By GGTW Co-founder Amanda Epp
When my amazing sister-in-law Kait Way wrote her post about building a support system, I recalled a time when I went to church with a friend of mine in high school. During the service, they talked about how the people in your life are there for a reason and that you have learned something from each of them, whether you’ve realized it or not. I always loved that service and thinking of what each one of my friends had taught me. But what’s even more amazing is that those friends I was thinking about in high school are some of the same that are in my life today! Sure, my “tribe” has also grown, but what a gift to have the same group be a part of my life for so long!
I’ve learned so much from these amazing women that I decided to pay tribute to them by sharing with our community how each exemplifies a great quality that I admire. They inspire me, teach me, and support me through thick and thin, and I can only hope that I can be as good a mentor and friend as they are to me.
Be unapologetically yourself.
From Katie (Schrades): As she would say, a la Dr. Seuss, “There’s no one in this world that is you-er than you.” Katie has been my best friend since the third grade. She is one of the most authentic, genuine and carefree people I know. One of my favorite stories about her was when I was nervous for a big meeting I had coming up, and Katie, who was my co-worker at the time, reminded me not to worry and just be myself. (Those of you who read her blog post last week will understand the irony in that statement.) Katie is unapologetically herself always, and I have always admired that about her.
Self-care is important.
From Megan (Meggie): We jokingly call the times my friend Megan carves out for self-care and reflection her “Megan Days,” but Megan really has figured out the secret to success. She takes time for herself regularly to pamper herself with a bath, a face mask, doing her nails, watching a chick flick and maybe having some wine and a nice homemade meal. Everyone needs a Megan Day to unwind, relax and get back to work.
From Kate (Hot Dog):I have known Kate since the third grade, and she has always fearlessly done what she wants and what she is drawn to, with no excuses. After graduating college, Kate decided that the corporate route wasn’t her thing, so–during the middle of the recession–she opened a jewelry company called Red Giraffe Designs. (Talk about guts!) She started it online, and with hard work, hope, determination and not taking “no” for an answer, she is now the proud owner of four RGD brick-and-mortar stores! You heard me 😉 How amazing is that?!
Friends first. (Or, How to create your tribe.)
Becca (Becs): I have known Becca since high school, and she has always been my biggest fan and supporter. Whether it was doing my hair and make-up for a pageant or flying to DC with me for the So You think You Can Dance auditions, she has been there and knows the value of having a friend support you. Becca knew instinctively that to attract “your tribe,” you need to be a good friend and supporter first and foremost, and then you will have a friend for life.
Always challenge yourself.
From Christina (Teen): Teen has always impressed me with her ability to try new things and grow her mind, body and soul. She is the leader of our alumni group in Chicago, and has started to teach herself Italian. She surprises me all the time when she talks about a new class she’s taking or a recipe she’s trying, like the one that made her go get lobsters from the fish market. She is constantly challenging herself to learn new things and expand her skill set.
Make people feel good.
From Suzy (Bug): Suzy always knows how to make someone feel special. Whether it’s a compliment, a hug when you need it most, or simply a good laugh, Bug is genuine in her delivery and just makes you feel good. It makes people want to be around her all the time.
Ask yourself, “Why not?”
From Shawna (Na-Na): Shawna doesn’t like to say “no” to interesting and new opportunities and instead asks, “Why not?” She told us about making career changes in this blog post, plays in every rec league imaginable, takes on big challenges at work, and even flies on planes now (even though she hates them)…because, why not?
Save and be smart with your money.
From Beth (BDub): Beth was the “atm” in college. If the paycheck was smaller than normal at our Bath & Body Works job, Beth was the atm that loaned us 20 bucks to go out and have a good time. Beth saved her money from chores and worked early on. She knows the value of a dollar, saves all the time, and only spends money on big vacation adventures that feed her soul. While this was the main lesson I learned from BDub, the very close runner-up is “Work hard. Play hard.”
You are in control of you.
From Kristen (Ten): Kristen has followed a different path than most of my friends because she was married and had kids earlier than any of us. But that’s never been an excuse for her to fade out of our lives. She knows she is in control of her life. She still remains in touch, travels with us often, and comes to parties. (Besides, we all love and adore her kids.) If she wants to be there, she will make it work. If she wants to try a new job, she goes for it. And nothing stands in her way to be the best friend and mom she can be.
Embrace your inner quirkiness.
From Amanda (Mason): I remember doing an exercise for work with Mason. We were defining the culture of our team and she wrote down, “Spunky laughs.” Everyone loved that, because we were a team of hardworking people that embraced the fun and the differences we all had by sharing lots of good-natured laughter. From then on, whenever we interviewed people to join our team we asked, “Do you think they enjoy spunky laughs?”
I hope you see in these awesome people some qualities you recognize in your own tribe. Try to enjoy and learn from them as much as you share with and help them along in their journeys to go get the world. And if you have an inspiring friend you’d like to tell us about, just click on the link here or add it to the comments section below!