Tough Teen Questions Answered by Teen Mentor Lauren M Galley

Today’s teens face alot of pressures. As parents and friends we are trying to navigate social media, life, deal with pressures and some how gain an understanding of it all. Lauren M Galley is founder and president of Girls Above Society. Girls Above Society is a nonprofit organization, which aims to empower girls girls and inspire them to be confident, smart, and beautiful from within. Lauren travels around the nation and does girl talk camps that inspire girls and answer the tough questions. Here are some great go to quesitons we all would like answers to that Lauren just recently sat down and answered…..

ann lenox
Annie Lenox inspires us to learn through life and be inspired.

1. What are the biggest pitfalls for today’s teens?

Today’s teen lives in a unique generation; there has never been one like it. The use of smart phones, laptops and iPads have opened a new world of knowledge and power for youth. Media and Television are shaping teens to believe that if they don’t look a certain way or have popular attributes that they are not good enough. Social Media has altered our face-to-face communication and self-worth is now measured on how many “likes”, followers or media views we collect. I have personally experienced this type of insecurity and have realized that without great mentors, confidence, and a positive hobby or passion, this insecurity can potentially result in depression, anxiety, or even suicide.

lauren girls above society
Lauren M Galley President and Founder of Girls Above Society

2. Social Media

a. What is the next trend for teens?

Teens seem to be gravitating away from applications such as Facebook and Twitter. Teens are dependent on instant gratification and texting is taking tweens and teens to the next level via Snapchat. Snapchat allows teens to send a photo with a message in one click, with the message disappearing within seconds. I use this application often, however it is not my main means of communication. While this popular app might be fun, many teens are taking it to the next level by sexting, even though the recipient can still take a permanent screen shot. This is a risk most teens never consider.

b. Where do you spend your time?

This might be a surprise to many, but I spend a great deal of my time writing and studying. If I’m not on a film set, speaking to a group of girls, or at school you might find me at one of my favorite places such as Starbucks or the lake. If I’ve had a long day and just want to relax, Netflix is my best friend! I believe it’s important to have an even balance between work and fun.

c. How much time do you spend daily on social media?

Due to my schedule, I plan my social media wisely. I have been fortunate to know some amazing mentors and made connections that have enabled me to travel and speak to girls that otherwise I would never have met. It is very easy to get caught up in social media but I try to spend my time on valuable postings instead of wasting time on too much “fluff.” I believe that social media should be a fun addition to our lives, rather than the main focus.

d. Do you take a break? Breaks are a must for me!! I encourage everyone to take a break. Too much of anything leads to burnout. During Fall and Spring semesters I ensure that my schedule includes plenty of downtime, and what I like to call “best friend time.” My summers are spent traveling and giving Girl Talks either at camps or speaking events. My best advice would be to make sure you are keeping in touch with your friends and family, regardless of how busy you are. I look forward to the summers and feel I can focus on empowering girls without the added stress of school.

3. Teen Romance a. Do you say, “Losing your virginity” or “Gaining a Sexual experience?” My generation would definitely use the term “Losing your virginity.” I believe having sex for the first time is such a big decision. Many girls in high school are having sex because they are afraid if they don’t, they won’t keep a boyfriend. This is another reason why I feel so strongly about girls being confident and knowing they are wonderful just the way they are. I know what it’s like to want to fit in, however it is more important to maintain your morals and values. During my high school years I knew girls who might not have otherwise made the choice to have sex, but they felt the act sealed a relationship and validated who they were. Things never ended well and certainly didn’t contribute to their self-worth.

b. What do you think about hooking up?

Hooking up is a terrible idea on so many levels. Reality TV shows such as those like Jersey Shore and The Bachelor teach youth that it’s cool to hook up. Parents are busy and social media use makes it super easy for tweens and teens to become sexual very early in a relationship. Oftentimes, we think everyone else is doing it, but they really aren’t. I think I should have lived back in the day when courting a girl was the way you started a relationship. Because they are immersed in media 24/7, youth today learn that if celebrities hook up then it must be ok. Relationships require work. The current generation wants what is easy and they have little understanding of how to date with respect and class. I also believe that self-worth is lacking in youth, therefore teens are reaching to peers instead of accomplishments for validation.

4. College

a. Do you see lots of binge drinking in college?

