Carrie Underwood Tells R29 How She Became So Confident

Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Underwood.
Carrie Underwood and her CALIA leisurewear line recently announced that they are partnering with The DICK's Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter program to donate $500,000 to girls athletics. We asked her to share her message of empowerment for young women with Refinery29.

If someone told my 14-year-old self that I would be living out my dreams on the public stage, I wouldn't have believed them. Of course it was always my ambition, my ultimate goal in being so passionate about music — but it’s never something I banked on.

One of the things that brought me joy in middle school and high school, and has remained a constant in my life, is my love for sports. It's the feeling of empowerment I've gained from performing my best on the field and now in the gym. It was where I gained the confidence to help me navigate the unexpected, demanding, busy, amazing world I entered after winning American Idol.

I grew up playing softball and basketball and, like so many athletes at that age, I couldn’t pinpoint the larger impact it would have on my life. I loved being a part of a team and trying to win. In the end, discipline, teamwork, sacrifice, and persistence inevitably became the result of those experiences. That freeing experience of being able to do what you love, all while learning positive life lessons, is why sports programs are so vital to the development of young girls today. I first got this feeling from sports, and now I get this same feeling from performing. In that way, it’s really about finding your outlet — somewhere to place your energy, to build goals, to succeed, to fail — all in an effort to grow and learn about yourself.
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Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Underwood.
When I watch young athletes on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team or more seasoned players like Venus and Serena Williams, there’s always that moment when you notice they’re completely in the zone, focused, where the confidence they embody from all those years of training is almost tangible. It’s that moment that I want young girls to aspire to — it’s that same confidence that I want to instill in young girls through The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation’s Sports Matter program.
On the field, you learn how to win and you learn how to lose. How you take those wins and losses ultimately shapes how you recognize your own accomplishments, and how you value yourself and others. All of the young girls I have encountered through this foundation reflect on the same goal of wanting to be successful and the fear that comes with stepping out on faith and following your dreams. I want them to take their experiences on the field or the court to understand that the drive that propels them to succeed in sports is the same drive that in turn aids them in the pursuit of reaching their goals in life — whatever they may be.

Ultimately, I want young women to know that they are beautiful and are capable. At 14 I could not have foreseen how my life would pan out, but through a great support system and the invaluable skills I learned through sports, I can wholeheartedly say that each and every day I work to be the best mother, wife, musician, friend, athlete, and performer that I can be. And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

Stay the Path,
Carrie