Hero -(masculine) or heroine (feminine) (Ancient Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs) refers to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence -Webster
Growing up I was that kid who was fearless, climbing trees, falling down, scars and pretty much assured that I could do anything the boys could do. I can remember the day my grandfather told my mother that she could no longer dress me in frilly dresses with matching ruffle socks anymore; because when he arrived to pick me up from school I was either standing upside down on my head or I looked like I had been a bar fight! Back then, I was awkwardly tall for my age, which meant when the teacher made us line up in height order there I was always stuck between Hunter and Alan from third to fifth grade. That time frame really shaped me as a leader, it taught me:
A. I could manage boys and they would follow my direction, and
B. Even If I got hurt, I was just as tough as them, I got back up dusted myself off and tried again.
Sadly, there were not very many feminine strong heroic cartoons to pick from either, but in the 80’s there came “She-Ra” a fictional character and the protagonist of the filimation cartoon He-Man. She-Ra was intended to appeal to young girls the same way He-Man appealed to boys. She was known as the “Princess of Power”, which is pretty much sums up my personality …so you can probably understand why I loved the show. She-Ra was known for her incredible strength. Many times she was shown to be able to lift not only full-grown men and robots, but also mountain-like rocks and buildings. She was depicted as being extremely fast and acrobatic and demonstrated a series of other abilities that appeared to be more nurturing in nature such as empathic understanding, and mental communication with animals and healing of people.
Now before anyone accuses me of going off into a feminist rant let me be clear, I also liked He-man. I thought He-Man was cute I envisioned them having babies and making little “He-Ra” kids and such. That mostly attributed to my traditional Southern roots. Growing up with a mother who to me was like the “Black” Martha Stewart (minus the scandal and jail time) with a Angela Davis edge, and my father a simple traditional country man who loved to hunt, fish and believed in traditional gender roles. The struggle of being an only child is you are both the daughter and son they always wanted and therein by births “The Princess of Power” and the feeling you can do anything. However, I digress.
The point of it all is… I woke up and wondered when did I lose my “SUPER POWER”?
Last year some time, I watched the Office Hours Series on Levo League where Sheryl Sandberg CEO of Facebook and Author of “Lean In” talked about her life and experience as a female executive. When she came out on the stage she asked the question to the all woman in the audience… Raise your hand if you feel you can be CEO for your company? Less than 10% of the room raised their hand and she went on to give reasons for why most women present didn’t raise their hand (which I won’t ruin for you because I believe it’s worth you watching). However, the truth is I realized that men are far more fearless and have been my absolute best encouragers in my career. My circles of “HE-Me” offer me advice, that at times seems arrogant, careless and impractical but to the rest of the world it’s described as confident, adventurous, and calculated.
What I realized is that men are courageous! They are heroic in the way they attack their dreams. However, somewhere along the way I lost my super powers and that’s just simply not okay. I’ve made so many decisions about my career based on fear. I’ve accepted less money, not stood up for my work, talent, and skills. But, who says I can’t have my HE- Man and be SHE-RA too? No one! So ladies grab your cap and be great -the world is waiting on us to BE POWERFUL.
PS. From now on just call me the Princess of Power!