Binge drinking in college is typical. I see it more from those who have been sheltered when living at home. Students who have not been allowed to experience alcohol use prior to college (sheltered) usually end up binge drinking. They finally have the freedom and feel the need to drink more than they should. I believe that it’s important to always make sure you are in control of your actions. My parents taught me a great deal about the consequences of drinking, and safely understanding limits to drinking behavior. College life is about the choices you make. I encourage all students to be in control of themselves as well as those with whom they choose to associate.

b. What 5 things should parents know before their kid goes to college?

Make sure college is right for your teen. I know a degree is important when it comes to earning a living and having a career, but I feel like many parents put the pressure of attending a university on their child without regard to their goals in life. College isn’t for everyone and I’ve seen friends pushed into college only to fail and waste money that could have been used towards another avenue in helping their child succeed. I believe that the focus should be on having goals and accomplishing your dreams, not necessarily just receiving a diploma in something you are not passionate about. While parents are sad their child is leaving home, the child is excited and looking forward to a new adventure in life. Allow your child to make important choices and be there to guide them along the way. Teens need to feel a level of independence even though their parents are always there to catch them if they fall. I like feeling independent, however I still need my parents for help and support. Your child might not be as communicative as they were when they were in high school. Try not to be angry. I found myself so busy my first semester that I didn’t text several times a day or call as often as I used to, not because I didn’t care but because I was on a new adventure with so many activities going on around me. I get so stressed about my school work that sometimes I don’t talk to anyone. Once I settled in, I was calling and texting as if I was at home. Your child WILL make mistakes. It is part of the process of maturing into an adult. Don’t condone their mistakes, but don’t condemn your child when they disappoint you either. Support them. I’m thankful that my parents give me advice and support me, without making me feel like a failure when I make mistakes. Your child will change in ways that you never expected. Instead of pursuing that medical or law degree that was really your dream, they might decide that they want to be an artist or journalist. Encourage and support their life choices. It is, after all, their life and not yours. I believe that college is the time to find yourself, so a change in degree or career choice is perfectly normal.

5. High School a. Were you ever bullied?

lauren camp
Lauren working at a Girl Talk camp with middel school and high school girls. Teaching them to be inspiring and kind to each other.

I attended high school up until my junior year. Due to my filming schedule I opted out to attend a community college receiving dual credit. My middle school eighth grade year I was bullied to the point of not wanting to attend school ever again. I know this sounds dramatic but at the time my world had fallen apart because a girl who was jealous of me posted bulletins on MySpace for the world to see. I was so embarrassed and I started to believe the cruel things she said. This was my first “mean girl” experience and I can honestly say that this changed my life forever.

b. Did you have a curfew?

My parents adjusted my curfew to the activity I was doing. I was very involved with theater while in high school so if I was at an event with the theater kids a parent was usually there so my curfew could be later and usually resulted in my mom picking me up. When I got my drivers license my curfew was midnight no matter what. I recall that my friends were in similar situations. I was so excited to get my license, yet even then ended up more times than not being dropped off by my parents, lol.

c. What are 3 things our high school kids are doing that we don’t know about?

I’m not sure if “doing” is the right word. Today’s generation of teens are faced with a lot of feelings that might cause them to do things they might not want their parents to know about. Girls especially are feeling vulnerable and as they face the tough pressures to be “perfect” and they are not having these discussions with parents. I remember bottling things up because I didn’t want my parents to view me as a failure. Teens are looking to BFFs and the media as a “how-to” guide as a high school student. Teens don’t often discuss their deepest feelings with their parents, especially when it comes to boys and self-image issues. Girls are spending more time than parents might realize obsessing about fitting in, gaining a boyfriend, their size, and how many “likes” they are receiving on their social media status. All teens are different and the acts of skipping class and sneaking out are always going to be there for some, but I feel the internal pressures are huge for all girls today, and parents are many times the last person teens turn to for help and encouragement, mostly because our parents are supposed to say awesome things and tell us we are the best. I remember my mom telling me how amazing I was, but my peer’s opinion of me was more important during these years. Many teens who make the terrible, unfortunate choice of using drugs and alcohol leave parents asking themselves how and why. Usually an incident has to happen in order for parents to understand what is happening in their child’s life. Parents should make every effort to be in the moment with their teen and make communication an everyday event during middle school and high school years. I believe that open-ended questions are the key. My parents always had a very open line of communication during my school years and this made it so easy to discuss those important lessons teens need to be aware of.

d. Name one high school regret?

