I had the amazing opportunity this week to attend a local high school and talk to a group of grade 9 girls about intention and the importance of setting goals as well as teaching a mini-yoga class. The girls meet on their lunch hour weekly and do various activities, workshops and discussions. I had the opportunity to talk to the previous group of girls last semester and was super excited to be back.
We discussed where we saw ourselves in 10 years, looking at the big picture and then narrowing it down to smaller attainable goals that would help us get to our ultimate dream life one day. I created little cards for each girl that said I (insert name here) will (insert goal here) by April 2014. Before the yoga class each girl wrote down their one year goal. I focused on an intention of adventure. What could you do if anything was possible? If the opportunities were endless? What is your ultimate adventure?
The girls had filled out their 10 year vision the week before I arrived and I had the opportunity to read where they saw themselves and it was truly inspiring. It’s so crazy for me to read their visions because they are seeing themselves in 10 years when they are my age! Every girl wanted to help people in some way or another and they all saw themselves happy. After our practice, I used an activity we have been implementing at my work. I had the girls pick a word and write it on a separate piece of paper. The word is supposed to represent something you need to invite into your life or work on in order to achieve your goals. If you brought this word into your life – how would your life change?
I shared with the girls that my word was trust. I had a very ‘aha’ moment at work the other day when discussing our words. I had decided my word was delegation. A good friend of mine laughed and explained to me that choosing ‘delegation’ was actually a huge cop-out and not authentic at all. She asked me – why don’t you delegate? I said that I take on way too much because I don’t trust anyone to do it the way I would like, that I like to do it all myself and I thrive on having a million things on the go which inevitably leaves me in a panic and results in not doing as good a job as I could have. She explained to me that by not trusting anyone else I was actually screwing over my team and not giving anyone an opportunity to learn, grow or develop. In turn I was actually being incredibly selfish. I hate to admit it, but in all aspects of my life – my word of the year is definitely: trust.
After the girls had written their one year goal and their word of the year I had them place them in an envelope and write their names and addresses on the front. My plan is to mail the girls their letter in 6 months so that they can see how far they’ve come and be reminded of our discussion and their ultimate goal.
As I left with the girls envelopes in my hands, I felt like the safe keeper of their aspirations and dreams. I feel like it is so important, especially today, to empower the younger generation of women to follow their dreams. The emphasis placed on your image nowadays at such a young age, I feel not only skews young women’s perceptions of reality but absolutely destroys their self-esteem. My hope is through goal setting, yoga and empowerment of young women I can explain that your self-worth is not correlated to the reflection you see in the mirror. I feel that I have an obligation as a confident, aspirational young woman to share my goals, obstacles and experience with a younger generation of girls. I also feel that I have an obligation as a woman born into a society where I am incredibly privileged compared to so many women in other parts of the world, to do something.
Whenever I have had the opportunity to teach yoga, fitness or talk about goals with younger women I feel like I have found what I want to do for the rest of my life. My vision for ten years from now is to have a volunteer program for grade 8/9 girls empowering them through fitness and promoting a healthy active lifestyle and body image.
I will be teaching a donation based yoga class at Country Zen in Schomberg this month with the proceeds going to Plan Canada’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ initiative. Stay tuned for details. Also if you’re interested, please watch this incredible video from the campaign.
The Girl Effect
with love & kindness,
Sarah Alicia Harvison