Celebrate the women who have had a positive impact on your life, as these three women have had on mine.

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March is Women’s History Month, a great time to celebrate women who have had a positive impact on the world and on your own life. For me, three women stand out as role models and I will always appreciate them for their courage, compassion and determination.

My grandmother. She grew up during the Great Depression in a tiny, rural town where eighth grade was the highest level of education offered. No matter what the weather, she would walk several miles to go to school in a drafty, one-room schoolhouse. Food was scarce and survival was difficult, but no matter what obstacles she had to overcome, my grandmother always had a positive attitude and a smile on her face.

Here are two of her lessons I’ll never forget:

  • “Always lend a helping hand. Lend more help to others than you ask for help yourself, and give back to the world more than you take.”
  • “Treat others as they want to be treated, not necessarily as you want to be treated.”

Eleanor Roosevelt. I remember studying about her life during history classes and thinking that, like my grandmother, Eleanor had an uncanny ability to cut straight to the heart of matters when it came to people. Never reprimands, her advice was direct and filled with the supportive love of someone who had learned what it takes to make it through times of great difficulty.

Here are three of my favorite quotes associated with Eleanor Roosevelt:

  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
  • “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
  • “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Grace Hopper. When I began my career in the medical technology industry, there were few female role models because it was (and still is) a very male-dominated industry. I remember reading an article about Grace Hopper and, while we never met, she immediately became one of my favorite role models in the field of technology.

Grace was one of the first women in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. She joined the U.S. Navy during World War II and led the team that created the first computer language compiler, which led to the COBOL language. Grace eventually became known around the world as the “Grandmother of COBOL” and the “Queen of Coding.” When she retired from the Navy at age 79, she was a rear admiral and the oldest serving officer.

Here are two quotes associated with Grace Hopper that have inspired me throughout my career:

  • “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
  • “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It’s much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.”

These are three female role models who taught me the importance of truly experiencing life, not just living it. They showed me that to succeed (at anything) requires determination and perseverance. And, they inspired me to never be afraid to pursue my dreams — even if I’m paving a new path.

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.