My biggest high school regret was the fact that I was still afraid to get out of my box. I worked hard at laurenstaying under the radar as I was not comfortable being the center of attention or the subject of general discussion… or for that matter the dreaded girl drama. I wish I would have opened up more and felt more comfortable talking about my acting, modeling or whatever it was that made me who I was at the time. I was scared I was going to say the wrong thing, so I said nothing at all. I spent a great deal of time listening and observing… I often wonder if that is a part of what sparked my creation of Girls Above Society.

Mean Tweets

morning-mash-up
The Morning Mash Up on XM radio

Mean tweets are everywhere. It seems as if we feel we have a right to say whatever we want and post it for all to see. As I was listening to the Morning Mash Up on XM radio I was inspired by Nicole, Rich, Ryan and Stanley talking about how mean people are on twitter and why they think it is not good. Why do we do this? Is it because we are angry and in a fit of rage we post something because it makes us feel better? Are we trying to get a rise out of celebrity, hoping they will give us something to brag about because they respond? Is it that we can almost hide behind an anynoymous name? Are we jealous that someone has something more than us and when they mess up we feel we need to point it out?

 

Jimmy Kimmel did several segments on his show called “mean tweets.” Celebrities would read mean tweets that people had tweeted to them. You may laugh and chuckle at a few of them, but the fact still remains that the tweets were mean. Even celebrities have feelings and you can see it in some of their reactions.

 

How did you feel after you watch this? Jimmy says at the beginning some people are inherently mean. I believe people choose to be mean. We all make choices sometimes good and sometimes bad. However if we would stop and THINK before we text, speak or type or even hit tweet, we might see less of mean tweets and more inspiring and kind tweets.

Mean Stinks (@meanstinks) , Lauren M Galley (@laurenmgalley) and myself (@thinktodayorg) encourage you to tweet sweet! On Tuesdays call out a twitter handle you’ve truly found inspring! Let’s get it trending and maybe the talk show hosts will feature  #TweetSweetTuesday instead of #MeanTweets.

Changing Doubt To Belief

tim mcgraw I love this quote by Mr. Tim McGraw, “Anything that you do is peppered with doubt and it’s also peppered with belief. What you have to do is not let the doubt win.”  This is so true, isn’t it. How many times have we been there? Been right where we could see the finish line, the reward, the success and it begins to flicker or fade, or our vision get blurry. We see obstacles in our way and begin to believe our dream, what we so desperately seek is unattainable. That is us letting the doubt win! We can not! We have to sometimes remind ourselves to speak positively to ourselves and let ourselves THINK that hey we to deserve to speak to ourselves things that are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind. I think it is a lot easier to THINK when it comes to others than when it comes to ourselves. We have to learn to look at doubt in the eye and say not today. I am going to inspire myself and take on what I have set out to achieve.

My best friend Hannah on the right, before the start of the race.

Last night I participated in my first Wednesday night triathlon series. A thunderstorm had cast doubt on whether or not the race would go on. My best friend Hannah has gotten me into these triathlon series and I tell you it takes a lot of mental power to finish some of these races, and last night was no exception. First doubt creped in my mind at the start of the race. They decided to start all men and women together in open water. Open water, I am not really fond of, plus swimming with men, not fond of. So I let my doubt start me in the back. I ended up being the second woman out of the water as I just remember being in the water and saying to myself, do your thing, swim your pace and your race. Getting the wetsuit off, was not so easy for me, but I did it and was on my bike. The bike loop was brutal. It was 2.5 miles of uphill and looping through for 3 times totaling over 12 miles. My heart was almost at its max. I was starting to doubt whether or not I could even do the 3.5 mile run still left. Why in the world was I putting my body through this? I am now certified crazy. Doubt. I saw one of my teammates Mick (owner of @zoomracingusa) who had gotten a flat and had to drop out of the race, I yelled Mick run with me, and another teammate Nicole who was there for support said she would do a loop too. My heart was pounding, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t do this. Doubt. Mick and Nicole were patient, they said look up, breathe, step 1, 2 step 1,2. My body began arguing and I remembered a quote I read that Tim Noakes said, “Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”  I finished the 3.5 mile run averaging 6:57 a mile, yes I will take it, and doubt I just slapped you in the face. I couldn’t have finished this race without Mick and Nicole telling me that yes you can and tell yourself you can. It is when I started THINKing I can and called on my spirit and stared down doubt in the face and didn’t let doubt win, that I finished 1st in my age group and 4th overall. Yeah take that doubt! It is #THINKThursday today. We need to surround ourselves by people who encourage us to THINK and believe in ourselves, whether we be athletes, writer, musicians, artists, or anything else that we want to do. When we THINK we believe and doubt disappears and becomes a thing of the past. Oh it will creep up from time to time, but when you have your support team right there beside you, it will quickly disappear. So go out there and get it done, and know, I will be there cheering you on, inspiring you in a kind way to accomplish your dreams and slap doubt in the face.

