Wambach’s message to women was derived from the fairy tale story of Little Red Riding Hood, she says:
“Like all little girls, I was taught to be grateful. I was taught to keep my head down, stay on the path, and get my job done. I was freaking ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’ The message is clear: Don’t be curious, don’t make trouble, don’t say too much, or bad things will happen. I stayed on the path out of fear–not of being eaten by a wolf–but of being cut, being benched, losing my paycheck. If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: ‘Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood, you were always the wolf.
On so many levels does this message hit home for me, as I am sure it does for many of you. As women, we tend to play it safe, hide in the shadows of others and doubt our abilities. We don’t go for the job because we don’t meet 100% of the qualifications; we temper our communication so we are not labeled as a ‘bitch’; we apologize for speaking up or we let our fear of the unknown paralyze us from deviating from the path we’re on to pursue a life we dream of.
We let fear, self doubt and other people’s opinion drive our decisions but that is no way to live. It’s okay to want more out of your life, it’s okay to want put yourself first, it’s okay to speak up and it’s okay to demand what your deserve. You deserve to live the life you want and you don’t need to apologize for that.
Ladies, life is too short not to pursue the career and life you want and deserve. When you are 80-years old sitting on your front porch the last thing you want filling your head is regret and “what if” scenarios. Be the wolf. Take risks, explore, say what you think, demand what you deserve and, relentlessly pursue your passions.
Watch Abby’s entire commencement speechor read it. You won’t regret taking 20 minutes to listen/read this speech. The take-aways of Abby’s speech are powerful and will undoubtedly fuel your day and life.
Embrace the day!