Lisa Van Ahn is an I AM Girl.
I am an athlete who fights for the US National Kickboxing team and has fought on an international level. In 2012, I rose to the top and won a North American title for Kickboxing as well as bringing home a bronze from the PanAm games in Brazil. Fighting isn’t the most important thing about me, but it explains a lot about who I am. I found my way to the sport when I was 19 years old. Back then I was suffering from lack of motivation, depression, and a really skewed sense of my skills and talents.
I was vulnerable, exposed, and directionless, but then something incredible happened. I put on gloves and punched some pads. My life changed right there.
My grandest dream is to empower young girls to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, and live their lives proudly & joyfully in the body that was gifted to them. I know how it feels to doubt, dread, and experience those “I’m not good enough” moments in life. I have so been there. In fact I’m conquering it every day and I want to help other girls realize their own inner I AM powers so they can too.
I created the I AM Initiative, a dynamic and adventurous curriculum for young women that teaches self-love and self-protection because I believe it’s critical to know how to love yourself and protect yourself. I know these two things are intrinsically connected.
I want Every Girl to discover the I AM Girl that lives inside her.
When we believe we’re unworthy, there isn’t a defense system in the world that will protect us. I know this is true because I experienced it. I grew up believing in the negative things that others were saying about me and I let it shut me down.
When the time came to defend myself, I had no clue how to do so. As a result my self-doubt increased and stole my ability to see the brilliance that was my birthright. Once my thoughts about my unworthiness yielded to the realization that I did have value, I was finally able to stand upright, plant my feet firmly on the ground, look naysayers in the eye and announce that YES, I AM strong and I AM enough.