My girlfriends and I recently went on an adventure inside an escape room, one of those places where they lock you in a room and you must solve a variety of puzzles to escape. Handcuffed with only an hour on the clock, I was pretty nervous. But the cool thing about great girlfriends is they can help you power through almost anything. After solving a couple of obstacles, my confidence grew. And with just 17 seconds left, we escaped! We laughed and screamed, jumped wildly around and hugged each other joyously. I guess I just don’t know what I can accomplish until I try. But my girlfriends had faith in me, and that went a long way. Sometimes, all it takes to conquer what seems an insurmountable task is someone having a little confidence in you.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than 70 Percent
As any woman can attest, that support system can play a major role in helping boost self-esteem. But when you’re a teenage girl and your self-esteem is as elusive as a clear complexion, it’s more vital than ever to have encouragers in your life. According to DoSomething.org, more than 70 percent of girls ages 15 to 17 admit they avoid normal activities—even attending school—when they feel crummy about their looks.
While we could blame society or puberty, the reality is we, as women, need to be more proactive in quashing such attitudes. The next time a denigrating comment might slip out of your mouth, whether it’s about another woman or even yourself, bite your tongue. Replace that negativity with some enthusiastic support because a little bit of confidence can lead to some real girl power!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sarah Herron, Founder and CEO of SheLift
You may know today’s Woman to Watch from the reality show The Bachelor. Sarah Herron broke new ground when she appeared on the show’s 17th season as the first contestant with a physical disability. But it’s her passion project, SheLift—a nonprofit that aims to empower girls to improve their self-confidence—that is sure to become her real legacy.
Because of a condition known as amniotic band syndrome, Sarah was born with only the upper part of her left arm. But she doesn’t let that define her. Instead, her insurmountable accomplishments do all the talking.
A successful creative producer, Sarah has created campaigns for major brands like Target and Starbucks, and worked with the American Legacy Foundation’s Truth campaign to help eradicate cigarette smoking. And she recently expanded her role to include film production and content development.
But as a self-described “do-gooder, first and foremost,” Sarah is brazenly turning her penchant for the outdoors into impactful outreach. Sarah is a big fan of climbing mountains and skiing double-black diamond runs, but it wasn’t until she was 25 that she finally gained the courage to try skiing for the first time. It wasn’t the fear of the mountain that held her back, rather the fear of what others would think of her. But she was a natural, and as her skiing skills progressed, she found her courage trumped any insecurities she may have had. And that’s what SheLift is all about. The organization inspires girls and women to build confidence by conquering outdoor quests.
Sarah’s mission is to normalize our differences and help girls gain positive body images through physical activity by providing a safe environment with peers who share similar distinctions. This fosters a sense of acceptance and belonging. By motivating girls to encourage each other to break out of their comfort zone—often literally on the side of a mountain—SheLift relies on the transformative power of adventure to instill a sense of “I can do it!”
Every girl has a mountain to conquer. As Sarah says, “whether it’s on the slopes, on a trail or on a show, finding love is possible—and it starts with yourself!”
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s end today’s On The Dot with a quote from the ever-fierce Tyra Banks. She said:
“You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman!”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
Head shot photo by: Brandon Kidd