Forces of Influence

This blog is about women – who women are – what women have done and what women can do. I believe that most women sell themselves short. We often don’t have high expectations for ourselves. We use words like,”I’m just a________” or I’m only a_________” Men, it seems to me, don’t typically say that. They just tell you they are a CPA or a carpenter or an electrician. But they don’t use the word “just” as an adjective to describe what they do. Men typically define themselves by what they do. They are a carpenter or a lawyer. Their job or profession defines them. That’s why men often have serious emotional issues when they lose a job. They’ve lost what defines them.

I know I’m generalizing and there are always exceptions, but for women, it’s different. When a woman tells someone she’s a a teacher, a lawyer, mom or a sales clerk it doesn’t define her. I believe, (and I don’t know that I can back this up with research) but I do believe that women often define themselves by how they impact others. Women want to know that they have made a difference in someone else’s life. We want to know that we have helped, encouraged, redirected, inspired or rescued someone.

I belong to the Assistance League of Kansas City, which is a non-profit, volunteer organization that makes a difference in our community. This year we hosted several lunch and learn events that focused on the influence women have had on our country. At the last luncheon a local photographer spoke to us about the impact that influential women in the Kansas City area have had on our community since its founding. It was very informative and eye opening. I’ve live in Kansas City for more than 25 years and did not know about the women behind some  very important qualities of our city. But it was the following statement he made at the beginning of his presentation that really stuck with me. I knew I wanted to remember those words so, I contacted him and requested he send me this quote:

“As I was putting together my first four books, I realized that nothing of a socially redeeming value has been accomplished in Kansas City without the leadership of women…the ladies of the early part of the 20th century who championed women’s rights, civil rights and education and so on…its hard to argue with. Us guys who think that men have made this city a better place to live are only kidding ourselves. Kansas City, and I think most cities, would be nothing without the leadership of women. Men go out and do things, but it is the women who bring the moral compass to bear on the livability of any community.” B. Mathews

That quote really inspired me. I’d been thinking about starting this blog for quite a while and that quote was the trigger to just do it.

This blog is not intended to bash men…I like men (most of the time)…but this blog isn’t about men. This blog is intended to encourage women to think about the ways in which we have influence on those around us, whether its our families, our neighborhoods, our community or our country. We have a role to play. We have influence and we need to give serious thought to the ways in which we can influence those around us for good. We need to think big. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to take action…and we need to do it now.

One of the things you can do right now is to comment on this blog. My goal is for this blog to be engaging and interactive. I’m hoping this blog will cause you to think about new ideas and ways in which you can be influential and ultimately stir you to action. There is no expectation that we will always agree with each other, but there is an expectation that when we disagree we will do it respectfully and with the intent to inform or offer another viewpoint.

So, who are the “Wise Women”  whose wisdom has influenced your life? I’d love to hear about them!