Once a phenomenal forward for the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, Abby Wambach has a new goal: helping all women move forward.
In her commencement address to the Barnard class of 2018, Wambach calls for women to be grateful for what they have while also demanding what they deserve.
She asks women to show their strength and come together as a team in order to change the world for the better. As for the unifying team structure, she calls for women to consider her four golden rules.
We’re not exaggerating — these rules are actually golden as she used them to unite her team and win the 2004 and 2012 Olympic games.
Watch Wambach’s commencement address, then follow the steps outlined below to think through how you can put her rules to action.
Rule One: MAKE FAILURE YOUR FUEL
“Women, listen to me. We must embrace failure as our fuel instead of accepting it as our destruction.”
Ask yourself: When was the last time you failed?
Think about three times you’ve failed and felt weak, embarrassed or uncomfortable. Then, flip the narrative; consider down how you can channel that energy and turn those failures into fuel.
Rule Two: LEAD FROM THE BENCH
“If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field. You’re either a leader everywhere or nowhere.”
What has you feeling benched lately? Maybe you’re taking a backseat on a big work project or simply got dealt a tough hand. Whatever it is, it’s okay to be disappointed, and it’s okay for you to feel as if your ego took a punch.
Think: what actions can you take to lead from the bench? Don’t underestimate how influential you can be as an encourager and teammate. Wambach said: “During that last World Cup, my teammates told me that my presence, my support, my vocal and relentless belief in them from the bench is what gave them the confidence they needed to win us that championship.”
You’re not going to be the MVP of every game, but don’t let that get in the way of you bringing out the champion in others.
Rule Three: CHAMPION EACH OTHER
“Women must champion each other. This can be difficult for us. Women have been pitted against each other since the beginning of time for that one seat at the table. Scarcity has been planted inside of us and among us. This scarcity is not our fault. But it is our problem. And it is within our power to create abundance for women where scarcity used to live.”
Do you ever feel like you’re in competition with your teammates, friends or colleagues? Those ugly feelings like jealousy hold us back from celebrating the success of one woman as a success for every woman.
Think of three women who you’ve been competing with instead of rooting for. Send them a good vibe or quick text encouraging them the way you’d like to be encouraged.
“Joy. Success. Power. These are not pies where a bigger slice for her means a smaller slice for you. These are infinite. In any revolution, the way to make something true starts with believing it is. Let’s claim infinite joy, success, and power—together.”
Rule Four: DEMAND THE BALL
“Women. At this moment in history leadership is calling us to say:
GIVE ME THE EFFING BALL.
GIVE ME THE EFFING JOB.
GIVE ME THE SAME PAY THAT THE GUY NEXT TO ME GETS.
GIVE ME THE PROMOTION.
GIVE ME THE MICROPHONE.
GIVE ME THE OVAL OFFICE.
GIVE ME THE RESPECT I’VE EARNED AND GIVE IT TO MY WOLF PACK TOO.”
What do you want? Write it down. Preferably, USE ALL CAPS FORE EMPHASIS.
What’s been holding you back? Write those things down, too. Cross them out. Get after it!
“As you leave here today and everyday going forward: Don’t just ask yourself, “What do I want to do?” Ask yourself: “WHO do I want to be?” Because the most important thing I’ve learned is that what you do will never define you. Who you are always will.”