Monday, January 16, 2023

Tips for Empowering Women and Girls in 2023

By GeNeinne Samuels

Last November, The Atlantic published a damning report on the state of adolescent girls in the age of Instagram and TikTok. The magazine, now owned by Steve Jobs’ widow, Lauren, reported that “rates of depression, anxiety, and self-injury surged in the early 2010s, as social-media platforms proliferated and expanded.” 

It explained that boys and young men were less at risk because “adolescence typically heightens girls’ self-consciousness about their changing body and amplifies insecurities about where they fit in their social network.” In other words, young women need mentors and coaches to reinforce their beauty and belonging, not just the airbrushed, romanticized versions of themselves that they see on social media. 

I know the impact of having a coach who cares — someone to extend a helping hand and say, “I got you.” Girls on the cusp of womanhood need to be told that they were created perfectly imperfect by design. The game of life is about succeeding, as well as failing and learning from those failures. They are not supposed to be “perfect” in every single area and they should work on getting better every day, but give themselves grace where they fall short. But they also need to know that it’s up to them to keep pushing forward to become that better version of themselves, little by little each day.

Sisterhood through group activity and group thinking creates a bond that is hard to understand and almost impossible to duplicate. Through sports, dance, sorority meetings, and other team activities, we ladies tend to create an alliance that stands the test of time.  

Even so, being part of a team is far more than wearing the same uniform or t-shirt or shaking pom poms, or passing the baton. It gives us the opportunity to live, love, and laugh next to some of the highest quality and talented ladies we’ll ever know: our friends. We collaborate together, learn together, struggle together, cry together, and celebrate together. We see others fail, yet get back up and realize that it’s a part of everyone’s existence. As a coach myself, here are some things I will share with young women this year to help empower them.

Recognize your worth and hold on to your power

Be grateful for your amazingness, your imperfections, your strength, your weaknesses, and your power. You were perfectly created and designed. Constantly repeat, say, and feel “I am” affirmations that remind you about how great you are. Don’t allow naysayers, society, or haters to devalue your worth or perception of your awesomeness!

Once you recognize, believe, and feel your worth, don’t give away this power to anyone. Say “yes” to the things that serve you and help you grow. Say “no” to things that won’t move you forward toward your goals and dreams. Stop doing what other people want you to do. Demand your worth and step into the powerful woman that you are.

Fill your cup, before trying to fill others

Focus on you first; your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Self-care is imperative in order to live a bold, empowered life. When your cup is full, it enables you to help others in a profound way. Make it a priority to spend time meditating, journaling, working out, and just pampering yourself. If your cup feels low, it’s okay to talk about it and get help. It’s normal to feel down — just don’t stay down. Remember: there has to be darkness before the light!

Surround yourself with a winning team

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” That’s what Jim Rohn said. Your environment matters — your home, bedroom, friends, classmates, etc. It all matters, so clean it up. 

If your environment and the people in it don’t encourage you, empower you, support you and lift you up, then it’s time to do some spring cleaning. We all need cheerleaders in life, so make sure your personal cheer team deserves to be on the squad.

Always be improving 

In order to realize that next level of greatness, you have to be willing to do things you’ve never done before, so get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable right now. You grow, learn and excel the most after defeat, failure, and setbacks. 

Every day, focus on being at least one percent better than you were the day before. Remember that you’re in competition with no one except the person who you were yesterday.

Bottom line: you’ve got this, so step into your greatness.

— GeNienne Samuels is the President/CEO and Co-Founder of Sideline Prep, a training platform that gives aspiring professional cheerleaders the knowledge, style, and glamor to walk into professional cheerleading prep classes and auditions with confidence. GeNienne is an 11-year professional cheerleader, Captain, and Pro Bowl Cheerleader of the NFL and NBA.

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