CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Social anxiety is one of the major challenges for high school and college ladies.
“When I sent out emails asking you about challenges, the No. 1 thing I heard was that you struggle with social anxiety,” said Theresa Rose, who spoke during the ninth annual Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event organized by Illinois Agri-Women.
“This is a really important thing to work through, and do it now as opposed to later,” Rose stressed during her keynote speech. “Because that will keep you from realizing your fullest potential if you aren’t going to show up.”
Forget about trying to please everybody, she said.
“That is a fantasy, and there will be things you will not get done,” she said. “It is about trying to figure out the most important things.”
Rose told the young ladies that there will be people that don’t like them, regardless of their level of greatness.
“You are in a culture that is so much different than when I grew up,” she said.
“When someone talked trash about us, it was on the playground or in the cafeteria,” she noted.
“Now it’s on machines — it’s horrible, toxic and I really feel for you because it’s making it harder for you to be confident.”
How To Be Happy
To help the students build a strong foundation for success, Rose provided them with several tools.
The first step is to know who you are, she said.
“Think about two things are amazing about you,” she advised. “Identify two characteristics you know you are amazing at, hold onto those like your anchors and that will get you through any conversation.”
For example, energy and spirit are the two words that describe Rose.
“When I have a conversation, whether it is personal or professional, I lead with the two things I know I am,” she said.
The next tool for students is knowing what they want.
“What we want is critical because that’s our roadmap,” Rose said. “It tells you the direction you want to go.”
This does not mean that teenagers have to know what they are doing for the rest of their lives.
“When I was 16, 17 or 18, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I did start to get to know who I was and generally what I wanted,” Rose said.
She encouraged the young ladies to write a statement of intent.
“It’s about taking the time to think about what you want — like where you want to live, will you go to a big or small college, do you want to stay home or travel, do you want to be single or have a family, do you want to work with big or small groups of people,” she said. “Writing it down is critical because you won’t have the people and resources support you if they don’t know what you want.”
Students don’t need to know every detail, Rose said; however, it is important to put it in writing.
“It’s like a recipe for your life — write these concepts down and energize them to make them part of your life,” she said.
The third step is to know what to do.
Rose asked each of the young ladies in the group to identify one tangible task they will do.
“If you can’t think of one thing that you will do in support of what you want to create in your life, you haven’t found what you want,” she said.
It also is important to determine a deadline for the task.
“That’s the difference between making it and not making it, between being a high performer and being average, people that get the jobs are the ones doing a task by a certain date,” Rose said.
“Nothing that anyone says in your life is more important than your own belief in yourself,” she said. “When people say things that are negative about you, it is simply a reflection of their own insecurities.”
Rose reported that one in six women has been sexually assaulted.
“College girls are even higher, and the first three months are the worst,” she said.
All young lades should watch out for each other, Rose said.
“Distraction is a good tool to use,” she said.
“When you know who you are, what you want and what to do, the world will open up to you and you are going to create the rich life you desire and deserve,” Rose said.
For more information about the Illinois Agri-Women, go to: www.illinoisagriwomen.org.