A Man Is Not A Plan: Giving Thanks For Women’s Wisdom

Photo courtesy of Jozoana

“A man is not a plan,” was the succinct and sage advice from business coach and marketing expert, Adryenn Ashley at the recent Women Rock It! gathering in San Francisico. Several panelists were asked what advice they would give to their 16-year-old daughter (if they had one.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic because, to some extent or another, I think women tend to make career sacrifices for spouses or family -- generally to their own detriment. Certainly caring for one’s young children is an admirable reason to sideline a career. Tarvinder recently wrote about the challenges and rewards of being a working mom. Also, in today’s mobile society it can be challenging to balance the careers of two people. I’ve followed my husband’s career around the globe. His income has more than doubled since we moved in together, but mine has risen only incrementally.

Photo Courtesy of Kheel Center, Cornell University

If we don’t nurture our skills and careers, however, we risk not being able to support ourselves and/or our children should a tragedy such as death or divorce occur. No one knows this more than Women Rock It! producer and founder of Widowed Web, Hyla Molander, who suddenly lost her husband at the age of 29 when she was pregnant with their second child. Not only is it an issue of simply supporting ourselves. Women cannot expect to have true power or equal power in the world if we are not an active part of it. The reason Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in 1963 was that she saw so many of her Smith College classmates essentially wasting their educations and talent.

Adryenn’s pithy observation inspired me to look for pearls of wisdom from other successful women. With Thanksgiving approaching, here are some lovely bits of women’s wisdom for which I am thankful.

Photo courtesy of Kheel Center, Cornell University

enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own even if she never wants
to or needs to...” from a Poem by Pamela Redmond Satran

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
~ Betty Friedan

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”
~Margaret Sanger

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
~ Alice Walker

“Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.”
~ Ella Fitzgerald

Photo courtesy of Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious

“If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it”.
~Roseanne Barr

“Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths”.
~Lois Wyse

“One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.”
~Marlo Thomas

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” ~Madeleine K. Albright