When I was asked to attend the Young Boxing Woman Project as a guest speaker I was thrilled, it is just the kind of organisation I love to get involved it. An organisation whose sole purpose is to connect and empower young women.
Stepping foot into the male dominated arena of boxing, The Young Boxing Woman Project aims to create a self-facilitated program with an atmosphere of support and information that is so valuable for youth and women in general. Rather than having someone else direct the progress, this novel program creates the space for the participants to direct and lead their own path.
After hearing such great feedback I was eager to attend so despite the chilly Perth evening I donned my active wear and got ready to step in the ring….well ok there wasn’t a ring but it sounds more impressive right?
As I entered the gym I noticed there was a mixed group of women and I soon found out that participants include high school students all the way up to adults. No matter what your age it’s not too late to learn to box and empower yourself at the same time.
Upon my arrival we were straight into boxing and I can tell you that despite last having boxed over 2years ago I felt the adrenaline pumping and I can see why this program is such an amazing success. Invigorated from getting the blood flowing and feeling the power of the punch is the perfect preclude to a motivating speech.
And this motivating speech was coming from me, unlike most presentations I do there was no projector, no notes and no powerpoint presentation. The unique setup at The Young Boxing Woman Program means the presentation happens on the mat, while everyone stretches out their tired muscles in the hope they won’t seize up on you later (FYI – they do anyway!).
Recently I listened to an Amy Cuddy talk about affirmations and how thinking positively about yourself can have far reaching effects even into unrelated areas of your life. The boxing reminded me of that, we have already proved to ourselves that we were strong and fearless and we could now carry this with us into our everyday lives.
The aim of the presentation following is to engage young women and help them build confidence so sitting together as peers rather than “teaching” them something is incredibly powerful. We spoke as friends, I relayed some of my story and my challenges and they felt free to ask questions and share themselves. It’s a scenario that is different to most other places I speak and it is part of the framework that helps empower everyone in the room. It was an open, 2 way conversation where everyone felt like they could have some input.
The discussion turned to the importance of having a solid support network and celebrating your own success however big or small. We chatted about how to dispel negative talk both from others and yourself, it can be easy to forget that our inner voice can often do the most damage.
We talked about how no matter where you are in your life or what your skills are, you can always give back in some way. We all agreed that it is so important in our community to do this and I was able to share some of my recent experiences as well as hear from some of the other women who had similar experiences.
It was a really fun way of connecting to a group of women in a unique setting that meant we all left on a high and went back to our lives feeling more empowered and enthusiastic. Walking in I thought I was coming to speak to some women about my experiences, walking out I realised it was so much more than that and I had gained as much knowledge as I had given.
Thank you to Lisa and the women at The Young Boxing Woman Project for sharing your space and your stories with me.
You can read more about Lisa Longman, Founder of The Young Boxing Woman Project here