“Be M.I.N.E Valentine”

Be My Valentine

This February

I have made it my goal to make sure women celebrate and love the leader within. Women make amazing leaders! This is a fact. I know this to be true because I have served with some amazing military leaders who just happened to be women.

But since retiring from the Army after my 22 year career, I’ve found myself constantly having to remind women what amazing leaders we are. I recently had the opportunity to speak at a university in San Antonio. I posed a question to the Veteran Students, ‘What does a leader look like?’ I intentionally asked the young ladies in the audience to answer this question, then followed it up with, ‘Are you a leader?’

I was shocked and saddened to watch them struggle to answer ‘yes,’ as if they were asking me a question. I then inquired what they did while attending the school and they shared with me some of their accomplishments. I must be honest, I was impressed! Yes, these young women were doing amazing things in school and in support of their student population.

Once I expressed my admiration for the things they had accomplished, I pointed out that they too were leaders. Their whole demeanor changed and they sat up a little bit taller. The owned it!

Yes, as women we must own the fact that we are leaders, and damn good leaders, if I don’t say so myself. Especially my military sisters – let’s not forget the things we accomplished while in uniform, often times under extreme pressure.

Sisters, if you have forgotten some of the skills that you fine-tuned while in service, here is a reminder that should spark your memory and make the leader in you stand a little taller.

By military definition leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation. Are you standing a little taller yet? Well, keep reading…

Motivate. Leaders motivate others to take action, get things done, accomplish the mission. It’s just what we do. Many describe leaders as charismatic, captivating, or possessing a magnetic personality. I describe it as leading by example and gaining the respect and loyalty of your Troops.

Integrity. Great leaders are honest with strong moral principles. I was taught in military training that great leaders do what’s right even when no one is looking. I remember thinking, this is the true test of one’s integrity because it is easy to take a short cut when no one is looking. Great leaders always win when they choose to stand on integrity.

Nurture. Most women are nurturing by nature and many in the military would have us to believe that this is not a good trait of a leader, but I would disagree. Nurturing leaders grow leaders within the ranks. They work hard to grow the strengths of those

around them for the benefit of the team.

Effective. Effective leaders get the job done! They are successful in producing the desired results. They pull all their characteristics, talents, and skills together to accomplish the mission – oftentimes, doing so effortlessly. Ok, maybe not oftentimes, more like sometimes – but all the time, we look good leading the way.

Sisters, walk taller and choose to let the leader inside of you stand out – the world is waiting to meet

her. Happy Valentine’s Day, Be M.I.N.E. #Salute

Lila Holley is a retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer Four, award-winning author of three books that reached #1 on several Amazon best-seller lists. In her book ‘Battle Buddy: Maneuvering the Battlefield of Transitioning from the Military’ Lila chronicles her own struggles with depression during her transition process in hopes of helping Military Members and Veterans through the emotional process of transitioning from military life to civilian life. Lila is also the Visionary Author behind ‘Camouflaged Sisters: Revealing Struggles of the Black Woman’s Military Experience’ and ‘Camouflaged Sisters: Silent No More’ where she partnered with other courageous Female Service Members and Veterans to share their stories of success in the military despite facing challenges along their journey. Contact Lila at contactme@lilaholley.com or at her website http://camouflagedsisters.com.

A Treasure – Military Sisterly Bond

The bond between women is such a strong and unique relationship. The bond between military women is especially unique and oftentimes stronger than that of blood relatives.

This was the reason I started The Sisterhood, I felt alone when I retired from the military and missed that special connection I had with my sisters in arms. I knew that if I was feeling that way, other women who had transitioned from the military must be feeling the same way. I was right.

It really did my heart good to hear from other women who saw the value in a network like this, made specifically for us military women. We’ve walked in each other’s boots and know the struggles of serving in uniform.

Only another military woman would be able to understand how torn my emotions were when I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter while preparing to deploy with my Soldiers. While I was overjoyed that my husband and I were finally pregnant with our first child, I was a little saddened that I was not able to deploy to the Middle East after training up my Soldiers. Unless you’ve served, it is probably hard to understand these feelings and the bond among Service Members.

‘How could you leave your baby and go to a foreign land and fight in a war?’ is what I’ve heard from women who have never worn the uniform, while my military sisters have shared ‘the look’ with me – the look that says ‘I know’, ‘I understand’, ‘Been there’. This is what Sisterly Love is among military women – this is why The Sisterhood was created, to give us a place to be uniquely who we are as a result of our military experience.

I’ll end with this post I shared on social media – Military women are rare creatures. Not like a freak of nature, but more like a rare species to be treasured.

Learn more about The Sisterhood at http://camouflagedsisters.com/jointhesisterhood/