Tag: teenage girls

Leading To Influence Positive Change

When I was a teenager, I thought leadership was exclusive–for class officers, students interested in position or people who had some kind of inherent leadership characteristics and the adults in our lives, teachers, principals and all. The rest of us didn’t have to think too much about leading unless we were given a specific role to take the lead on, be it in academics, arts or sports—captain of this or that, right.

Wrong! Now that I reflect, I can see how we all led, by example, even when we had no intention to do so.  And til this day, we all still do. Leadership is inclusive, like it or not.

According to leadership expert, John Maxwell: “The true measure of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

Of course, I am taking Mr Maxwell’s words at face value and out of the context of a corporate environment and why not. They ring true all the same. We all have an influence on someone or something at some point in our life. The leadership expert points out that, according to sociologists, even the most isolated individual will influence 10,000 other people during his or her lifetime!

So there you have it, you might as well be intentional about it and positive, too.

Case in point: As a teen girl, I never knew how much influence I had over my younger sister until I set a foot wrong.  It was like leading her down a dark path. Only after a hair-raising incident, which I dare not repeat here, did I realise that I was a bit of a role model for her.  That was heavy stuff and all I could think then was I didn’t want the influence but like it or not, I had it. Thus, it was responsibility time, not necessarily to become a goodie two shoes, but to remember my values, and stay true to them when faced with peer pressure, for example.

Fast forward forty years later (I know, I know), a cousin of a similar age to my younger sister confessed that she always looked up to me, that I had a huge influence over her. Thankfully, I was a quick learner and realised that I had the power to influence. Even today, I take this simple fact into consideration when faced with choices that are on the fence. And I get a lot of these.

I say this not to put pressure on you or to put you under a microscope but just to offer a gentle reminder that you don’t have to be grown-up and ensconced in a leadership role, whether as a politician, teacher, doctor, etc.. or a budding politician, athlete or academic to be a leader. All you have to do is to be you.

And you don’t need to be defined by your past, a lesson I’ve learned along the way, which was reiterated at the Rocking Ur Teens Conference back in March. On that note, check out the newly released podcast for more inspirational tips and advice to this end.

In the meantime, take the lead for positive change whether you are running for class office or just running for the bus. You never know who you are influencing.


Mind the Generation Gap Please

Mind the gap, please when you are communicating with your parents. Sure, mind the gap is a London underground catchphrase but not doing so can lead to serious consequences. And so can not considering that there are likely many generation gaps between you and your parents. This gap, unto itself, can raise illusive barriers as well as very tangible ones that makes it very difficult to communicate during the best of times, let alone during the worst of times.

When I was a teen girl, a very long time ago, mind you, I didn’t have the nerve to speak to my parents about certain topics that were looming large in my life—dating, peer pressure, body image concerns and so on. It was not the done thing and quite fankly, the assumption was that they were not interested and even if they were they wouldn’t share my viewpoint on the issues anyhow.

Make no mistake about  it, my parents were not evil people, quite the opposite, but like most of their peers they seemed to have a closed door policy, if you will, concerning certain issues. They set the boundaries, the rules, and we followed them or not as best as we could and suffered the consequences later.

Looking back, however,  I can see the errors in my thinking. I could have saved myself a lot of time, emotional outbursts and even heartache, had I even knocked at the door, let alone pushed at it gently.

Fast forward, parental styles nowadays do seem to be more open, but even if they aren’t, there is too much margin for error to allow the door to stay closed. It is crucial to take the lead and gently push the door open to communicate with your parents.

In doing so, however, there are just a few things to mind that might help bridge the foreboding generation gap.

