The 2019 Girl Up Leadership Summit is right around the corner. This year’s summit is overflowing with amazing activities, speakers, workshops, and some serious girl power! Over 450 participants from around the world will come together to celebrate what it means to be a girl in 2019, and also acknowledging what strides we have yet to make in the fight for gender equality – asking how we can push our schools, communities, countries, and the world to do better. Each girl will bring her passion and experience, fueling her fight for gender equality.
As you walk into the Ronald Reagan Building on July 15, I challenge you to take a step outside of your comfort zone. Let’s use the few days we have together to try something new- be it attending a workshop on an unfamiliar topic or striking up a conversation with a girl you just met: I promise it will be worth it! Here are my top 5 tips for easing out of your comfort zone:
- Positive Self Talk. When we meet new people, we often judge ourselves much harder than anyone else does. Therefore, it is so important to be your own best friend and hype woman! When you tell yourself that you look fabulous or that it will be a great day, you are setting yourself up for success.
- Imagine the Worst Case Scenario. If you are scared to ask a question during a workshop or talk to the girl next to you, imagine the worst thing that could happen. Maybe the group doesn’t understand your question, or you don’t have the world’s most fascinating conversation with your neighbor. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not such a big deal and you have so much to gain by putting yourself out there!
- Understand Your Limits. When participating in any event with hundreds of people, it is important to remember that we all come from diverse backgrounds and have different needs. Some of us are extroverts who love to talk 24/7. Others are more introverted, preferring to listen and process more. While it is important to push yourself, you should also be aware of your boundaries. For example, if you are more of an introvert, don’t pressure yourself to talk to twenty people a day. Instead, start by speaking to one or two people. If you love to gab, remember to look around you and step back once in a while to create space for others to step up.
- Find Common Ground. It may feel overwhelming to meet so many girls from all over the world. If you are ever struggling to strike up a conversation with someone, find some common ground. You could ask how she got involved with Girl Up, what issues she is passionate about, or even her favorite TV show.
- Have Fun! One of the best things about Girl Up is the community and positivity. At Girl Up, every girl is worthy – not because of her accomplishments or successes, but also because she is her own unique, fabulous self. So, don’t worry about making a mistake or looking silly. Just have fun!
Yardena Gerwin was the Summer 2019 Girl Up Events Intern.