When my husband, Dave, passed away last spring, my whole notion of plans crumpled. I stopped trying to meditate, but my connection to this group of friends was one of the things that helped pull me through. They checked in daily. Even though they live across the country, they showed up early and often. They did not just hold me as I cried—they cried with me. One day when I was feeling particularly alone and down, a card from one of them arrived in the mail. It said, “One day she woke up and understood we’re all in this together.” It has hung above my desk ever since. These amazing women have supported me since I was ten years old—through ups and downs, laughter and tears, life and now death. Together, we have been through adolescence, college, starting careers and families. They’ve advised me on everything—from what dress to wear to the prom to what job to take. They were part of the inspiration for Lean In Circles and they are a big part of why I am able to smile again. I believe deeply that everyone needs this kind of help and connection. We all need people who encourage us, believe in us, and remind us that we are not alone. For women, this kind of support can be especially important in navigating our lives and pursuing our ambitions. Too often the world tells women why they can’t do something; our friends are the ones who tell us we can... and help us figure out how.