life. Maybe you are right now. Consider this question: What helps women develop resiliency and overcome hardship?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 220,000
It’s pretty cool to see the strength of women being recognized in all arenas, especially by the military. 220,000: That’s the number of jobs in the military—about 10 percent—that were unavailable to women until December, when Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced that all combat-unit jobs are now open to women. This includes the Navy SEALS, Army Special Forces and Marine Corps Infantry. Women aren’t just pretty faces after all, although we do look pretty snazzy in uniform, if I do say so myself.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Gigi Bryant, Founder and President of GMSA Management Services
It can feel tiring to be strong in life, but then I hear a story like Gigi Bryant’s and I get a second wind.
Bryant was 6 years old when she was first physically abused. The year was 1964, and she and her three siblings were quickly placed (and separated) in the foster-care system. By age 18, Bryant was pregnant and would soon have to watch her brother take his last breaths on death row.
Yet, all of this pain did not define Bryant. Instead, she chose to rely on her faith, visits with her great-grandmother and the support of a good friend to get through. She put herself through school, MBA-style.
After graduating, she worked for the state government, soon deciding to strike out on her own and start GMSA Management Services Inc., a business consulting firm that’s now 22 years old. In addition to starting her own company, Bryant has served as the chairwoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Council, and is the founder of the Write To Me Foundation, an outreach service for foster-care youth that also oversees Prom Rack, which provides free prom dresses to high-school girls who can’t afford to buy one.
Bryant has truly repurposed her pain into a mission to give hope to foster kids. She’s proof that when women share their stories, even if they’re painful to tell, the message can make us all a little bit stronger
Cheers to living such an incredible, resilient story, Gigi.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Reflecting on my own family, I realized that when it comes down to it, my support circle isn’t just limited to those who share the same DNA. It’s all those who love me. Let’s all remember to take care of them. Maybe Mother Teresa said it best:
“Let us love one another as God loves each one of us. And where does this love begin? In our own home.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.