  1. Maintain Good Terms – Make an effort to maintain good relations with your parents and/or guardians, not just when you need a ride home, money for an activity, etc. But keeping up your end as a family member and actively seeking out opportunities to do something together whether in the kitchen, in the yard, etc. Thinking back, I had some of the best conversations with my dad, when I helped him wash the car.
  2. Speak Their Language – Sure times have moved on and so many phrases are yesterday, however, not understanding where someone else is coming from raises barriers and causes feelings of exclusion. So TEACH THEM YOUR LANGUAGE, TOO.
  3. Honour Boundaries – Every family has them, even if they are unspoken but particularly when they are spoken, honour them. Try to do what you agreed and when you can’t acknowledge that you didn’t. However if trying to do something is causing great stress, explain this and try to negotiate a middle ground. What I am not saying is to disrespect the parental no.
  4. Respect Their No – They have a right to set rules, as they are responsible for you. Having said this, I firmly believe teens have a voice, collectively and individually. Do use your voice respectfully. Throwing the phone down or slamming doors won’t get you a yes anyhow. It is likely to keep the door that you’re trying to open tightly shut. But finding the right time, telling them that it is important to you, that you really need to talk, will help you share your views more confidently and feel valued and assured that your parents are listening, even if they still say no.
  5. Listen To Them – It is a a two-way street, right. Just as you want them to listen to you,  you need to do the same thing. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it is right for you. Listen without thinking of your comeback or paying lip service quickly and then doing your own thing anyhow. Listening involves processing information and understanding what it is being said and why.

When it is all said and done, remember you might find that you still have fundamental disagreements, considering the generation gap(s), tried and tested values, traditions and so on that contribute to your parents thinking and decision making processes.  Still keep in mind that most parents have your best interest at heart and want what they believe is right for you. Take a deep breath, mind the gap please, and gently push the door open to communication that feeds into interdependence for healthy family relations.





Putting Body Image Into Perspective

Body image, the topic of Episode 4: Your Body Image Inside Out,  is a bugbear for most of us throughout life but during the teen years, it is exacerbated by all the focus on looks, fitting in and so on.  Continuing our efforts to tune into girls, week four of our UIO social media campaign, kicked off with an attention getting inspirational quote about self-love from Personal Trainer Laura Miles, who has shared her own story to do with body image throughout the podcast.

Also, leading up to Christmas, we featured Laura, a hot tip from her and over the Christmas weekend and beyond we jumped into some important conversations to do with body image. We couldn’t resist promoting and sharing the Girl Scouts invaluable resource on body image, Yes Your Daughter Just Called Herself Fat. It not only points out that body image problems start early, as early as age 10, but also offers helpful tips on how to manage such issues.

The other conversation that we found refreshing had to do with sports. While girls sometimes shy away from sports because of worries about body image, girls in the Basketball Inspiration Programme found the court a place where they felt confident about body and self. How refreshing!

On Sunday, we featured a a former Girl Guide, who continues her journey in Guiding as a leader. Ines suffered from body image problems from an early age but at age 22, has learned not to worry about society standards, a path to a happier, healthier her.

If you missed anything, check it out @uiopodcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us in #tuningintogirls. Oh, and if you didn’t hear the podcast, it’s not too late to listen right here. Also, you can listen on iTunes, Stitcher and Tunein.  Stay tuned for next week’s round up on Hair.

A Review of Your Body Inside Out

Last week we continued our UIO social media campaign with inspirational quotes and a hot tip from Episode 2: Your Body Inside Out with personal trainer Judit Ressinka. How wonderful to not only feature Judit but to also put the spotlight on the importance of exercise and nutrition in a lifestyle changing way. Not to mention sleep, which Judit points out sharpens the brain cells and makes life more manageable.

UIO’s expert on body and nutrition

Also, we jumped into a couple of conversations on related matters, one with Women in Sport, on getting more teen girls in the UK interested in P.E., as featured in The Guardian.  The other chat we engaged in was from LiveStrong.com suggesting ways for teen girls to lose weight but let’s be clear—no gimmicks and yo yo dieting there or here, for that matter. It’s all about lifestyle.

