Stephanie LabbéThis summer, I had the incredible opportunity to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as the goalkeeper for the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team. We played with determination, belief and so much heart and pride. 

I am so proud to have won a Bronze medal for Canada after leaving everything I had on the field. Going into the Olympics, and throughout, I had so much confidence in myself and the team because I knew we had trained so hard and were prepared for any obstacle that would be thrown at us. 

We were ready for those tough moments, and with some incredible resilience and teamwork we were able to stick together and end up on the Podium, being the first team to do so in back-to-back Olympics since 1904!

But I haven’t always felt confident in myself, and it’s something I continue to work at. Every day, I aim to be a better version of myself, and that helps build my self-esteem.

When I was in my teens, I was cut from a soccer team. The coach thought I wasn’t good enough, and that I wasn't ready.  For a couple of days, I was pretty down on myself and wasn't sure what direction to go. I felt defeated, sad, confused and a little bit lost, but I’ve always been lucky to have the support of my parents.

After some tears and talking with my parents, I realized that I knew I was better than that and decided to keep pushing.  With some encouragement, I got right back out on the field, determined to prove my coach wrong.  This determination ultimately pushed me to the next level and closer to where I am today.

If I could go back in time and give my younger self advice, I would say:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others, you are special and unique, unlike anyone else.
  2. Focus and keep working hard.  Highs and lows will always be there; they make you stronger!
  3. Don’t let anybody else choose your destiny or change how you feel about yourself. The only opinion that matters is your own.
  4. Have a dream and believe in yourself; if you put your mind to it, and commit to working hard, you can achieve anything.

I’m happy to see that there are great programs designed to help girls build their confidence at puberty, like those supported by the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Girls’ Fund. As a Like A Girl ambassador, I’m very proud that Always is supporting these programs.

I want to encourage other young girls to keep playing and follow their dreams. Confidence plummets at puberty, but sports have been shown to be one way to help teens stay confident. By sharing my story, I want girls to see that with hard work and determination, anyone can reach their goals.

And for all parents, teachers, coaches and mentors out there, Always also developed tools and resources to help girls stay confident. Anyone can download this amazing new toolkit from Always. Don’t forget to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl

See the #LIkeAGirl toolkit for more downloadable tips and resources for coaches, teachers and parents.

This is the third post in our Confidence Stories series in partnership with Always®. Confidence Stories features stories, tips and ideas for supporting girls and building confidence.  

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