Tonight I celebrated the 31st birthday of a friend I met in DC just over a year ago, about a month before her 30th birthday, which I also was privy to. A small gathering in the backyard of her boyfriend’s mother’s house, we each went around the table toasting to her, sharing our little nuggets of how Molly has impacted our lives, whether we’ve known her for five years, a year, or maybe only a few months.
She’s a connector, someone who puts you in touch with other fabulous, inspiring, empowering people, just like her. She looks out after you, pushing you to set goals for yourself, and to take steps to achieve them. She makes sure you are better than you can be, and that you surround yourself with people who also want that for you. Molly was just mentioned in a new book, Empowered, about her work to help create Africa Rural Connect, a National Peace Corps Association project that helps connect RPCVs and African scholars to support African farmers. And true to life, we each had something to say about how Molly has empowered us as individuals, in our personal lives and professional.
The number of friends in my life that I can truly say empower me and support me are few, and I’m really blessed to know them. Not all of our friends are meant to fill that role – some are there to gossip with and relax with, some are there strictly in a professional sense, some are childhood friends that know all the funny or embarrassing stories and deep secrets, and some are acquaintances that you meet up with for coffee or a lunch every few months just to keep the relationship alive. But how many people tell you that the next time they see you, they want you to have taken one step toward one of your goals? How many people name you one of their accountability coaches? Which ones tell you that they are first in line to support [Your Name Here], Inc? Those are the ones that empower, the ones that serve you and others around them as much or more than they serve themselves. These are the people that see right through all the garbage and the drama and your age and your shit, and know right away what you want, they know what makes the real you.
Who are these people for you? Are you that person for someone else?
**This post is dedicated to Molly, Drew, and Ryan.