Reflection · ep. 55

I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2022 was really something, it’ll definitely stick out in my memory. The end of a year and beginning of a new year is always a time of reflection for me. Maybe you can relate. I like to remember the highlights that stand out, the lessons I learned, the goals I set, and what I accomplished.

Plough Backwards

Looking back isn’t just for the end of seasons, or years though. Several months ago I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the amount of ToDos that were on my list. I couldn’t see the end of all I needed to get done, there was so much to do. One of my sisters sensed my anxiety and shared a story with me. It’s about a farmer who went out to plough their field, and after working many hours, they felt discouraged seeing how much of the field still had to be done. Then the farmer turned around and started to plough backwards. By simply turning around, the farmer felt less burdened by the work left to do because they now could see how much they had already accomplished and how far they had come. The lesson in this is, when you feel overwhelmed by all you need to do, be like this farmer and plough backwards, metaphorically. Reflect on what you’ve crossed off your list and where you are now compared to where you started. Consider what knowledge and perspective you’ve gained so far. Recognize that you’re capable of continuing because you’ve done hard things before, and encourage yourself to keep going. As you move ahead with your ToDos, periodically turn around and plough backwards again reflecting on all you’ve done, and give yourself another pep talk to keep going.

2022 Highlights

I’ve been reflecting on this past year and I’d like to share some of my highlights, lessons, and goals. First, some highlights–I’ll start with this podcast. I am floored by how much the 10 for Teens + Tweens podcast grew in 2022. 31 episodes, several guest interviews, and more than 250,000 downloads this year, lately averaging more than 20,000 a month. To me those numbers aren’t likes or followers, it’s that 250,000 times over the past year, a girl like you received the message that you are enough, felt seen, and got a BOOST from media instead of being brought down. You sent me over a hundred messages requesting topics, offering feedback, and asking for advice. We talked a lot about stress and mental health, puberty, social media, and relationships, especially with ourselves. Thank you for listening, for sharing episodes with others, for reaching out to me with a suggestion that helps not just you but plenty of girls out there with similar experiences or questions. You’ve made this podcast into something pretty special.

Earlier this year I hosted another Empowerful Girls Pinewood Derby here in Las Vegas, which involves designing and creating a racecar out of a simple block of wood, and racing our cars together on a computerized track. I was blown away by the girls’ creativity, the designs and themes were just so cool. And more than that, I loved to see their self-confidence and pride in their work. Plus they cheered for all the girls and were genuinely happy for each other. The Derby was an absolute blast. 

Another highlight, after pausing for over a year, I resumed in-person Girl Power workshops for girls in my community. I really missed meeting together so it was such a treat to be with and teach girls again. In the Girl Power workshops we discuss individuality + strengths, to gain a stronger sense of self and self-worth; social skills, to communicate with others effectively; positive friendships, to identify elements that make up healthy relationships; friendship fires, to manage negative aspects of relationships; growth mindset, to shift perspective and improve persistence; resilience, to take control of how to respond to problems; gratitude + relaxation, to practice the benefits of being thankful and mindful; and healthy mind + body, to see how taking care of our bodies affects our well-being. I love to watch girls’ faces as they interact and listen to each other. We have thoughtful discussions and good laughs, we create and craft–I just love being together.

I shared a bunch about my big goal in episode 52. You girls inspired me to create three products to help you take on your big ideas, know who you are, and reach your goals. So I opened an online shop to share those products with you. I’d never done that before, it was a mountain of work, and I’m super proud of myself for accomplishing it!

2022 Lessons

Since January’s episode 24, I have focused on curiosity, compassion, and confidence in all facets of my own life and Empowerful Girls. I learned a ton over the past year–from life, from books, from mistakes. Lessons I learned that stand out are:

Taking care of my physical and mental health is not selfish, it’s self-care.

Embracing who I am right now helps me live authentically.

Being dependable doesn’t mean I always have to be available.

Boundaries aren’t mean; they help foster healthy relationships with others.

I also developed stronger executive functioning skills. I planned ahead, made schedules, blocked out my time, and minimized distractions so I could focus better and be more productive. I even read more books than I ever have before in one year.

For you girls, I’d highly recommend:
Reclaim the Rebel, by Lizzy Cangro (episode 29)
The Confidence Code for Girls, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
No Boundaries, by Gabby Salazar and Clare Fieseler (episode 28)

For parents, you may enjoy:
Untangled, Dr. Lisa Damour
Under Pressure, Dr. Lisa Damour
Enough as She Is, Rachel Simmons
Fourteen Talks by Age 14, Michelle Icard
Raising Humans in a Digital World, Diana Graber
Unselfie, Dr. Michele Borba
Digital for Good, Richard Culatta

I’m eagerly looking forward to 2023; I have a bunch of big ideas and plans. Sometimes it’s little overwhelming thinking about all I hope to accomplish. But after ploughing backwards and reflecting on all I was able to do and be a part of this past year, I’m optimistic about what’s ahead.

I’d love to help you reflect on this past year, so I created a “Year Reflection” worksheet for you to print out, thoughtfully fill out, and post on your wall where you’ll see it, remember it, practice it, and believe it — that’s the important part.

And if you have a topic suggestion, I’d love to hear from you! Send an email (tweens get the OK from your parents) to [email protected] .

If you have social media already, follow me on Insta or tiktok @empowerfulgirls. I’m not encouraging or endorsing social media, but I’m on there to offer an unfiltered, uplifting alternative to what’s in your feed. Remember to get on the email list for the newsletter!

Also, if you enjoy listening to 10 for Teens + Tweens, I would truly appreciate you telling your friends about this podcast or leaving a review so others can find it and feel uplifted, too! Your support means the world to me!

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