Behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women that have her back.

I’m late watching movies [like a solid year-late late] and I just watched Joy — the movie loosely based on entrepreneur Joy Mangano who created the Miracle Mop and then went on have more than 100 patents for her inventions.

The movie was a good one and Jennifer Lawrence did a helluva job playing a spunky entrepreneur who took her life and her business into her own hands against all odds, but one thing really stood out to me: nobody really believed in Joy. She’d made this great product that was literally like nothing else on the market, but most of her family thought she couldn’t be successful.

The only people who stayed by her side for the entire time was her grandmother who passed away before she reached her eventual level of success, her ex-husband-turned-friend, and her best friend Jackie, played by the amazing Dascha Polanco who I loved interviewing back in 2014.

Jackie was always there. She never faltered in her belief that her friend had greatness inside here. She pushed her to keep fighting for funding, she’d step in and tried to help Joy sell the mop in Kmart parking lots, and she called into QVC and asked all the questions about the Miracle Mop that she knew would get Joy to really be able to sell her idea to the world. As far as friends go, Jackie was A1.

As an entrepreneur, I’m really, really lucky: I have a lot of Jackies (and Jacks). They’ve always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I started writing in 2010 and there’s been a ton of times when I really wanted to give up. But every time I hit a wall, there was a friend to help push me over it.

My friends are simply the bomb. They’re honest. They are my biggest supporters, and if they think I can do better, my biggest critics.

They are my first line of defense and my best market researchers. I bounce every idea off of them, and if they don’t understand it, they help me make it better.

At every event I throw, they’re volunteering — checking people in, stuffing gift bags, taking pictures, decorating venues. And it’s all because they just want to see me win.

They think I’m talented, which is crazy because sometimes, I really don’t think that I am. In fact, my friends were the first ones to suggest that I write. Had it not been for them, I probably would still be somewhere in a cubicle, doing operations work and thinking that it was the only thing I could do and do well.

Six years later, I know one thing to be true: if you have a dream and no one is helping you pursue it, maybe it’s time you check your circle. You might need to get you a Jackie.

Me and some of my Jackies helping me at one of my Write Chicago workshops for teens. Wherever I am and in whatever I’m doing, they’ve got my back.

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