I saw a movie this weekend – I could not believe how inspirational and motivational and emotional this movie was.
Its called Hidden Figures and you need to drop everything and go and watch this movie. It’s an incredibly inspiring true story about three black women in the early 1960s who are working for NASA, and must overcome terrible adversity, break barriers and become contributors to the American space program.
These women were living in times of segregation – segregation in society, segregation in their jobs, segregation within NASA. Our hero’s women were not afforded the opportunity to simply show up and work hard. These women had to show up, work hard and straddle the barriers in place because of the color of their skin. And work hard they did. In fact Katherine Johnson’s commitment and passion in the space race against Russia helped send John Glenn to outer space. The US needed these three women.
For the first time in history, barriers were being broken all over the place.
For the first time in history we sent a man to the moon and for the first time in history not just women of color, but all women began to be seen as a force in the boardroom.
These women were true superheroes.
But a different kind of superhero. The kind that wears a dress and carries a pencil, and made it possible for men to fly into space and discover the impossible. It’s impossible today to imagine that just 50-some years ago the kind of environment these women worked in. But there are lessons that can be learned from. These superheroes and these lessons CAN and SHOULD be taken to heart today.
Forbes offers some insights into these lessons and here are my top three:
1 – Be Indispensible. Each of these three women toiled away in a building specifically for colored women but through hard work, smarts and determination, it was impossible for them not to be promoted.
2 – Focus on what you CAN control. These women worked in degrading conditions that were also demoralizing and discriminating. The closest colored bathroom to Johnson’s desk was a half-mile away. Rather than focus on negativity, our heros found ways to work hard, bond together and contribute in ways that could not be ignored.
3 – My favorite lesson from Hidden Figures was the support group that the women formed. This is absolutely my favorite take away and one that resonates with me everyday – the power of sisterhood. These women depended on each other for advice, laughter and support. When women empower each other, amazing things happen. I am witness to this in my business each and every day. And its what makes me love my job so much. We’ve come a long way since the space race and the abolition of segregation. Yet we find ourselves in times that require us to remain steadfast to our commitments and belief.
When women band together watch out – the world becomes a better place! Just today our company announced some news that is so staggering that makes me even prouder to be working with a women owned business. It’s amazing how far we’ve come and the milestone that we reached today, and it’s exciting to think about where we’re going.