Although you may not be verbally told that you are not in a position to make a difference, I know that women all over the world feel undervalued. You may have career aspirations that are in “a man’s world”. You may want to own your own company.

You may want to fight against social injustices across our country and world. But is there something holding you back? What will the guys at school say if they knew you wanted to own an investments bank? Would they be impressed or would they laugh? What if the men at work knew you organized a protest against unequal pay? Would they ostracize you?

WHO CARES?! It is amazing that you have these goals and aspirations! And you know what doesn’t matter? Your gender, your race, your socioeconomic status. All that matters is that you are striving to make a difference for the young men and women that will follow in your footsteps, and if you ask me, that’s pretty awesome.

When I was a little girl, I had a dream of being the first woman to play in the NFL. Yes, you read that right, I was going to be the first female professional football player. And I wasn’t going to be a kicker or a punter, I was going to be a defensive end.

For those of you that don’t know what that implies, I, as an eleven-year-old, was convinced that one day, I would be able to battle against 6’6”, 325-pound men. After many discussions with my parents, we decided that this was not the right move for me. (Thanks, Mom and Dad for saving me from myself). But something really cool did come out of my passion for football. I transferred that enthusiasm into coaching. My next mission was to become a college football coach.

And get this- I did it!

When I transferred to Tennessee Tech, I got a job with the football team working as a defensive assistant student coach. Here’s the best part, even though I never played defensive end, I got to help out and coach the defensive ends for the team. After a season, I discovered that I enjoyed football more as a leisurely activity and wouldn’t be pursuing it as a profession anymore. But I learned so much about the sport, myself, and how to work with different people through the process.

I say all of this as an encouragement. I did something that everyone told me I couldn’t do. Now, I can tell my story to young girls that feel like they can’t do X, Y, or Z because it’s a part of “the man’s world”. If I can become a football coach, you can do whatever it is you set your mind to!

Please feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment if you would like to discuss your dreams further. I would love to offer advice or encouragement!