On Sunday we featured budding chef Olivia, attracting loads of attention to this savvy teens approach to nutrition and well-being. What a week but that’s not all.

UIO’s budding chef

We received some illustrations from the talented author Heather Moulson, who sketches for fun and here we feature the first one. Such a fresh and modern approach, I couldn’t help asking Heather to help us continue tuning into girls. She said yes, so watch this space.

In the meantime, see our week in review @uiopodcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us in #tuningintogirls.  Oh and if you missed the podcast, it’s not to late to listen right here on our webpage or on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Soundcloud.  Just search UIO: You Inside Out podcast and tune in.

Recap of UIO Confidence Inside Out Week

Mid-week last week we kicked off our UIO marketing campaign and what a week it was, featuring inspiring quotes and a hot tip from Episode 1 UIO: Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace. What a great opportunity it was to feature such a celebrated business woman.

We launched with lots of cheer from the cheer team of Dougherty Comprehensive High School, Albany, Ga, and proudly put one its very own, Zaria Davis, in the spotlight during the week.

Zaria Davis @ Homecoming

Finally, we joined a couple of key conversations online. From Priyanka Chopra’s conversation on being confident to the highlights of Miss Amazing’s pageant for girls and women with disabilities.

See our week in review @uiopodcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and join us in #tuningintogirls.  Oh and if you missed the podcast, it’s not to late to listen right here on our webpage or on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Soundcloud.  Just search UIO: You Inside Out podcast and tune in.

UIO Makes Noise With Ten Week Campaign

Lately, we’ve been making a little noise at UIO: You Inside Out, the new podcast for teen girls—announcing our new look, and our new social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and most recently Instagram.

But you ain’t heard nothing yet! Today we kick off our UIO Marketing Campaign to inform and interest you the teenage girl and get you listening to the podcast series and talking about it, too. From November 29 to mid February, we will be promoting UIO with inspirational quotes, hot tips, original pics, and some real honest chat.

So whether you’re looking for practical tips on hair and skin or want to learn more about body image or sex and sexuality, UIO is the place to be. Hence, it’s about to get noisy up in here.

It’s a ten-week celebration—join us at UIO Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to help raise the voice of teenage girls.

Meanwhile, listen to your favourite podcast on our webpage, iTunes, Soundcloud, Tunein and Stitcher.

UIO Launches Instagram Page

More excitement to cheer about at UIO: You Inside Out, the podcast for teenage girls.  Today, we launched our Instagram business page @uiopodcast. Follow us, like us, join us on Instagram.

This page follows the recent launch of our Facebook and Twitter pages.

With three dedicated social media pages, UIO aims to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning on their behalf.

We’ll highlight great inspirational quotes and hot tips from our special guests—women featured in the podcasts: Cheryl Grace, Judit Ressinka, Jenny Hawkins, Laura Miles, Joy Miller, Jane and Molly Goldberg, Jenny Garrett, Rachel Gardener, Helen Lewis and Natalie Savvides–as well as creative photographs of teenage girls from both the US and UK.

Again join us, follow us, like our posts. Message us directly @uiopodcast or email UIO@sonjalewis.com. See you on Instagram.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more UIO news.

UIO Gets Dedicated Twitter Page

So many exciting things in the pipeline for UIO: You Inside Out, the new #podcastforteengirls. From the launch of ten episodes over the spring and summer to the unveiling of our first dedicated social media page on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, UIO is growing.

This week, we introduce UIO Twitter, user name @UIOPodcast, on which we look forward to joining important conversations to do with teenage girls and leading on some too.

Via our social media, we aim to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning on their behalf. Thus, whether it’s to do with self confidence, values or peer pressure, we’ll be talking about it and listening, too.

In addition, we’ll highlight great inspirational quotes and hot tips from our special guests—women featured in the podcasts: Cheryl Grace, Judit Ressinka, Jenny Hawkins, Laura Miles, Joy Miller, Jane and Molly Goldberg, Jenny Garrett, Rachel Gardener, Helen Lewis and Natalie Savvides.

