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Conversations with Khayla

Recently I had a very interesting conversation with my cousin’s daughter who is just about to make the big jump from Michael Oak to Rustenburg Girls for her Grade 8 year.  Not only is this the beginning of her high school life but it’s also a big shift from a very open-minded schooling system that she has grown up a part of, to an all-girls Government school which is rooted in tradition and has a more rigid system of education.

At the gentle age of 13 she was telling me how she acknowledges that it will be a challenge at first and that she knows she will have to learn how to study, but she is looking forward to it and knows that she’s made the right choice.  Her parents gave her a few options to choose from for her high school years, and she boldly and confidently chose Rustenburg Girls, the school her mother matriculated from.

At some point in the conversation, I felt like I needed to give her some sort of advice for high school… you know, trying to play the “Big Sister” role which is not really necessary for a child who has the most incredible support system in her parents and older brother, but I dished it out none the less.

“Try not to let anyone tell you what you should become.”

Advice which perhaps goes a little deeper than the surface of the statement.  You know what she replied with?

“Michael Oak helped me find who I am.  Now I just have to work on becoming a better version of myself.”

Yes, I think my jaw literally dropped too.

My statement might have been a little ambiguous but I didn’t expect her to respond with such clarity of thought or without saying Ï don’t know what I want to be yet”.

This beautiful little woman left me gobsmacked.  Now imagine what kind of young-adult and adult she will become if her spirit remains unbroken and her confidence in herself continues to soar?


The gist of what I’m trying to get at here is that we should never let anyone tell us what or who we should be or become whether that be in our character or our profession’s.  We hold the power in our decisions of what type of women (and men, if any of you are reading this) we want to become.  The catch is finding the confidence to become the dream-like, larger than life versions of ourselves we sometimes see in the corners of our minds but hide behind opaque curtains there because it’s a little scary to face her (or him) head on and take the risks involved.

So, I leave you with this…

Be bold.  Be brave. Be amazing. Be the version of yourself you dream about.  Take risks.  Be ok with failure.  Be at peace with success.  Be the goddess (or god) in your imagination.  Be the best version of yourself.  Be confident.  Be awesome.  Be whoever the *expletive* you want to be.

With Love


rules for being amazing

3 Responses to "Conversations with Khayla"

  • Natalie Leicher
    January 21, 2015 - 1:28 pm Reply

    Love this! I love that someone so young has such a positive and powerful, strong attitude towards growth and development! Sounds like she is going to ace her future and grow into a very well put together confident young lady! Something we could all learn from!

  • Nadia Battlemann-Carroll
    January 21, 2015 - 3:58 pm Reply

    Wonderful inspiration Leilah!! I’m at a cross roads with the thought of taking a risk and you have given me the confidence to take it:) Thank you for the beautiful message. You are so talented at writing and inspiring woman.

  • Andrea Hendricks
    January 21, 2015 - 6:42 pm Reply

    I, too, hope that she will continue to shine her light brightly on the world and lead by example!

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