#WCW (Women Changing Wednesday)

One of my favorite days! As boys, men, ladies, and girls flood their social media sites with #WCW (women crush Wednesday) I get the opportunity to spot light women I feel are making a change in the world, and all for the better. I am super excited about those ladies that were featured last week, and I have two more great ones this week, who are tied to amazing project that are reaching out and spreading #socialgood. So if you don’t know them, you should and here is why:

 

rachelRachel J Simmons ~ Has an amazing bio and is super active on twitter (follow her @racheljsimmons). She is a girls and young women’s leadership expert, co-found of @girlsleadership and best selling author of Odd Girl Out & The Curse of the Good Girl. Definitely books to buy and add to your shelf! Not only that she is teaming up with Keds (follow @keds) for the Keds’ Brave Life Project. Together Rachel and Keds are inspiring girls to follow their dreams because they know being brave isn’t always easy. They are providing young girls with the tolls, resources and grants to help them lead a brave life and feel comfortable in their own shoes. Can I get a retweet and hashtag #mediawelike

 

 

 

debraDebra Hoopkins ~  Last week I featured the face of Breaking the Chains, Jillian Rose Reed, but the driving force behind this amazing project is Debra. Debra is an amazing mom and advocate for all. She is working to unite a community by expressing ourselves creatively and not in a destructive way, using art as her forum. “I want to change the face of eating disorders!” She and her son worked together last year to have a healthy day at their school where she spoke about eating healthy and passed out over 400 cards for THINK. Now she is using the indigo campaign to fund a project to bring global awareness to eating disorders. We know it is an epedimic, but it is very hush hush. Debra is taking the bull by the horns and being proactive and I love it! Like their facebook page Breaking the Chains and follow them on twitter (@4breakingchains). And again retweet and hashtag #mediawelike.

 

These are two amazing Women on #WCW. We need people like this to be featured in media. Women who are being proactive and helping girls realize there is hope and we are here to help. Let’s stand up give these two applause and #mediawelike.

 

 

 

 

Ganging Up For the Unknown ‘Slenderman’

When I opened up my lap top this morning and read the news, I was totally heartbroken. You think I would get used to it, but I just can’t. I love social media and all the good it can do. I love all the knowledge you can gain from the internet. Yet it seems lately all we hear and read about is the bad. We can’t ban technology it is forever part of our every day lives. What can we do to keep up with the every growing dangers.

slendermanSo this weekend at a slumber party two 12 year old girls ganged up on another girl and stabbed her 19 times . Let me just say again, they were 12 and stabbed a ‘friend’ 19 times. Amazingly she was able to drag herself to  a path where a biker found her and she is still alive. As the story unfolds these two girls (barely teenagers) were trying to kill her to impress the ‘Slenderman.’ In an article written and published on CNN it raises the question who is ‘Slenderman,:

He’s the Internet’s own monster, a ghoul who lurks in its darkest corners and, like the Web itself, has mutated time and again to suit the dreams and desires of his devotees. He is Slenderman, a menacing, faceless specter in a dark suit — sometimes portrayed with octopus-like tentacles — known to haunt children and those who seek to expose him. He was born in 2009 in an online forum for people who enjoy creating fake supernatural images.

And, on Saturday, police say, he played a role in the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl in suburban Milwaukee by two female classmates who stabbed her 19 times. According to police, the girls said the attack was meant to impress the fictitious bogeyman.

On Tuesday morning the site (www.creepypasta.com) that this girls say inspired the stabbing posted this:

The statement expressed condolences for everyone involved and stressed that the site does not condone or encourage violence in any way. But it also noted that “it’s hard to justify pinning blame on an entire genre of writing.”
Creepypasta is a play on the term “copypasta,” which is derived from the keyboard action “copy-paste.” Creepypasta is horror fiction written with the Web in mind and, often, comes in a style that makes it look like a news or true crime story.

