I personally get so caught up in all that I have to do that sometimes I miss out on opportunities to grow. At times it’s because I completely blow past them in my effort to complete my to-do list and other times I am honestly just too tired to put in the effort (am I the only one who collapses on the couch to some Netflix after work?).
Growth looks different for every woman because we’re all in completely different stages and places in our lives, but below you’ll find a few things that have really helped me grow as a woman.
Spend time with other women.
I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. In the deepest and most insecure parts of myself I can tend to feel diminished by other women, and it wasn’t until college when I realized all that I was missing out on. I started investing in my female friendships and to this day I have a wonderful tribe of women that I respect and admire, who constantly inspire me and challenge me to be the best version of myself. Some of my dearest friends are screenwriters, mothers, nurses, social workers; the list goes on and on. Despite some of them living long-distance, we do our best to keep in touch and it’s as if no time at all has passed whenever we get to catch up. I can’t imagine my life without them, and all the life seasons they’ve walked me through, with their prayers, their laughter, and their encouragement.
Allow yourself time and space to invest in worthwhile friendships with other women. For many of us, we may not have a dozen local ladies that we get to take cute pictures with for Instagram, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a tribe! All we need is a few ladies who get us, that are willing to listen, and always push us towards our best. (Bonus, you’ll get a chance to be the same kind of support back!)
Take ballroom dancing lessons.
Okay, this may sound crazy for some of you ladies, but hear me out. I’ve spent much of my young adult life trying to blend in, to hide myself, to stay out of the center of attention. I didn’t feel particularly graceful or strong or beautiful, even. So I picked something that I was interested in and that I felt embodied all that I wasn’t, all that I couldn’t be—and I went for it. I was surprised how difficult it was for me, to put myself in a position that felt so vulnerable. What if my instructors saw me make mistakes? What if I looked ridiculous? What if I never got any better? To me, showing up every week for my lesson took the strength of Wonder Woman, but doing it again and again I found that I liked seeing a new side of myself. I even did a dance recital, and even though I was incredibly nervous, I was so proud to have overcome my fear and developed a new sense of confidence.
For you, maybe it’s not ballroom dancing. Maybe it’s rock climbing or writing a blog or joining a yoga class. It could be anything! Find something that interests you and seems out of reach and go for it!
Take time for books.
I love to sit down and read but I’ve just found less and less time for me to sit and read a physical book. I still do, but it’s harder and harder to find a moment for it these days. For the rest of you ladies in the same boat, I recommend you check out Audible. It’s perfect for listening to while you’re cleaning, commuting to work, relaxing at the beach, etc. There is a monthly fee of $15 to use the app after your free trial, but you get one free credit for any audiobook each month, with the option to purchase more. Most books cost $15-$20 anyway, so it’s a good investment from my perspective.
One book in the last year that I found incredibly insightful is The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection & Courage by Brene Brown. I’ve actually listened to it twice (and I probably will again) and would definitely recommend it to any woman wanting to be challenged and to overcome insecurity.
Listen to podcasts.
Similar to listening to Audible in order to get your book fix, if you’re looking for shorter pieces to commit to (think TV episodes versus an entire movie), there are always podcasts. Whether you’re looking for educational content, entertainment, sermons, or just something encouraging overall, podcasts can be downloaded or streamed to your phone. I would be remiss if I did not plug our very own podcast, This Grit & Grace Life, which features new content on everything from fashion to relationships every Tuesday.
It’s a true saying that wherever you go, there you are. You won’t magically become a different person over night by changing locations, but it’s difficult to remain unchanged when you’re exposed to new places. With each place you visit, whether it’s a new coffee shop in town or a new continent entirely, you will meet new people, try new foods, hear new sounds and music, and see something you haven’t seen before. Going new places means experiencing things differently—laying the foundation of opportunity to develop a new perspective.
This is a really great and simple way to help you grow as a woman. There are so many fantastic organizations working towards any and all causes you can think of. Dedicating time to give back to others and to work towards a common goal can create a sense of purpose and balance in our otherwise hectic schedules.
Even further than that, it’s a chance for us to gain perspective and compassion towards others who may be in a different stage of life than us or who may think differently. It’s a discipline to think of others and to put them first, and one that we all should frequently practice.
I think sometimes we make personal growth this distant and unattainable thing when often all we really need to do is intentionally make the most of our opportunities. Sure, taking a cooking class feels like more effort than listening to a podcast on the way to work, but they both take the same amount of intention. “We either live with intention or exist by default,” Kristin Armstrong said. Living a grit and grace life means operating in intention at all opportunities.
Looking for more encouragement as a strong woman? Check out:
10 Behaviors Found in the Inspired Woman
9 Qualities That Make a Good Friend
How to Get Honest About Your Dreams and Thrive!
How to Be a Leader You Can Be Proud Of
How to Become the Woman You Want to Be
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Finish the Year Strong, and Be Ready for the Next – 071!