I was chatting on the phone this morning with my friend Cat Hammes known as the “One Legged Blonde.” She has been riding motorcycles for 31 years long before women riding became popular. In fact it was odd for a woman to be on a bike back then. I’ve been riding for 18 years myself. We still didn’t have a lot of women’s riding gear when I started riding.
In our conversation, she reminded me that I was in the military long before it was popular for women to be in the military. I enlisted in 1980. The military was only about 8% women at that time. There was starting to be a push to get more women into the military and into nontraditional jobs. I actually scored high in the mechanical area on the aptitude test and I was being pushed to get into a mechanical career field. Although I am a bit mechanical, can fix stuff if I need to, change my oil if I have to etc, I wanted to work with computers. Computer programming was nothing like it is today. It was considered an administrative career field back then. I really wanted to work with computers so I enlisted in the “open administrative” career field which meant I would chose my job when I got to Basic Training. When I went to choose my job, computer jobs were nowhere to be found on the list. I ended up picking a job I knew nothing about or even what it was. The job was called “Contracts Specialist.” I only picked it because it had the highest required score to get into it. I figured you had to be smarter to do that job than the rest of the others so I chose Contracting not know what the job was about.
I basically stumbled into the Contracting career field by accident and 30 years later I am teaching and helping people be better negotiators and ensuring they have the tools to never be taken advantage of again. If you want to be a better negotiator, my Think Like A Negotiator course 11-13 October is guaranteed to help you do just that. Check out the online store for more details.
I never thought of myself as a trail blazer. You hear about a lot of women that flew planes, helicopters, drove tanks etc. I flew a desk. Not very interesting compared to some of the others. I am proud of my service and don’t discount it. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I have inserted a rifle drill routine into my speaking presentation in order to stand out from the herd so to speak.
I realize from talking to Cat that I am a trailblazer and I achieved a lot more than I realize at times. Sometimes it takes someone on the outside looking in to remind you of just what you’ve accomplished. I retired as a Master Sergeant, not an easy rank to get to, especially when I had to prove myself in a man’s world with sexual harassment and assault as part of the journey. It was the extreme harassment I received in the Middle East the made me decide to retire after 23 years of service. I wanted to be a Chief Master Sergeant but couldn’t handle it anymore after that deployment. I had had enough.
What does one of your friends need to do to remind you of all you’ve accomplished? You may not have been in the military but don’t discount what you’ve done to get to where you are today. Call up one of your friends and ask them what they see in your journey. The reminder will brighten your day.
Today I am excited about the release of my upcoming book and my upcoming event. The military gave me the training to persevere in the face of adversity, the discipline to stick with it when I wanted to quit and the strength to carry on. Thanks Cat for the reminder! You totally rock!
Check out Cat at http://www.oneleggedblonde.com/