It is no coincidence that their name is pronounced the same as ‘wily’. Wyllie women are most certainly cunning, artful, crafty, and sharp. They have the determination to always succeed and the charm to win over almost anyone. They are imperfect and perfect simultaneously. These women are my inspiration.
Wyllie women define the standard of being smart, adventurous, and tenacious women. They care for others, travel the world, shine through adversity, and can make a mean dinner.
In honor of Women’s Heritage Month, here are some of the things I’ve learned from these amazing ladies.
An Education is an Adventure
It is not a stretch to say that Wyllie women are brilliant. Their quest for knowledge expands beyond the classroom to explore the ends of the earth.
Dr. Kiera Wyllie wrote a 385 page doctoral dissertation to earn her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2002. She has been one of my favorite teachers, even though I haven’t been lucky enough to take any of her classes. But she doesn’t just write the story – she explores the world.
Some of my favorite childhood memories include creating secret code letters made with the hieroglyphics stamp-set that my Aunt Kiera sent from her recent trip to Egypt. Even now, she can captivate a room with details from her most recent travels – from the jungles of Borneo to the castles in Scottland. She is creative, fun, and full of adventure. She has taught me that the quest for knowledge is more valuable than a degree – and the only obstacles towards discovery are my own inhibitions. Aunt Kiera is a woman that inspires me to never settle and to continue to push myself forward.
A Sense of Humor is Everything
Robyn Holm is the funniest person in the world. She epitomizes the class and grace of our grandmother – but a quick comment or facial expression can have you rolling on the floor in laughter. Robyn sets the perfect example of how a sense of humor doesn’t require someone to be loud and obnoxious, and can present a great opportunity to connect with others. It is the subtlety in her humor that makes you instantly fall in love with her.
A tasteful sense of humor is at the foundation of a Wyllie woman’s charm. It opens the door for a friendship to begin. Humor relieves the stress in a situation, puts others at ease, and establishes a common ground. Studies indicate that the two most desirable traits in leaders are a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor – and Robyn has both.
Keep Calm & Carry On
Wyllie women have experienced tough times – from losing a loved one in wartime to divorce to worse – and it is their resiliency that I’m most impressed with. Sandy Wyllie has famously said, “There are happy people and sad people, you get to decide which one you want to be.” We are the ones that choose whether or not we laugh about a misstep and move on. Wyllie women push forward.
Katie Hill is a strong, intelligent, and talented woman that always pushes forward. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Katie didn’t just push forward – she bulldozed cancer down! She did 8 rounds of chemo and only missed one day of work. She wore colorful wigs to raise her spirits when her hair fell out and continued to dance. Katie is fearless.
Awesome video of Katie dancing only 2 months after radiation therapy: http://youtu.be/xu5r6RbdH1g
Sandy Wyllie has taught me more than I could possibly share in a million posts – but one of the most valuable lessons is that the way we present ourselves matters. Our appearance can convey our personality, values, work ethic, health, and self-esteem. Personal style should not be a distraction – but an opportunity to present ourselves in the most positive light possible.
Sandy is classic. She knows what looks best on her body and steers away from overly-trendy fashion. She taught me that investing in high-quality staple items will be a much higher benefit than a closet full of outdated clothing. Sandy keeps it preppy and simple. And with the exception of my rebellious teenage years, I try to dress just like her.
You Can Do It
Hilda Wyllie could do anything – and she did. After living through the great depression, Hilda raised her 5 boys alone when her husband died at only 48 years old. She worked with the elderly into her late 80’s and seized every opportunity to enjoy life.
One of my favorite stories is when Hilda wanted to go to Japan. She was in her 70’s at the time, and her son’s were worried about her traveling alone. Hilda assured them that she would be fine, and set off on her vacation – by herself – to the other side of the world. She didn’t let the fact that she didn’t have a companion stop her from seeing new things.
There are tons of other stories about Hilda’s tenacity and drive. She was independent, funny, and one of the coolest ladies you could ever meet. Don’t let anything stand in your way – go for it if you really want it.
Support Other Women
Anyone can be successful if they have confidence. I have been incredibly lucky to not only have these amazing women in my life, but to also have them encourage me along the way. These women believe in one another and support each other as they take on new challenges. This doesn’t mean that we don’t fight – we are family after all – but it means that we have each other’s back no matter what.
Thank you to all of the wonderful Wyllie women that have helped me along the way!