I always thought it would be so much fun to write a book. Certainly not a Hey, check out this white girl from suburban America. (That sound you hear is my snoring). And definitely not an X's and O's sporty book. Nope. The book I have always wanted to write is about owning your awesome, raising your hand, getting on the dance floor, shimmying out of your comfort zone, being comfortable with uncomfortable, dreaming out loud, ... (you get it). It is about CHOOSING TO MATTER.
Because this I know: Life doesn't just happen. You happen to life. YOU decide how you want to write your story. YOU. This book is for the teenager starting her journey or the woman at a critical fork in her journey. It is for every person, wherever you may be on your path, who needs a little nudge. Who needs a little motivation... to be courageously you.
For too long I equated leadership with a position. I thought leaders were presidents or politicians or celebrities or four-star generals with a horse and sword. I thought you had to be in a position to impact lots and lots of people (someone I certainly was not), to lead.
But what I discovered -- in large part thanks to the amazing women I played alongside -- is just how broad the definition of leadership is. Leadership is loud. It is quiet. It is thoughtful and emotional and cerebral and nerdy and goofy and joyful and motivating. Leadership is calm in the chaos. It is standards. It is believing when others don't. It is celebrating others. It is empowering others. It is all those things and so much more. Most important, leadership is personal, not positional.
The hardest part is just summoning the courage to choose to lead, to raise your hand. To own that awesome. It is not a question of IF you will be a leader, but HOW. The key is being authentically you -- a leader others will want to follow because you are genuine. It is your style.
And if you don't believe me, well, I summoned 10 amazing women to come share their stories about how they unleashed their inner leader. We chat with our feet up, shoes off. #Socktalks we call them (not a scratch and sniff book thankfully). I spoke with:
Good Morning America host Robin Roberts
Soccer superstars Mia Hamm and Alex Morgan
Facebook super woman and Leanin.org founder, Sheryl Sandberg
Award-winning teenage Irish scientist and philanthropist, Sophie Healy-Thow
17-time Paralympic medalist (yes, 17) Tatyana McFadden
Softball star and television trailblazer, Jessica Mendoza
11-time NCAA Championship coaching legend, Sue Enquist
Purveyor of positivity, born with cerebral palsy, Amy Liss
Beautifully inspirational teenager from Afghanistan, Fahima Noori
My hope is this book serves as a roadmap (full of fun exercises, quick activities, and journaling) to help you unlock your potential. There is a method to the madness, or at least I like to pretend there is. We tell stories, share lessons, pass on wisdom.
My goal in all of this is to make you laugh, make you think, make you eat more donuts, and make you excited to embrace life. And most importantly, to share that new, fabulous you with the world by passing on leadership. By empowering others.
And here's the really cool thing: You can. So why not #choosetomatter?