What would happen if we took time every week to recognize and share with our friends/community/tribe someone we think is phenomenal? Just imagine the list of inspiring people we would know at the end of the year. I was thinking recently after one of my photoshoots, that my career lends itself to meeting many interesting and fantastic people daily. What I also realized is that so many of these amazing people are unaware of the subtle thing they do everyday that brings joy and inspiration to others. My ah-ha moment arose after attending a retreat with life coach, Dana Frost. Eleven women had spent ten days together exploring the Amazon and other parts of Brazil. When we were in our last few days together we gathered and shared on paper one key word/quality that came to mind when thinking of the individual we had gotten to know. After circulating the paper to all in attendance the list makes it back to original person and the insights were invaluable. I don’t know about you, but when is the last time you stopped to see, recognize, and honor that goodness that you are?
The poem, Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou serves as my inspiration in seeking out and celebrating the qualities that makes each and every woman phenomenal.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I’m telling lies.I say,It’s in the reach of my arms,The span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.I walk into a roomJust as cool as you please,And to a man,The fellows stand orFall down on their knees.Then they swarm around me,A hive of honey bees.I say,It’s the fire in my eyes,And the flash of my teeth,The swing in my waist,And the joy in my feet.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.Men themselves have wonderedWhat they see in me.They try so muchBut they can’t touchMy inner mystery.When I try to show them,They say they still can’t see.I say,It’s in the arch of my back,The sun of my smile,The ride of my breasts,The grace of my style.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.Now you understandJust why my head’s not bowed.I don’t shout or jump aboutOr have to talk real loud.When you see me passing,It ought to make you proud.I say,It’s in the click of my heels,The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,The need for my care.’Cause I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me
Now that takes me to the dawn of this project, 52 Phenomenal Women, a year long photo essay by Amy Boyle Photography. I am approaching my 48th birthday and in the effort to grow bolder not older (a fantastic reminder by one off my favorite brands, Chico’s) I have decided to embrace my age, as it is only a number and task myself with the creative project of featuring one woman in my blog and social media channels each week for a year. The best way to describe the project I am embarking on is #womancrushwednesday meets Humans of New York. Why only women? I am continually supported and loved by my husband and four sons, but what I know in my heart is many women are not so fortunate. I want to support women, who whether they realize it or not, are phenomenal.
My birthday wish this year is to encourage others through the stories that will be featured in my blog and social channels. To start a dialogue of inclusion, support, and recognition by celebrating the phenomenal qualities within us all. There is no better time than the present moment, (NOW is my word of the year!) to do just that. Thank you for being a part of this year long celebration. You may follow along on this blog in addition to my Instagram, FB, and Twitter. #52phenomenalwomen #52PWP
This project will begin on 9/12, my birthday, and continue for 52 weeks on Wednesdays. I have partnered with Dress for Success for the duration of this project. Founded in 1997, Dress for Success has chapters in more than 160 cities in 28 countries and has empowered over 1,000,000 women in their career life goals. My personal goal is to raise $3000 or more for the Dress for Success Worldwide Central chapter.
Each featured woman in this project is asked to donate a minimum of $60 to Dress for Success. Envision your contributions at work: With a donation of just $50, you can help another woman prepare for her first mock interview. At the $100 level you can be provide another woman with her first Suiting. You may also volunteer, mentor, as well as take part in their professional clothing drives. None of us would be where we are today without the help and encouragement of others. We certainly are stronger together! I have had the great fortune to meet and work with Wendy Wilkins the director of the Worldwide-Central office and I am eager to support the mission of this organization.
Who are Dress for Success clients:
“Dress for success serves unemployed and underemployed women at any phase of their employment development cycle. Their services provide pathways to success that reflect the real-life stages of a woman’s journey.”
31% Have never owned a suit before
45% Have children under 18 living at home
83% Live below the poverty level
“The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”
If you are interested in being featured or would like to support my year long project, please request to join our FB page.