As I reflect on my personal heroes, there are many significant women who have impacted my life through their words and actions. They include Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Coco Chanel. I am inspired by women who demonstrate their strength though self-sacrifice, determination, bravery, wisdom, and compassion. Each of these women lead by example, boldly paving the way for the rest of us to have limitless possibilities. Of all the powerful women I have had the honor to learn from, no one has influenced my life more than my very own grandmother, Charlotte Neal DeRossett.
Charlotte was born in Tennessee in 1929 during the Great Depression. Her father was a kind and generous farmer who would set aside food each week to give to the poor. As she recalls, “We were the poorest people we knew,” but her father instilled the importance of generosity from an early age.
Lesson #1: There is always someone who has it worse than we do. Be generous, always.
Her father died when she was just 8-years-old, and her mother quickly remarried a man who was quite the opposite of her father and had no interest in his step-children. As a child, she worked in the cotton fields until she eventually left home at 15 to seek better wages in Chicago. She worked two jobs and sent all of her money home to support her younger siblings. She always regretted not getting an education, but she read every book and newspaper she could get her hands on.
Lesson #2: Be a lifelong learner, hunger for knowledge, and be your own teacher.
My grandmother is the most positive, affirming woman you will ever meet. She will never miss an opportunity to give a sincere compliment and tell you how special and talented you are. She will be 90 this year, and she was never educated in positive psychology or appreciate inquiry, she just understands the joy that comes from approaching life with gratitude and optimism.
Lesson #3: If you woke up today, be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for.
I am grateful to have had the influence of this woman in my life. Today we celebrate Charlotte along with all of the powerful female influencers who have opened the doors of possibility for the rest of us.
“For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – William Ross Wallace
**Article published by Brandman University https://www.brandman.edu/…/looking-at-leadership-internatio…