I asked my eight year old daughter for her advice before writing this and she summed it up by saying, “Never give up!” – a good mantra for any aspiring young leader! Of course, to really influence the way your daughter sees the world, you have to be a role model. And that is perhaps the hardest part of all. Here are four top tips to pass onto the girls in your life.
1 REWARD BRAVERY AND RISK-TAKING
Girls are often socialised to believe that they should be 100 per cent ready before they try something new and that being perfect is more important than being courageous. If we look at great leaders, we quickly realise that there is no success without making mistakes and that we learn from failure. Encourage girls to push themselves out of their comfort zones and praise bravery over perfection.
2 HELP HER FIND HER TRUE IDENTITY
Really understanding that you are a daughter of Christ, created in his image and loved by him is a huge blessing in a hard world that is quick to criticise the way we look and act. Give girls confidence to be themselves and help them to see the talents they have been blessed with. ‘Strengthsfinder’ is a great tool to enable this – it can help your daughter to understand what makes her feel strong, which is critical in building resilience and reaching her full potential.
3 PRAISE HARD WORK AND A GROWTH MINDSET
Challenging and stretching yourself forces the brain to create new pathways which make us smarter. Those with a fixed mindset are likely to say “I can’t do it” and give up. Instead, encourage a growth mindset by praising girls for the process of their hard work, not the outcome. For example, say: “I can see you are gaining a lot of confidence through your hard work”, and “Well done for trying something so difficult and challenging”.
4 ENCOURAGE HER TO GIVE BACK AND ‘CHOOSE KIND’
Helping others less fortunate than yourself gives you great perspective. It can also be an opportunity to learn new skills and boost confidence. It is also proven through neuroscience to release ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain to create a positive outlook.
So, be brave, love yourself, work hard, ‘choose kind’ and of course… never give up!
Amanda McCalla-Leacy is Global HR Managing Director at Accenture and serves on Viva’s Board of Trustees. She has also volunteered with several organisations working to free women and children from a life of prostitution.