The question arises how are we being proactive to shape youngs girls to lead them to be girls above society. How are they not stopping to THINK about the outcome until after the fact? What is even more horrific is that at age 12 they could be tried as adult. Come to find out they had contemplated two others ways to kill the girl, but decided it was too messy. If that is the case maybe if we tuaght them to step back and THINK for 10 seconds about what they are going to do they would have changed their mind. Now instead their lives will be hard from here on out.

Let’s not forget to be good mentors to those out there on social media. Let’s look for media we like and hashtag it #mediawelike. Let’s look for the good people out their who are making a difference and rising above. I know quite a few. I know there is good in people and we need to work together to bring it out. Let’s THINK and spread social good on the internet. Let’s network and post those who are inspiring good and change that will better society and life.

Being Human In A Social Media Driven World

What does it mean to be human in a social media driven world? I mean do you even know the top 15 social media sites? Some of these I haven’t even heard of. Here is the list: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest Google +, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr, Myspace, Meetup, Tagged, Ask.fm, Meetme, Classmates. Wow! So what does it mean to be human in a social media driven world, is a question I ask myself especially on #THINKThursday. Let’s just review what THINK means. Before you speak, text or type THINK is it True, Helpful, Important, Necessary and Kind? If it is not, then don’t say it or post it.

It amazes me how you can have millions of followers who are really anonymous people with no idea of people’s lives but yet feel free to being so nasty and mean. So why are people so rude on social media? We say things you know you wouldn’t say face to face. Shouldn’t we know better by now? Don’t we have a responsibility to be civil on social media? You are responsible to be civil on social media, you are responsible for your own behavior. Remember one day your words may come back to haunt you.

In a study that was published by the University of Pittsburg, they concluded, “Users of Facebook and other social networks should beware of allowing their self-esteem—boosted by “likes” or positive comments from close friends—to influence their behavior: It could reduce their self-control both on and offline, according to an academic paper by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School that has recently been published online in the Journal of Consumer Research.  

Titled “Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control,” the research paper demonstrates that users who are focused on close friends tend to experience an increase in self-esteem while browsing their social networks; afterwards, these users display less self-control. Greater social network use among this category of users with strong ties to their friends is also associated with individuals having higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt, according to the paper.

“To our knowledge, this is the first research to show that using online social networks can affect self-control,” said coauthor Andrew T. Stephen, assistant professor of business administration and Katz Fellow in Marketing in the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration. “We have demonstrated that using today’s most popular social network, Facebook, may have a detrimental affect on people’s self-control.”

So we need to definitely post THINK on our smart phones or by all the computers we use. We don’t want to loose our self-control and our humanity because of social media. I love social media, don’t get me wrong. I believe we just need to all be better examples for others and ourselves when it comes to what we post. So whatever site is your favorite and your go to site remember to THINK before you post or tweet or send. Have a fabulous #THINKThursday.

#WCW ~ Women Changing Wednesdays

Everyone gets excited on twitter for hashtags and especially #MCM (man crush Monday) and #WCW (woman crush Wednesday).Sometimes I laugh and giggle about what people tweet or pictures people put up. It is a great day to lay it all out there. I’ve decided I am going to change it up a little bit. I have decided while yes to most people it is #WCW I am going to call it Women Changing Wednesdays, still #WCW. See why do we have a crush on these women we post or say we do? I believe it has to be more than skin deep. So here is my list for this #WCW:

lauren
Follow Lauren on twitter @laurenmgalley

Lauren M Galley ~ This 19 year old is on fire! Not only has she already published a book (Steps To Success: An Empowerment Guide available on Amazon) , she has another one coming out in the fall titled ‘Kissing Frogs.’ She has spent her teen years working to inspire confidence and self-worth in young girls across the world (She is the President and Founder of Girls Above Society). She hosts the Lauren Galley show on blog talk radio (Catch it tonight at 9 pm featuring another inspiring woman who is shattering glass ceilings), and has a magazine that comes out quarterly (you can find current and older issues here). On top of it she was a guest speaker this past year at a TEDx talk. She is a ray of sunshine and she is always tweeting and posting positive things on all social media. If you don’t follow her, you should. She will inspire you to change for the better.

