Girl power

Girl power

Cheyenne Knight, LPGA golfer, Sponsored by Empower

March has always been one of my favorite months of the year. From the weather warming up to the LPGA Tour schedule heating up, it really doesn’t get any better than the beginning of spring in my mind. You can just feel the change in the air and the excitement that comes with longer days and shorter nights.

I love all of it!

But as I’ve gotten older and experienced my own fair share of peaks and valleys in life, I’m starting to realize March actually has a ton more to offer than just temperatures, bluer skies and greener fairways.

As a woman, I take great pride in honoring Women’s History Month and recognizing the amazing achievements of so many wonderful women — both past and present — who paved the way for me and my journey.

Without legends like Mia Hamm, whom I admired as a kid, I truly don’t know if I would be where I am today. Talk about a role model. Not only was she an awesome soccer player, but she was such a fierce competitor. She worked so hard, on and off the field, to become one of the best athletes in the world. I was only when she retired, but I still remember watching her (and the U.S. national team) on TV and thinking, “Girls can excel at sports, too.” Win, lose or draw, she has always been a champion to me.

Mia once proclaimed, “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”

How can you not be inspired by her words?

I know I am.

My main goal is to set a strong example every time I step foot on the course, no matter how well or poorly I’m performing. In victory or defeat, I always make room in my routine to reflect on what I did right and what I did wrong before moving on to the next tournament. Just like Mia preaches, it’s important to enjoy the here and now but also strive for more success in the future. I wouldn’t say I have a chip on my shoulder, but as a female, I am so determined to give it my all and never rest on my laurels.

I want girls to see me as someone who is incredibly driven, resilient and fearless both as a golfer and as a person. Trust me, it’s not always easy to stay confident when you shank a tee shot, land your ball in the water or botch a tap-in for birdie. I definitely have those moments where I get frustrated and need to regain my focus. The mental side of anything you do is just as critical as the physical part.

But do you know the one thing that helps me respond to any sort of trial, tribulation or triumph I endure?

A positive attitude.   

During Women’s History Month especially, it’s impossible for me not to think about my mom. As the only girl in my family, I grew up with three older brothers, so the mother-daughter bond we have is very special.

She’s my idol, my mentor and, without question, my hero. She’s always been there for me through thick and thin. Whether I failed a test in school or broke up with a boyfriend, she had this soft way of calming me down and telling me everything would be okay. Maybe the most important lesson she taught me was to “see the good” after experiencing a disappointment. Being reminded of the blessings I have, and that every day is a gift to cherish, was just the encouragement I needed to conquer any obstacle.

Even though I’m an adult now, I can still call or text her about anything, like when I miss the cut at an LPGA Tour event.

Her advice hasn’t wavered.

“Choose joy,” she’ll say.

It’s funny, because the more I really think about it, my mom’s wisdom applies to so many different aspects in life. I understand women have faced an uphill battle for far too long when it comes to being treated fairly in our country. Is there still work to be done when it comes to balanced pay, corporate leadership and gender equality? Absolutely. If I’m being honest, too many stigmas and stereotypes still exist.

But I also believe we have made tremendous progress, with more and more opportunities opening up for women in business, finance and government — and sports! I’m extremely proud to follow in the footsteps of so many pioneers who didn’t take no for an answer and fought tooth and nail to break barriers. Trail blazers from superstars like Mia Hamm to superheroes like my mom changed the game for girls like me.

For that, I’m grateful.

This March, I choose joy, strength and gratitude.  

I hope you do, too.

Readings to inspire you along your journey:

How women can overcome their retirement savings shortfalls

The pandemic’s effect on women

In Uncharted Waters, Savers Seek Financial Stability

Financial tips to help you become a money-saving mom

More “Knight Life”

Fun and Focus

Recipe for Success

Goals for the Game of Life

New Year, New Me