Austinite Alexis Jones, founder of the non-profit and author of book, I Am That Girl, weighs in with a letter of advice to a Millenial girl and her mother that will inspire, inform and move you into action.
Photography courtesy of I Am That Girl
I will admit it, I have a dream job. I’m motivational speaker and the founder of the non-profit, I Am That Girl, an organization founded to remind girls of their innate worth. I’ve now been in the trenches four years, speaking to over a hundred thousand girls in person and over one million online, listening to and talking with girls and moms just like you. From inner city schools, to the rural outback, from tiny villages in Cambodia and Egypt to the glitz and glam of Hollywood and I have heard and seen it all. Below are the nuggets of wisdom I learned from the girls and women I’ve had the privilege of encountering on my awesome journey,
Be a Passionista. Life is what you make of it. You have the choice to live it in black and white, or you have the choice to author the most brilliantly color-filled adventure you can imagine. If you don’t know what you are passionate about, take the time to figure it out. Try new things, step out of your comfort zone and be willing to take chances. You’ll know when it hits you because you light up from the inside out. Also, passions can evolve, change and transform throughout your lifetime, so it is never too late to discover a new one.
Be First. It is really easy for us girls to put others before ourselves because it can feel so good. The only time this goes wrong is when we stop taking care of ourselves and start taking care of others instead. Whether it is a new school, job, significant other or even our children; it is easy to lose our identity and get caught up in someone else’s. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that if I’m not filled up and taking care of me, I am no good to anyone else. There is a good kind of selfish that makes sure you’re equipped to be there for others and it requires that you take care of you first.
Be Hardcore. When it comes to your dreams it’s easy to talk about what you want in life, but often people forget to ask the important question, what are you willing to sacrifice? We all have excuses of why we have not accomplished what we want and if you are willing to silence them all, to take 100% responsibility for your life and all your actions, you can take charge and manifest your own dreams. Being hardcore is about not making excuses and doing all the hard work required for being the most awesome version of you.
Be Unpopular. While there is so much pressure to fit in, there is nothing cooler than dancing to the beat of your own drum. There will be moments in your life, where what you do or say it not the most popular thing, but if you have the courage to speak your truth, then you will always be guided in the right direction. One of my biggest personal challenges is to not have my confidence dance on the approval of others. It is easy to say and hard to do, but nothing is more attractive than an unwavering confidence.
Be Bold. The real question you have to ask yourself is, how badly do you want something? Being bold is not about being fearless; it is about being pride-less. You have to put yourself out there even if it is scary. I have often heard that being courageous is a characteristic you are either born with or not and I strongly disagree. I believe that boldness is a muscle and you have to exercise it to make it strong. So exercise being bold today and see what kind of magic you can make.
Be Resilient. This is one of the most important lessons I learned because it is not about if you fall down, make a fool of yourself or mess up; it is about when and whether you have the guts to get back up. I was told once that success was synonymous with resilience and it takes being incredibly brave to get back up and try again. Whether it is your dream job, asking your crush out on a date, starting your own company or signing up for that dance class; there is always a chance we fail, so the only thing we can ask of ourselves is are we willing to try again? And, again?
Be A Sponge. Nothing you are going through or will go through is unique. Sorry to break the news, but the reality is that whatever it is, be it heartbreak, disappointment, success, fears, doubts or triumphs; someone, somewhere has experienced it, too and can shed light on your life and your experiences. The point is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when there are so many people who would love to be your mentor and help guide you on your incredible journey. Few things are as important as who you enroll into your personal board of directors so sign up the best.
Be Of Service. In a world that is constantly convincing us that we should consume, it is hard to put the emphasis on contribution; yet that is warehouse of our joy! Nothing is more rewarding than living a life where you are fighting for something bigger than you. I say all the time that I have the best job in the world because I get to pour into others, remind girls that they are awesome and inspire people to see their brilliance. Find a job or hobby where your mission is investing in others and it will repay you a hundred times in return.
For more information on I Am That Girl: Discover How To Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose and #Bethatgirl. visit Iamthatgirl.com