 

 

chelsea krost
Follow Chelsea Krost on twitter @chelseakrost

Chelsea Krost ~Chelsea and I connected on twitter almost 2 years ago. I was at the time a middle school guidance counselor and she was interested in my T.H.I.N.K. before you speak, text, or type program. Ihave had the privilege of being on her blog talk radio show, and have also had the opportunity to go on and discuss hot topics with guest host Lauren M Galley. Chelsea is a mover and a shaker for her generation and the generation that has been labeled Millennials. She host a #millennialtalk every Tuesday night at 8 pm EST. People from around the world can tweet questions and get answers from her and her expert guest for the evening. If you haven’t joined in, you should. She always gives you a plethora of information. She herself has traveled the world and mentors others who are inventing new ways for people to experience technology and education. She is definitely a woman who inspires change for all.

 

 

angela
Follow Angela on twitter @angelalanter

Angela Lanter ~ I love positive people, and I love, love this girl (plus she’s from Ohio, I’m from Ohio, what a great state). This girl has an amazing blog and post amazing videos and she always addresses you with her favorite hashtag #hellogorgeous. On her website she post recipes, how to braid your hair, amazing style blogs (with pictures), where to buy things in your cost range, Walmart make up runs, you name it, anything you need help with, beauty tips, she has got a video for it, and all with a smile on her face. She makes being a girl seem like easy breezy, and shows you how to look your best. If you want to learn a fun way or need a pick me up, tune in to her youtube channel. I promise you, you will walk away with a smile on your face and look in the mirror and say ‘why hello gorgeous.’

 

 

jullian
Follow Jillian on twitter @jillianrosereed

Jillian Rose Reed ~ I am a huge fan of Jillian Rose because she is working on a project with my good friend Debra Hopkins. She is not only a star on MTV, but she is actively working to bring awareness to eating disorders. The project is called Breaking the Chains (follow them on twitter @4breakingchains. Eating disorders are a huge epidemic among both young women and men. Jillian is taking a kind of Alice in Wonderland arts approach to really reach out and show how eating disorders can spiral and the effects it has on those who suffer from this disease. Breaking the Chains has a huge kickstarter program going and you can be part of this project. Check it out and be inspired.

breaking the chains
Follow @4breakingchains on twitter and on Facebook Breaking the Chains

 

These are the women who I tag this week for me that are #WCW. Women who I feel I need to be more like. Changing the world one person at a time. Not focused on looks but how to feel confident, and better about yourself. So you can stand and look in that mirror and say without hesitation ‘Hello gorgeous, let’s go conquer the world today.’

 

Sign Reads ‘Your Beautiful’

As I was driving home for school today I felt like I was having an off day. I felt a little frumpy to say the least. When I wear jeans and a tshirt and my hair pulled back in a pony tail, and with my pink sparkly stillettos, I still feel like blah.

I was a little upset after my morning workout when I sat down to read the news. The first thing that caught my eye was a school had labeled a 66 pound girl overweight. What I thought? This has to be a mistake. Until I watched the video and the mom had the documented proof (see the video here). Damage done. On the other end at least this little girl had a supportive mom who was like, hey this is not right. I understand the school wants to help but sometimes you got to sit back and think, umm this can’t be right. My heart breaks for the kids in that school that don’t have an attentive parent/guardian that will stick up for them like this mom.

So I jump in my car to make the drive on the highway home. I’m concentrating and you know that feeling you get that someone is trying to get your attention. I look over and there is a guy in a yellow semi holding a sign. I didn’t read it on the first glance and I am thinking I have got to get a way from this crazy truck driver. I am looking at my mirrors to make sure everything on my car is okay, and then I speed up, and he speeds up. Okay I might just be a little freaked out. What in the world does this trucker want. I look over Dirty stained wooden plankand he is holding a yellow sign, (if I wasn’t driving I would have taken a picture) the sign reads ‘Your Beautiful.’ I smile and he waves and takes his sign down and drives on. I have a little ways yet to go on the highway, so I think to myself I am going to watch this guy, because I still can’t decide if he is shaddy or not. I see him hold up his sign again as he passes another car, so I speed up just to check the person out. It is an older lady who looks tired, but is not wearing a smile. I begin to think he is showing this sign to people he wants to inspire, or people he thinks need to smile because they look like they are having a bad day. As he passes a couple more women drivers he holds up his sign and some do speed away. Not me, because I realize he is probably going to make someone day, hey maybe it was me. As I pull off at my exit he comes along side me and I wave and smile and he waves back.

