Two weeks back, I posted an open letter to the overly anxious parents of young girls who were my daughter’s schoolmates soon to embark on a 3-day 2-night adventure camp.
Today was camp day and early in the morning, Emily left for school excited to spend a few days away from home bonding with her friends from school. And it seemed oddly serendipitous that as I was clearing my inbox, I would come across an update from LinkedIn notifying me that someone had liked one of my posts made months ago asking girls and women to be fearless, to live dangerously and address the bravery deficit.
Truth be told, it was a very short post comprising just two short sentences and sharing a very engaging TED talk by Reshma Saujani on the subject. I would highly recommend taking the time to listen to it.
What was most disquieting for me as I listened to this TED talk once again was that girls who were smarter academically were less likely to take risks and more likely to play it safe, reinforcing and protecting a perfectionistic view of self that would have been unconsciously cultivated by the eco-system that they had grown up in.
And if our best and brightest are going to keep playing it safe, how are we ever going to change the status quo? I think it starts with the current generation of women showing the way to be brave, beginning with ourselves. For if we are not brave, how can we call on the girls who follow behind to be otherwise? And when one of our sisters fails or falls trying to do something she knows isn’t something she would succeed at first try, let’s focus on the progress and not the stumble. Let’s cheer the lessons learnt and the attempt to try again and not chide her for being foolish.
So what is it that I am going to be fearless at that I have been playing safe on for too long? Two things come to mind: Public speaking and falling in love again. Stay tuned.