November 10

How to Be A Woman…How to Believe in Yourself

So I had seen the 2010 movie Secretariat years ago and remembered it fondly. He wins! What’s better than that? I’ll tell you what’s better – the true story of the woman behind the horse.

Penny Chenery had gone to college in the late 1940’s but gave up a law degree and career to raise a family. And for much of the movie, and her true experience, if not all of it, she battles condescending men, including her own husband.

She followed her intuition about a horse and believed in him and herself enough to see the process through to the nail-biting end.

For me, one of the most poignant moments had nothing to do with the race but a moment between Penny and her husband. Throughout the movie he had been less than supportive, a few times, downright against her. He believed she should give up her mission and return to the family full time. As it was she was tearing herself apart to be in two places at once. Sound familiar? But in the eleventh hour, her husband turned it around and stood by his wife as she enjoyed the rewards of her hard work.

“You’ve taught our girls how to be a woman…How to believe in yourself,” he said.

That one line shot through my heart watching this movie. That is the heart of a woman –


It’s what’s buried under millennia of suppression and a lifetime of self-doubt. And I don’t know many, if any, women that rise from birth without any faltering in the confidence department. Watching Penny battle chauvinism in the early ‘70’s with grace was beyond inspiring. I found myself questioning if I would have been so strong in the face of so many belittling men. At first I thought the answer would be no. But then I’ve rarely been in that situation.

Practice and Age

Practicing anything makes you better. And that goes for confidence in any situation. How often are we given a situation so extreme as Penny’s? Maybe a lot, maybe never, it’s all about life experience. But it’s also tied to desire. What do you want to manifest in your life? Anything worthwhile is worth working and oftentimes fighting for.

This wisdom comes with age as well as experience. Oftentimes the two are intricately tied. Penny was turning 50 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown. As I see 50 on the horizon in three years I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable going after what I want and ruffling a few feathers to get it.

We can all use some inspiration these days and Secretariat doesn’t disappoint.