Recently, I was granted the opportunity to discuss confidence and self esteem with rising high school freshmen who are participating in Goodwill's Youth Program of Charlotte. In preparing for this speaking engagement, I found myself reminiscing of the summer before I became a freshman in high school.
At Kennedy Middle, I ran track for 2 or 3 years--hurdles, 4 x 100 relay and 100 yard dash. I had spent that summer in New Jersey eating whatever I wanted and foregoing any discipline for conditioning. I didn't take track seriously. But because I loved sports, I opted to play tennis for three years in high school. I enjoyed every moment of it.
Now, decades later, I still enjoy working out and conditioning. The things I learned then about body conditioning continue to help me build self-esteem and body-confidence. The kids need to know this ... that even if they are not good at sport(s), staying active/playing sport(s) can be used to build body-confidence and self esteem. I drove home that staying active is key to living a successful life.
Even further, we discussed how joining organizations and associating with like-minded students can help them boost and maintain their self esteem and confidence. The more involved, the better.
The more the students are involved, the more they will find their authentic selves. And this, in it of itself, is another key to living a successful life. I explored my personal interests with them--fashion, photography, writing, and student government--in hopes that it would incite them to explore their own personal interests.
We discussed the importance of tenacity and perseverance. Through hard times, students must know that anchoring themselves in the things that they love can make them feel confident enough to complete tasks towards any goal.
The students in this program were a joy to be around. I feel incredibly blessed every time I get the opportunity to speak to young people about their future and how to best take care of their present for their future. I'm elated to have shared my journey with them, and I hope that they continue to use my stories, my journey, to learn lessons that will further empower their dreams.