So join us, follow us, re-tweet our tweets. Message us directly @UIOPodcast or email UIO@sonjalewis.com. See you on Twitter.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more UIO news.

UIO Gets Dedicated Facebook Page

Earlier this year when I launched UIO, the new podcast for teenage girls, I was bouncing off the walls with passion for the project. Not something necessarily to be proud of, as it was annoying for some—the persistent phone calls, asking for this and that, the constant nattering about it all the time.

Thankfully, however, for many, including the ten women who agreed to an interview, it was a really good idea, something they wanted to see take off, too.

One thing that we could all agree on, to paraphrase one of them ‘anything for teenage girls.’ We’re all connected to a teenage girl or two in some way. And as women, we’ve been there done that and can relate to many of the growing pains.

And here we are months later, announcing our first UIO social media page on Facebook. Others are soon to follow. Until then, any and everything UIO can be found here, including a little background.

On that note, as I watch my niece grow into a young lady, seemingly under a misty day, I can’t help feeling that I owe it to her and her generation to not only try to put a few things right that are ever so wrong but also to stand along side them as they clear up the mist, if you will.

With UIO, I have chosen a single sex platform to give girls a space to deal with issues that are either exclusive to them or impact them disproportionately. For example, research shows that girls are sexualised earlier and more often than boys.

But I do think boys can enjoy the podcasts, too. They are just not aimed at them. In any case, UIO relies on Christian ethics and principles. My faith is at the engine of the podcast. Nonetheless, UIO is not solely for Christian girls. Listen to Prelude One for more on UIO’s roots and to hear more about my desire to support all girls.

The idea is to celebrate what it means to be a teenage girl today while advocating and campaigning with a view to influencing positive change. I call it straight talk because so many of the subjects are hush hush, even if the world has become more explicit. Most people don’t want to talk about tough topics such as sex, sexuality, body image and so on. At UIO, it is the real deal.

To this end, we invite you to like our page, join in the conversations, listen to the podcasts, tells us what you want to hear about, suggest a guest—anything you can think of that serves teenage girls. More podcasts are to come in 2018. In the meantime, check out the 2017 series.


The UIO New Look Is Out

UIO: You Inside Out announces a new look , emphasising the voice of teenage girls.

Created by Dominque Ozturk, an accomplished designer who has years of experience in working with girls of all ages, the new look will be featured across all platforms where the podcast is aired, including iTunes and the UIO dedicated podcast page.

Also you can see the new look and listen to the podcast via Libsyn   Stitcher, Tunein and on Google Play music.

Created as a versatile medium for teenage girls with their input, UIO relies on sound principles and values, and offers a safe and responsible platform to provide insight into topics relevant to teenage girls today.

The 2017 pilot series includes ten shows, featuring a range of talented women with special interest, experience and expertise on a particular topic:

Episode 1 – Your Confidence Inside Out with Cheryl Grace

Episode 2 – Your Body Inside Out with Judit Ressinka

Episode 3 – Your Skin Inside Out with Jenny Hawkins

Episode 4 – Your Body Image Inside Out with Laura Miles

Episode 5 – Your Hair Inside Out with Joy Miller

Episode 6 – Your Mind Inside Out with Jane and Molly Goldberg

Episode 7 – Your Values Inside Out with Jenny Garrett

Episode 8 – On Sex and Sexuality with Rachel Gardner

Episode 9 – Your Family Inside with Helen Lewis

Episode 10 – Peer Pressure Inside Out with Natalie Savvides

Stay tuned for more UIO announcements in the coming days and for new episodes in 2018.

‘I find the subjects and experts are good for parents to hear too, said one listening parent. ‘The podcast raises many points  for conversations with my daughter.’

For more info or enquiries about UIO, write to info@sonjalewis.com