In order to guide young women to achieve their full leadership potential, life coach and author Tara Sophia Mohr explains that society as a whole needs to do three things. First, we need to acknowledge that young people hold the key to changing the world for the better. Treating adolescents like they’re powerless only reinforces that harmful untruth. Second, we need to teach them to silence their unhelpful inner critic. Young people who can subvert their fearful self-doubt will be more confident in their dealings and ambitions. Finally, it’s vital to reinforce to young women that the world needs them. “In fact, the world has a hole in it that is shaped exactly like them, and only by sharing their own voice and bringing their unique gifts into the world will that hole be filled.”
Tara Sophia Mohr: Empowering young girls, young women to become brilliant women — that starts with a changed paradigm about how we see young people in general; see them as leaders, as change agents who are moving our culture forward. That’s actually what adolescent rebellion is all about. It’s about breaking the mold of the previous generation and moving the culture forward. So starting to see young women and men in that way rather than as rowdy teenagers who need to be managed and shaped and guided by us.
So how do we teach girls to manage their inner critics? We’re all hardwired to have an inner critic. An inner critic is just the voice of fear within us, a voice that really doesn’t want us to ever stretch out of our comfort zone, ever get hurt, ever feel embarrassed. It’s that voice coming up with all kinds of arguments to keep us playing small so that those things never happen. And so the arguments it comes up with are: you aren’t smart enough or you aren’t good enough, or that was so stupid; how could you say that? And actually, all we really need to do to get the inner critic out of our way is to realize what it is, that it’s an irrational voice that actually has no bearing on the truth and to label it for what it is.
And then also teaching them that the world isn’t finished yet. In fact, the world has a hole in it that is shaped exactly like them, and only by sharing their own voice and bringing their unique gifts into the world will that hole be filled. So if they ever feel alienated by the world, like their point of view somehow just doesn’t fit, in some sense, they’re right. Their point of view is missing, but that’s because the world has a hole in it that's shaped just like them and it needs their voice to fill that hole.