No one likes a “Cinderella” story more than me. And there are thousands of them to share! When I think of those women who have risen from “ashes” to international recognition, however, I look to what they have overcome in their lives and what qualities they possessed that allowed them to “rise to the top.”
Most of us will never achieve what they have, but we can certainly take some valuable lessons from their stories. Here are four of my personal heroes, because their triumphs can be those, on a smaller scale, of women everywhere – women who have dreams and goals; women who have tenacity; womenwho have an attitude that never allows defeat or setbacks to stop them!
1. Oprah Winfrey: She should be at the top of everyone’s list of “glass ceiling” destroyers! People who do not know her “history” do not understand her strength! Born in Mississippi to a poverty- stricken household, this woman was subjected to horrible conditions – from being dressed in burlap sacks to undergoing horrible abuse. On top of that she was African-American, growing up during a time when blacks were wholly second-class citizens. She had nothing going for her at all. When she finally moved out of her abusive household into the strict and structured environment of her father’s household, things began to change. Expectations were high in that household, and Winfrey took to them willingly – becoming an honor student and earning her acceptance into college. Once out of college, she became a reporter in Nashville, Tennessee, and things snowballed from there! Today, this woman is worth $3 billion dollars, but her legacy of making a difference for blacks, black women, and, indeed, people of both sexes and of all ethnicities, will be forever and permanent! She has become an American legend.
2. Erin Brockovich: This is a quintessential “David and Goliath” story, and Erin’s convoluted early history make one wonder how in the world she ever reached the heights she did. Once graduated from high school in Kansas, Erin floundered, moving about the country to follow husbands and, in the process, giving birth to 3 children. During this time, she suffered panic attacks, anxiety, and a bout with anorexia, and even sought breast implants in an effort to make herself more physically attractive. She openly admits that those early days were all about finding a man who could love and support her, and that endeavor led to nothing but disaster upon disaster. Finally settling in California with her three children, Erin took a job as a secretary with a law firm, upsetting the conservative “culture” with her flamboyant dress and mannerisms. And here’s the catalyst that changed her world: her boss gave her a simple filing for a pro bono case related to a real estate purchase by Pacific Gas and Electric – a mammoth corporation. Reading through the file, Brockovich noticed some blood test results which peaked her interest. She wanted to know more and got permission to “investigate” on her own time, while her boss paid for childcare by a biker who was her latest “squeeze.” What she uncovered is really history now, but her tenacity and her compassion for the residents of a community undergoing the horrible effects of the illegal pollution of water sources by PG&E, resulted in one of the largest law suit settlements of that time – $333 million. Her cut? Over $2 million! From a dyslexic to an international figure in the “war” against corporate malfeasance, this woman inspires all of us!
3. J.K. Rowling: This woman is worth $900 million today! As a poor single mother of two and on the pubic dole in the UK, Rowling used her creative energy to make up bedtime stories for her sons, stories about a daring and smart young lad by the name of Harry Potter, who was selected forwizardry training at the Hogs Wart School. The Harry Potter series was the ultimate result –books, movies, and a following of young and old with which only Star Wars can compete. Arethere more tales in her future? Probably. But at the moment this icon is basking in the great glory of a dream fulfilled!
4. Celine Dion: I include Celine Dion because hers is a story of talent, luck, and opportunity, and these things do happen every time someone is “discovered.” Born into a family of 14 total children, poverty was the operative word in her early years. In Quebec at the time, a weekly salary of $160.00 earned by her father was spread pretty thin, with a household that numbered 16. On the weekends, her parents took music ‘gigs’ to earn extra money, but it was always in scarce supply. Celine was “discovered” at the age of 12, when the entire family was involved in one such ‘gig,’ and the rest of her life is a story of original songs and the climb onto the charts of music fame. Through it all, Celine has endured personal setbacks, but her unwillingness to succumb to any of them have put her in an honored position in my “book.” Today, she is worth over $250 million and enjoys a revered position in musical history. Her story is not yet finished!
So why are these women so important to all of us? They have pushed themselves through tough odds with the “deck” stacked against them; they have demonstrated a tenacity and perseverance that we can all admire and try to emulate; and, above all else, they have, like David, taken their small strengths and multiplied them a thousand-fold!
Julie Ellis – experienced marketer and Co-Founder of PremierEssay content writing service. Julie believes that, only through experiential knowledge does one become an engaging and creative writer. Follow Julie’s Twitter to find more!