What a movie!! I hate to admit that I had no idea that these three brilliant African-American women worked at NASA in 1961. Even though I have always been an avid reader so much of African American history was and still is not included in the history books. So, unfortunately, I along with other little girls who were encouraged to learn home economics and to leave math and science to the boys never learned about these women who were trailblazers. But, that’s another article.
Now that I know about these brilliant women, I am inspired, encouraged and motivated by their brilliance and fortitude. What makes their accomplishments extraordinary – beyond being rocket scientists, is that these women refused to live or be confined by the social norms of the day. These three women were fighters, warriors, queens and change agents who defied the odds. They didn’t allow social, racial and economic inequality to limit their dreams. They said no to stereotypes and yes to their goals.
As an African American female in the early ‘60’s, Mary Jackson was initially denied entry into the NASA engineering program. However, she didn’t allow being rejected to the program stop her from pursuing her dream.
She persisted. She went to court to get permission to attend night classes to obtain her engineering degree. She was determined. Ms. Jackson did not let anything stop her from acquiring the knowledge she needed to excel in her chosen profession. She was a leader, an orchestrator and a mover-and-shaker in her own life.
She owned her dream. She took responsibility for her dream. She sacrificed for her dream.
She didn’t blame the system or an unfair society. She didn’t let sexism stop her. She didn’t let being the only black person in the class discourage her. She didn’t let being a mother limit her. She moved forward and completed her education. She refused to listen to the naysayers. She forged ahead and eventually became the first African-American female engineer for NASA.
None of us can really imagine how difficult it was for her. But we can imagine that it was hard, that it took discipline, that she made sacrifices, that it required multi-tasking and that she had to overcome some discouragement. It had to be hard work; being the first of anything is never easy.
Unfortunately, I often witness many people prematurely give up on their dreams. If some people are forced to struggle too long, they leave. If they are forced to sacrifice too much, they stop. If they are forced to toil by themselves, they quit. If they don’t receive applause, acknowledgment or acceptance, they acquiesce. If they don’t have the resources, they abort their missions or they get so intimidated that they fail to launch.
So, what can you do?
When you are feeling like you want to abandon your dreams, think of Ms. Jackson. Reflect on how she demonstrated that knowledge is power. Remember how she demonstrated that achievement requires gravitas, growth, and guts. Gravitas, Growth, and Guts!! Yes, all three are needed to achieve glory.
So here are the million-dollar questions: what are you currently doing to grow? What are you doing in your life that’s gutsy? What are you doing to ensure that you don’t succumb to mediocrity, misery and mess? What are you doing to ensure that you don’t miss opportunities?
Are you investing in yourself? Are you attending conferences to sharpen your skills? Have you hired a coach or mentor to cultivate your talents? Are you working to refine your gifts? Are you doing something new, different, or out of your norm? Are you being an orchestrator, a commander, or a leader in your own life? Are you being a follower, servant or pawn in someone else’s life?
Let’s soar! Let’s develop ourselves. Yes, reading books is a start. But the best learning happens in community. The best learning happens when there is interaction, exchange and engagement with other people. The best learning happens when you are checked, challenged and sometimes pushed into new horizons.
So, get engaged. Find a coach. Join a group. Develop a mastermind.
You have only tapped the surface of your true potential. You have more greatness in you. You have more creativity in you. You have more love in you. And, you have more old pain to get out of you.
Make a commitment to grow because you have a job to do and you have a God to glorify.
Dare to Soar Higher!
Blessings to you always!
P.S. Women are leading the way….Have you registered for the “Leading with Brilliance, Boldness and Beauty Leadership Boutique? You don’t want to miss getting proven leadership tips from women who are leading the way.