I learned a lot on my way home today. A little note can go a long way. Make a sign, hold it up in your window when someone else is driving and you pass someone who looks like they need a pick me up. Sure people might think you are crazy, but its a crazy kind of good. You don’t drive? Why don’t you tweet something nice to someone and hashtag it #TweetSweetTuesday. We can all make a difference in others life, even if it is on the drive home.

frump day
I took this selfie after I finished my drive. As you can see nothing special today, but it was enough for a stranger to hold up a sign and say ‘Your Beautiful’

Backlash Happens When You Don’t THINK

After seeing the news two days ago when a Mayor whose city meeting went viral I couldn’t believe my ears. Did he just say what I think he said? I had to watch the video again and read the transcript. Surely an adult in a power position such as he would not make such an incredibly harmful statement. To my dismay it was true. Mayor Cameron Hamilton from Portville, CA could be heard saying, “I’m against bullying but I’m getting (Explicit) tired of it being used. When all most people have to do is grow a pair.” See the video here:

You could hear the outcry almost immediately on news outlets, twitter, and other social media sites. I sat back and thought wow Mayor Cameron Hamilton I bet this is a time you wish you would have used THINK before you spoke (THINK is an acronym that reminds you before you speak, text, or type, THINK is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind). I wondered what did he really mean by this “grow a pair.” Over my last few years of working to be more proactive then reactive I thought wow are we really backtracking instead of moving forward? Did he forget how many kids can’t “grow a pair,” and chose to end their life? I thought about those who I’ve come across in the past few years who have turned their pain of experiencing being bullied in to being an advocate. They didn’t necessarily “grow a pair,” but found someone who encouraged them, and in turn they chose to inspire others. Here are a few of my favorites:

Elissa McCracken (Miss Ohio 2012)  ~ Elissa was a victim of cyberbullying and bullying when she was in middle school. Kids would send her messages on Instant Messenger and make fun of her looks, her background, her clothes and various other things. She said “It was very hurtful to read those messages almost every day. The bullies really took away my self confidence and self esteem. Back then I didn’t know what Miss Ohio 2012 Ms. Elissa McCracken. Her platform is stop cyberbullying. to do about the messages I was receiving and I never told anyone because I was embarrassed and scared and didn’t want to get in trouble by reporting anyone. But now, I know that there are 3 very important steps to take:  Stop, Block, and Tell.  First, Stop communicating with the bully. Don’t respond to them. Don’t tell them that you are going to stop talking to them, just do it! Next, Block them. If you are communicating on Facebook, defriend them and block them. If they are texting you, get their number blocked. Again, don’t tell them you are going to block them, just do it! Lastly and most importantly is Tell. Tell a trusted adult.”

I can tell you Elissa is a joy and sweet, kind, talented person. She worked hard and still works to be proactive in encouraging others to be confident, and stop, block, and tell, not “grow a pair.” How could young girls ever relate to that? I think it would be very difficult. I like Elissa’s approach.

 

No Bull Guys ~ These guys have always inspired me. I love how they took a tragedy and turned it into a learning experience for themselvesno-bully-guys-pic and others. Again these are guys I don’t see walking around making videos telling others to “grow a pair.” Here is what they have written to me: “Inspired by the bullycide of Jamey Rodemeyer, we (Scott Hannah and Tyler Gregory) embarked on a life-changing journey. We started a movement within our school as a part of a FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) project. When we discovered the Great American NO BULL Challenge, we began work on a video in order to take a stand against bullying. After nearly two months of recruiting students and planning the video, we premiered it at an assembly planned and put on by us for our whole school. After many media outlets gave us attention on what we were doing, schools from our area contacted us to do something similar at their school. On National Cyberbullying Awareness Day, we found out in surprise assembly that our video made it to the top fifteen in the Great American NO BULL Challenge and that we were invited to attend the Teen Video Awards in San Francisco!”

These are just two examples. I could give you more such as Lauren M Galley (President and Founder of Girls Above Society), Trey Wheeler (CEO Found of Empowering Young Entrepreneurs), Randi Sundquist (Miss Nevada 2012, The Randi Sundquist Foundation), Chelsea Krost (Millennial Expert, Talk Show Host), and my list could go on.

