People often ask me what my career goal is, or where I see myself in the next 10 years. The honest truth? My goal in life is to be genuinely happy. Part of learning what makes you happy is discovering your authentic self. My self-awareness journey started at the Boys & Girls Club.
In elementary school, I vividly remember sitting outside my classroom while my parents were meeting with my teacher, praying I wouldn’t get trouble for being too chatty. I’ve always talked too much. I became self-conscious about my love for talking. But it was at the Club, where I went every day after school and every summer since third grade, that one of my Club mentors helped me appreciate that I’m an extrovert and use it as a strength to balance and help navigate the seriousness of this world. Rather than viewing it as an insecurity, she taught me how to see it as my superpower.
Forging New Paths
In high school, one of my Club mentors helped me understand (and learn to accept) that life is never going to be “easy.” Rather than choosing an easy path, I embarked on those less traveled, which has taught me a lot about the world and myself.
I was part of the ROTC program in high school, where I had to quickly learn how to stand up for myself in a male-dominated environment. I discovered there’s a lot we can learn from the men who have been in the field longer, but I also think there’s an open door for them to learn a lot from women, too.
In college, I chose to pursue the STEM field — another traditionally male-dominated field. I remember being in a Zoom meeting working on a project with all men, and I was the only female. In fact, there were only seven women in the class and around 20 men. It was nerve-wracking, but I reminded myself that, in my own way, I was helping make this field a home for future females who may want to explore STEM!
How did I go from a shy extrovert to forging paths as a female in male-dominated fields? Here’s the roadmap I used on my personal journey — and you can use it on yours, too!
Roadmap to Discover Your Authentic Self
- Be patient.
Self-discovery doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a life-long journey and process.
- Harness self-discipline.
What weaknesses or shortcomings do you need to work on to become the strongest version of yourself? Stay focused on and overcome those challenges.
- Take time to be alone.
You need time to be by yourself to recognize who you really are. Take time alone to self-reflect and explore new passions. Without this, you may never discover new interests!
Discovering your authentic self sounds big and scary, but you can do it! My proudly-extroverted self is cheering you on.
Give More Girls a Great Future
Every girl deserves to discover her authentic self and reach her full potential. Your donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide more girls with positive adult influences and life-changing programs to overcome today’s obstacles and achieve their great futures. In honor of International Day of the Girl, the Dove Self-Esteem Project will match all donations made to Boys & Girls Clubs of America through Monday, October 11, 2021, up to $10,000, to provide meals, academic support and self-esteem boosting programs to help give more girls a great future.