“You Were Always the Wolf” – Abby Wambach

You’ve probably heard “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack” before. Did she… yes, Abby was the one who said it.

She became the New York Times Bestselling Author and Olympic Gold Medalist because she had a different mindset. Fitting in wasn’t something on her to-do list, and this short book is about “how to come together, unleash our power, and change the game” as women in this man-dominated world.

Let’s be honest; the world is put together from a man’s viewpoint, and as soon as a woman is about to hold a seminar speech or similar, some “important” people from the board have to see if her view applies to the men-dominated crowd. It is funny because a man has never gotten that response from a fellow in the field.

Even though this book is pretty short, and you could finish it over a coffee break, it is so important to talk about and read that I probably would incorporate it in school for weekly reading for teens. It is, after all, a super easy read and a New York Times Bestseller. Either way, we can learn something from every book out there. For instance, if it is a poorly written book, we will notice what a poorly written book is and how not to write.

Enough of why everyone should get a copy and read it. Here are my favorite takeaways from Wolfpack. At the beginning of the book, Abby says: “I loved winning and losing as ONE team. I loved being part of something bigger than myself.” She continues to speak from her own experience, so as you keep reading, recognize yourself in her words. Feel what she is trying to get across. 

“We turned each other into better friends, citizens, and human beings.”

“A team of women who unite for a larger goal can achieve the impossible again and again.”

“There is a wolf inside of every woman. Her wolf is who she was made to be before the world told her who to be. Her wolf is her talent, her power, her dreams, her voice, her curiosity, her courage, her dignity, her choices – her truest identity.”

“You’ll feel benched sometimes, too. You’ll find yourself taken off the project, passed over for the promotion, falling sick [etc.]. What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench.”

“If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field.”

After rewriting the first four quotes that I chose to share, the following questions popped up in my head: what am I doing to make others around me better? What does my team look like, and who is on it? Are the women around me acting like wolfs or like scared and sorry creatures? Am I leading from the bench?

Did similar questions sneak up on you?

Moving on to the next set of takeaways:

“Leadership is taking care of yourself and empowering others to do the same.”

“In order to become a champion – on and off the field – I’d need to spend my life transforming my failures into my fuel.”

“Perfection is not a prerequisite of leadership. But we can forgive ourselves for believing it is.”

“Women must stop accepting failure as our destruction and start using failure as our fuel. Failure is not something to be ashamed of – nor is it proof of unworthiness. Failure is something to be powered by.”

So how can leadership mean taking care of yourself? Because if you are taking care of yourself, you can perform at your best ability, which makes others around you better. Also, understanding how failure isn’t such a negative expression will open our minds to new outlooks. For instance, each time we fail, we are one try closer to figuring out what works. Hence, failure must not be such a negatively loaded phrase; turn it around instead.

“When we live afraid to fail, we don’t take risks.”

“A woman who doesn’t give up can never lose.”

“The most inspiring thing on earth is a woman who believes in herself, who gives 100 percent, and who owns her greatness unapologetically.”

“There are as many authentic ways to lead as there are people.”

“The strength of the Pack if the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

Remember:

“Maintaining the illusion of scarcity is how power keeps women competing for the singular seat at the old table, instead of uniting and building a new, bigger table.”

“Revolutions begin with a collective belief [and] are won with collective action.”

“A bigger slice for one woman doesn’t mean a smaller slice for another. We believe that love, justice, success, and power are infinite and meant to be accessible to all.”

“What you do will never define you for long. Who you are always will.”

Finally, in the book Abby dedicates a rule to each chapter. Here are the eight rules from each chapter. Rules that we have all heard before. Some might think this book is written by a woman, to other women, and indeed it is. However, it’s also composed for everyone else, not only from one woman to another woman. Abby is trying to break a circle of all the “usual” writings and sayings. So, woman or man, both or neither, this book is for everyone, no matter gender, in my opinion.

Out with the old rules and in with the NEW:

Until next week, if you aren’t already reading a book, get this one. If you are reading another book right now get Wolfpack and read it right after.

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