So now the mayor is defending or explaining why he said what he said. He said he is glad he could bring awareness and he himself was once bullied. I believe it is hard to feel any empathy towards him after what he has already said. If maybe he had said that first in his meeting, instead of the explicit language and “grow a pair,,” remark he may have had a different outcome. We can all learn from this mistake. If we THINK before we speak, text or type, we will not have to worry as much about the backlash. Mayor here’s looking at you and thank you for this reminder on #THINKThursday.

 

Getting ready to hit the trail with members of the @zoomracingusa at the @runkeysports social.

Building Your Confidence

Getting ready to hit the trail with members of the @zoomracingusa at the @runkeysports social.
Getting ready to hit the trail with members of the @zoomracingusa at the @runkeysports social.

 

Sometimes finding your confidence or even building your confidence can be hard. People turn to social media for inspiration and help. Sometimes things end up good, and sometimes not so good. We have to be careful and research and protect ourselves in a social media driven society.  Social media has been for me a great way to connect with other triathletes and for training tips. None could have been as good as what last night was for my biking confidence.

I’ve been hit by a car twice on a bike. The first time I was hit, it almost killed me. First thing I wasn’t wearing a helmet, mistake number 1. I turned left to hit a country lane street, and an 18 year old was trying to pass me on the left going 55 miles per hour. I hit his windshield, dented it in with the front of my head 6 inches, then rolled across the roof and skidded 40 feet down the road on the back of my head. I was taken by careflight to Children’s Hospital, and my parents were told I probably wouldn’t live, and if I did, I would be a vegetable. I woke up 2 days later and had lost most of my memory and went into total shock when they lifted me up and I had no skin on my face. But somehow threw the headaches and recovery I gained most of what I lost back with only a few scars on my knees. Because of this accident I am crazy about people not wearing helmets, and I am also very shaken on the road or race when cars just barely pass by you. Because of this I slow down, I constantly have my hands on my breaks and I feel super tense. So I thought maybe just maybe years later doing some triathlons would help build my confidence and get me over the fear of riding the bike I once loved so much.

As my best friend Hannah and I live in the Midwest there isn’t a lot of tris that are super close. We wanted to ease into it. Last year I just had a mountain bike and did a few races with her, but I was slow. So this year I decided I need to buckle down, get a hard work out schedule, a trek bike, and be on a team. Through facebook and twitter I found Zoom Racing USA (@zoomracingusa). What I loved about Zoom racing is that they encouraged all athletic abilities and ages to come out, run, and then gather at a restaurant for a social afterwards. The first time I met Mick (race director and found of Zoom), I realized what a positive nice guy he was. Come to find out his wife Nicole was a girl I ran against in high school (well I only ever saw the back of her, because she was so fast). Mick encouraged everyone and was out there working just as hard as everyone else, setting a positive example.

zoom on the trail
On the trail with Mick (@zoomracingusa) and others in the lead pack. All smiles here.

 

Through social media Zoom team and director Mick are posting free workouts for all levels of triathlets. They teamed together with Run Key Sports for a biking social and it was well worth my drive Monday night. We broke off into groups and I headed with the faster paced group thinking that I would try to just hang back. Mick and others in the group were encouraging and talked about their experience in races and showed me how to draft and what pacing and heart rate to look for. For 20 miles I kept up with the top dogs and we pushed all the way in averaging 22-25 mph. I have never done that on a training run before. I couldn’t believe it, I did it! But I did it because I was encouraged by those around me who were smiling, working hard, yet filling you with encouragement. I finished this ride feeling the most confidence I have ever felt on a bike in a long time. I can’t wait for tri season to really kick off in July and now see what I can do. You can bet you will be seeing me out on the trail and gathering at bike socials more often. Just look for the girl in pink with wings on my bike.

Here’s the lesson. Social media can build your confidence when you surround yourself with positive people. Positive people are easily drawn to you when you are on social media leaving positive posts. You can join social groups that share your passion and I promise you will find renewed confidence and belief that you can accomplish any goal. So on #TweetSweetTuesday shout out to the people who help build your confidence and become that person that makes a difference and builds confidence in yourself and others. Because confidence never looked so good as it does on you.

Getting ready to hit the trail with members of the @zoomracingusa at the @runkeysports social.

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