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Women's History Month

Wake Women Celebrate Women’s History Month

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, we want to acknowledge that this special history is shaped by smart, honest, and important words of wisdom from women, and, in our case, Wake Women – in March and year-round. 

We asked women across Wake SPS – from staff and faculty to students across our various programs  – for their respective insight and perspective – what they might say to their younger selves or another woman on her own journey through life, work, and education.

Here’s what they said. 

What’s one piece of advice you would tell your younger self or another woman about work, life, education, balance, ambition, or ‘waking to what’s next’ in her life? 

You will never stop learning, formally or informally, so embrace it, and find ways to be a lifelong learner.

Don’t sacrifice your career for the sake of others – find a balance instead.

Enjoy the process of moving toward your career destination. When I was younger, I just wanted to be at the next stage. I finally realized I needed to enjoy the entire trajectory and where I was at each moment in this journey. 

I love the quote by Cheryl Strayed: “You don’t have a career…you have a life.” It helps me refocus and cherish where I am at that moment–the people I’m with, and my day-to-day.

Be kinder to yourself. 

Set boundaries. Yes, hard work and dedication will pay off, but do not forget yourself in the process. No job is worth your sanity. 

Make time to take that yoga class, travel, read a book (for fun!), it’s not being lazy or less dedicated. Balance will ultimately make your time working or studying more productive.

Invest in yourself early, both personally and professionally. Your older self will thank you for it. 

One of my favorite sayings is: “the best time to get started was 20 years ago, the second best time to get started is today.” It’s never too late to change your career, go back to school, learn a new skill, start investing, grow your family – whatever you want to do!

I must attribute this advice to Tom Hanks, but it’s something that really resonated with me: Remember that “This too shall pass.” When days are stressful and overwhelming, it is important to reframe and know that some aspects of your life will calm down…acknowledge the natural ebbs and flows of life. But this also applies to great times in life…they too shall pass so try to savor positive moments in your personal and professional life as much as possible.

You can’t be afraid to fail because you learn something either way.

Don’t sell yourself short. You have so much to contribute.

Listen to your heart and soul.

Don’t wait for the “right” time to prioritize yourself because you will always find a reason to put yourself on the back burner. Lean into the support of your close friends/family and take that next step in your journey!

Don’t let fear prevent you from trying something new (both in your career and in life), it might just be the best thing that happens to you. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” And then ask yourself, “if the worst happens, what will I do?” Have a plan in place to alleviate the fear, and then ask yourself “What if I succeed? What will I gain from it?” to help you focus on achieving your goal.

I believe that women are their absolute worst critics….consistently applying unreasonable expectations to themselves, while being more graceful to others. When having doubts, consider what advice you would give to a family member, friend or colleague. Do what you can to remove yourself from the scenario to consider it objectively. It may surprise you how encouraging you can be when you remove the microscope on yourself from your view.

We need to stop with the “yes or no”, right or wrong, success or failure — let’s just experiment. Let’s get in there and get dirty. The business world is very black and white, and women can tend to take that too literally and not test the waters. Instead of thinking about all-or-nothing, let’s focus on improvement. 

I feel like sometimes you just have to step out and say, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do.’ You have to have that voice. Don’t let anyone take your voice away from you.

I believe that when you have dreams and goals and keep your faith and strive towards doing the work that is set before you, an opportunity will come. 

Go ahead, dive in, invest in yourself. It is never too late.