I can’t really remember a time when I wouldn’t find myself nervous before a big event. In my early childhood years, repeat culprits of my anxiety came in the form of piano recitals and doctors appointments. In middle school and high school it was the first oral presentation in front of my peers, darn mid-term exams, big home games, and of course, college applications. My post-high school years seemed no different in terms of always feeling the need to fight off nerves…flying alone to and from school, practicing to play softball at a higher level, prepping myself to live thousands of miles away from everyone I loved while studying abroad in Spain for a year brought a healthy dose of leaving-the-nest angst. And of course, as a young professional in my twenties, gearing up for job interviews and reporting to take the GMAT for grad school always entailed pressure. The truth is, those game time situations don’t go away once you turn 22, land your first job and think you have it all figured out. In fact, often that uneasiness is a bit more pronounced as a newly independent “young adult,” without your close friends and family to talk you through the gauntlet. No, the mental and emotional strain that comes with pushing personal boundaries to evolve into a better you will be there waiting with every major milestone throughout your lifetime…you’re probably thinking “thanks a heap for the truth serum.” And a la Maui in Moana, I sing an exuberant “you’re welcome!” Because you know what? With great pressure comes great opportunity for you to pause, breathe and believe in your journey. So, the question then becomes not how do I avoid situations that send me into a panicky mess, but rather how do I better equip myself with coping mechanisms that will channel good juju into my system when those nerves hit? According to soccer great to Julie Foudy, those butterflies are an amazing gift, because it means you care. Something matters to you…a lot. Instead of dreading the butterflies, embrace them, and teach them to fly in formation.

In March and April, LEAD girls are tackling curriculum in our HOW I TICK month. They’ve all taken the Myers-Briggs exam to dive deeper into their personality and learn how to grow and better navigate the world around them. They are collectively uncovering what really drives, inspires and limits other types, helping them to build more meaningful relationships. Lastly, we are working to unpack how each one of us reacts to stress differently, and what we need as individuals to get ourselves “centered” and ready to bring it.

As Billie Jean King recently shared with me, “pressure is a privilege” as it means you have a chance to be great….so take some time to think about how you can better leverage the art of positive thinking and actually ENJOY the butterflies…for their presence only means that something fantastic is about to transpire.