Legend tells us that before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, the Amazon princess. She lived on a lush island paradise called Themyscira, where she was raised by a community of women. They were her Amazonian tribe. They believed in her, guided her, and honored her—even when she left the island for the modern world. While Wonder Woman was certainly gifted with many superhuman powers, I believe the support of these women was one of her greatest sources of strength.
You don’t have to be an Amazon princess to tap into the power of your own “tribe”—your inner circle of influence. The people we choose to surround ourselves with can be incredible sources of strength and success. It’s been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Are you using your time wisely?
This is a photo of me as a young girl, with my mom, grandmas and great-grandmas. I grew up in a small rural Midwestern town, where I was blessed to have these women, along with several aunts and great-aunts living in the community. I was literally surrounded by women who wanted the best for me.
They taught me, corrected me, prayed for me, punished me, supported me, and loved me—no matter what. They were a positive, present force, encouraging me to make wise decisions and to work hard. Whatever I did, wherever I went, I knew they’d always have my back.
Like Wonder Woman, my circle of women supported me as I left our small village for the “modern world.” In my case, the modern world was my college town of Grand Forks, North Dakota. As I began my journey into adulthood, these women instilled confidence and values. They sent cookies and funny Hallmark cards.
And they didn’t stop with North Dakota. They prayed for my safety as I moved to Memphis for my first “real” job after college. And still they sent cookies.
They later showered me with love, linens, and lingerie at a bridal shower in our church basement. (Grandma Esther gave me lingerie and told me to have fun with it!) And then these generous, caring women welcomed the next generation when our daughters were born. Even though many of these remarkable women have since passed away and moved on to a new kind of paradise, I still feel the foundation of support they laid for me. They continue to be a strong force in my life by the legacy they have left behind.
Because of what they taught me, I knew I needed to find supportive women wherever I lived. And I did. I found a circle of sisters in Grand Forks, another in Memphis, and yet another when I moved to a new community as a young bride.
These women are still my lifeline. Together, we’ve experienced potty training and puberty, job promotions and retirements, breast cancer and hot flashes, wrinkles and hair dye, regrets and pleasures, graduations and college, deaths of parents and births of grandchildren, divorces and weddings, heartaches and love. We know when to call an impromptu happy hour and who needs it most.
We push each other to be better. That’s what strong women do. We encourage. We forgive. We celebrate successes with champagne. We face losses with grace—lots of grace. It’s not a “me” mentality, but a “we” mentality. For better or worse, we are here to support one another.
If you want to see yourself and your future, take a close look at your friends. Who is in your inner circle? Do you lift one another up? Do you push one another to be better? Or do you compare and judge one another? Do your values align? How exactly are you supporting one another?
If these questions revealed some issues about your inner circle, you may want to make some changes. You may need to prune your friendship tree. You simply cannot function to your fullest potential by spending time with people who don’t have your back.
As Matthew Kelly states in The Rhythm of Life:
The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best version of ourselves.
The good news is that you have the power to choose who sits at your table. So do it! Reach out to people of integrity who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. Think about the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with:
· The Inspired
· The Honest
· The Motivated
· The Passionate
· The Kind
· The Grateful
· The Open-Minded
Connect with people who truly want to support one another through the ups and downs of life. These people will be some of your greatest sources of strength and help you become the very best version of yourself.
**This is an excerpt from Wonder-FULL: Activate Your Inner Superpowers (No Cape Required) by Kelly Radi
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