By Dana Dean
Vice President, Solano County Board of Education
Emerge California, Class of 2014
On my desk at work I keep a card from a little shop in Silverton, Oregon. The quote on the front reads, “Each one of us who travels further than the obstacles will know a different kind of life from that time on…” I have reflected on this statement many times over the years, as I have faced my own difficulties and as I have met folks out in the world who have overcome their own personal obstacles. However, I have never felt it quite as applicable as it is with the women of Emerge.
It is my joy and privilege to be a part of Emerge California’s Class of 2014. In it I am surrounded by great women who have faced their own enormous obstacles and pushed past them to become highly successful. Whether it was the challenge of juggling career and family with the pull toward public service, lack of support, illness, injury, or the exhaustion that comes from handling all of those things, the women of Emerge have not only faced their challenges but learned from them and thrived as a result.
How have they done that? As I believe the women of Emerge know, here’s what you learn when you face an apparently insurmountable challenge and get through it: You learn that you are strong. You learn that just as you succeeded against one challenge, you can draw from the strength inside of you to get through the next, and the next, and all the obstacles that are thrown at you on the way to your goals. Most importantly, you learn that with your strength comes power- the power to be fearless, the power to face down those who would stop you, the power to reach your goals, and the power to influence others to do the same.
The women of Emerge and so many others like them have that knowledge of their own inner strength and, thus, the power that goes with it. However, it is not exclusive to them. You have it too. Take a moment yourself and reflect back on a time when you faced an obstacle. Think about how you adapted to the circumstances or how you fought for what you needed, how strong you really were in the face of adversity and what that felt like. Now, next time you are met with a challenge, call up that memory. Remember what you did and how it felt. Draw on that memory to find strength in the face of your new challenge. You can do it. Just like the Emerge women, you have strength within you and the power that comes with it.