The Value of Cohorts

I’ve recently returned from a 14 day trip during which I reconnected with three fabulous women who I had not seen for years – in one case, not for decades! The first woman I’ve known since age 6; the second was my college roommate and later my maid of honor; the third, who I met during my soccer mom era, I call my backyard bff.

I organized a Sunday brunch at a great bistro in Denver, during which my backyard bff would meet my other two friends for the first time. Beyond the amazing fact that it took fewer than 30 seconds of face to face time to recognize the old bonds were still intact and new friendships were instantly formed, was the confirmation (at least by the waitstaff at the restaurant) that we truly are interesting, intelligent, fun women who individually have had creatively diverse and successful careers and lifestyles.

All of us are strong life-long learners who collect university degrees, certifications and awards at an overall rate akin to shoe hoarders!

Each of us has lived abroad. Each of us has changed jobs and disciplines multiple times developing zig-zagging career paths. One woman, following her innate talent for helping others, earned a degree in education, became a chef, later studied to become a member of the clergy, and now is working in the insurance and finance industry. Another woman leveraged her passion for the arts to become a top-notch photo director for many well-known national publications. All four of us have flowed through various changes in our lives – some deliberately chosen, others not – which resulted in expanded horizons and a network of friends and colleagues that makes our shared lives rich and rewarding.

Three of the four of us married; two have grown children. Collectively we have faced numerous challenges including: a stubbornly independent, runaway child; the craziness of being “down-sized”; loss of significant personal relationships; discrimination in the workplace; family traumas including the squeeze of parenting kids while one’s own parent fades away due to Alzheimer’s; starting a business; walking away from a business; receiving a promotion with accompanying relocation… and much more.

women need to celebrate their personal cohorts more.

View from Pikes Peak, elevation 14,100 ft

As the brunch ended, business cards were exchanged along with heartfelt hugs; I knew for certain that the “Colorado high” I was experiencing was due to being 100% present and rejoicing with these women about the fabulous successful humans we’ve come to be.

Weeks later, what still resonates is the realization that there are certain points in each individual’s life when the people she chooses to spend time with become incredibly important contributors to her life journey.

Look for people who share your interests and passions, but more importantly friends who will push you to your next horizon by offering you a piece of themselves. By staying connected or reconnecting, you have the ability to access amazing creativity and subject matter expertise which will likely provide the strength and inspiration that propels you to reach your next peak.

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