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Who Are You Thanking This Holiday Season?

It's holiday time, a period when many of us reflect on the year's history and contemplate ideas, hopes, and goals for the upcoming year. During my retrospective musings about this past year, memories of my Personal Vision presentation to approximately 50 wives (and one husband) attending the US Army War College Military Spouse and Family Program, led by Professor Lauren O’Donnell, come to mind. I want to pause and express gratitude for the sacrifices these families make to keep our country safe and, more importantly, for their positive outlook in doing so.

Being the spouse or partner of someone in the armed forces is challenging. Long separations (sometimes lasting years), constant relocations, and the need to prioritize the service person often mean putting personal aspirations on hold. The stress of potential danger and the transient lifestyle of raising children can take a toll, causing spouses to lose sight of their own visions and purposes.

After participating in the vision presentation, which included completing a worksheet, some highly educated women in the group shared stories. I'd like to highlight two. One woman mentioned enriching her education by attending various colleges and diverse programs with no long-term focus each time her family relocated. Through working on her personal vision, she is beginning to realize that she can make choices that align with her own vision and purpose. Another woman has been taking short-term teaching jobs as she moves from place to place. Identifying her vision has empowered her to make better choices about where to invest her energy, leading to greater fulfillment for herself.

What struck me most about my time with these extraordinary, positive women was their mutual support for each other—a circle of protection, friendship, and dedication to country, family, and friendship. They share a common bond not only in their way of life but also in the dangers and struggles they face.

In my research on overcoming challenges, the recurring theme was the importance of building a circle of support. The term most frequently used was "network," but I prefer "circle." It goes beyond one-on-one interactions, encompassing multiple circles of women encouraging and supporting each other through fear, disaster, or the challenges of frequent relocations. It truly takes a village.

As I approach 2024 with the revision of my book “Link Out” (2013) and shift my philosophy toward a circle of success mentality, the support these women provide one another becomes a profound inspiration.

I am sharing some photos here and extending year-end thanks to every individual in the US armed forces and their families for their sacrifice and inspiration. Special appreciation to Jessica Mitchell and Professor Lauren O’Donnell for organizing this remarkable program and inviting me to address this impressive group.

I eagerly anticipate new horizons in 2024.

--Leslie Grossman, Founder, Her Circle Leadership


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