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Breaking Barriers: My Journey in a Man's World

Breaking Barriers: My Journey in a Man's World

Steel-toed boots, hard hats, the cacophony of machinery—this was my world for over 17 years. When I first set foot on a construction site at the age of 21, I was a rare sight: a young woman in a space dominated by men.

My journey in this world, as you can imagine, was punctuated by challenges and triumphs, doubts and discoveries. Here’s a glimpse into my tale of breaking barriers.

The Beginning: Overwhelmed but Unyielding My entry into construction was unexpected. With no experience, no mentor to guide me, and surrounded by skepticism, those initial days were overwhelming. There were times I questioned if I was out of depth. But every time I looked at the blueprints, the designs, and visualized the structures they'd become, I felt an irresistible pull. It was more than a job; it was a passion taking shape.

Overcoming Sexism: Building Resilience The stares, the whispers, the overt and covert remarks—sexism was a frequent, unwelcome companion. But instead of letting it diminish me, I used it as a tool for growth. Every snide remark was a reminder that I was different, and with difference came the power to disrupt and redefine norms.

Discovering Allies: Brotherhood & Sisterhood on the Site While the challenges were numerous, they weren’t the whole story. I forged strong bonds with some incredible individuals. There were men who became allies, offering their support and guidance. And slowly, as more women joined, we formed a tight-knit sisterhood, our collective strength propelling us forward.

My Biggest Lessons: Embracing the Journey Every setback is a setup for a comeback. There were projects that failed, designs that were rejected, and days I felt defeated. But each setback taught me something invaluable and paved the way for future successes.

 

Your voice matters. In those initial days, I often hesitated to speak up, fearing dismissal. But with time, I realized that my perspective, born from my unique experiences, was essential. Speaking up, even when it was uncomfortable, often led to better outcomes.

Mentorship is key. While I started without a mentor, I became one. Helping other women navigate this challenging world became one of my most fulfilling roles.

From Construction to Connection: The Evolution As the years passed, my passion began to shift. The love for construction made room for another powerful force: the desire to connect, inspire, and empower. The challenges I faced, the stories of the incredible women I met, all converged, leading to the creation of "She Who Dares Wins." A movement. A community. A beacon for every woman seeking her path in this vast world.

My journey in a man’s world wasn’t easy, but it was transformative. It’s a testament to the fact that barriers, no matter how tall or strong, are meant to be broken. To every woman reading this: Embrace your journey, shatter those ceilings, and remember, in every challenge lies an opportunity to redefine the world. 

 

Much love,

Michelle

She who dares wins! 

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