What I Learned The Year I Decided To Fail

Have you ever felt you were in the movie Ground Hog Day? You know that one where Bill Murray wakes up to relive the same day over and over and over again? That was me one year ago. I wasn’t just stuck in a rut or a hamster wheel. I felt I was tediously living each day repeatedly.

So I decided to drop the ball (many balls actually) on purpose to see where failing on purpose hurt or helped. I learned quite a few things in the process of trying to attain a more whole-hearted life.

Should You Worry Your Child Is Lonely?

Increasingly, young people are feeling lonely in a crowd. As my daughter starts a new school this year I discover she is no exception.

A new study alarmed many when they discovered that young people were reporting rates of loneliness at far higher rates than older adults. The same study says social media is not the culprit. Nor is it the solution whereby one can feel connected by merely clicking a few buttons.
This is a face-to-face problem and my daughter discovers it isn’t as hard to overcome as she thought.

Summer Reading List For Girls Of All Ages

The Girls Leadership Book Club is, in my opinion, the go-to resource for finding empowering, age-appropriate reads for your girls. I highly recommend you join their Facebook group to get their fall 2018-2019 school year recommendations when they come out. 

This list is from their recommendations for the last school year by age group. My daughter has read several on their middle school list and loved them. I’m sure you will too. 

Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to form a book club of your own!

How I’m making sure my daughter doesn’t see herself through the haze of an Instagram filter

My daughter and I talk a lot about how important it is to "use social media to become a part of something bigger than yourself rather than making yourself bigger," to quote Rachel Simmons, author of Enough As She Is.

She understands she should avoid the 'I'm an object to be admired' posts.

After seeing her friend’s Instagram post, I didn’t want to talk about using social media responsibly. I wanted to talk about body positivity. Social media can be enemy number one in helping your daughter keep a healthy self-view. Especially when it comes to her friends.

This Is How Your Daughter Will See Herself As A Leader

Researchers asked 1,000 American consumers to name a famous woman in tech. Only 4% could do so. And of those?…1/4 named ‘Alexa’ and ‘Siri.’

The issue might not be so much about recognition of those women who sit at the top of tech, but the more significant problem of a shortage of female leaders overall.

Forget about recalling names, what keeps me up at night is the bigger question: How can you recognize female leadership if you aren’t exposed to it? Worse, how can my daughter be one if she can’t see one?

This Is Why Our Daughters Are Ridden With Anxiety

Rachel Simmons says in her new book, Enough As She Is, “There is something troubling stewing beneath the surface of all this (girl) success.” This brewing starts young in our daughters and can blindside us once she is in her late teen years.

My daughter is 14-years-old, so I hope I can catch her. But it is too late for many of my son’s 17-year-old friends. They are at full gallop on the hamster wheel that Simmons calls the College Application Industrial Complex. It’s dizzying and exhausting by itself, but Simmons says when dumped on top of girls who’s, “drive to achieve is fueled by brutal self-criticism and anxiety that they will fail,” we find “girls who may look exceptional on paper but are often anxious and overwhelmed in life.”

How To Be Charismatic But Not Fake

In a nutshell, my daughter thought charisma was great if it was innate but if you tried to practice being charismatic, you were an imposter.

Girls are uncomfortable with anything that smacks of less than authentic. I get that. But I also know from my work with adult clients that executive presence, gravitas, and a certain energy are all qualities that leaders strive for, not to mention are evaluated on. 

Bosses encourage employees to gain these skills but my daughter and, it turns out, many women are wary of looking like imposters.

Researchers suggest charisma is simply connecting with people and, to connect, you must do three things...and they CAN be learned.

Connection isn't just authentic, it's powerful.

Do Girls Really Need To Learn To Code To Be Successful?

Am I the lone voice in my daughter’s ears telling her it’s okay if she doesn’t want to pursue an interest in STEM?

Out here in sunny, tech-obsessed California, girls’ leadership often equals STEM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Math). Many parents look to STEM as the singular solution to the gnarly and complex problem of getting their girls into leadership positions, and this view always seemed limiting to me.

Thankfully, two new studies run by Google show that in order to be successful in technology you don't need to be a technologist.

How To Help Your Daughter Take Back Control Of Her Social Media

The headlines on the dangers of social media over the last few months are enough to cause us parents to lose our minds.

To make matters worse, no one is talking us off the ledge. Instead, they are piling on. At after-school events to train parents on social media, police officers counsel parents and kids that if they post certain things they can go to jail or be registered as a sex offender. Lawyers explain that if you make one wrong move on social media, that post or picture can follow you for the rest of your life, hurting your chances of getting into a college or getting hired by your dream company.

Simply put, the advice to parents is control, limit, and stalk.

Before I build a moat around my daughter, I have one big question: Why isn’t anyone teaching me (and her) how to use social media as a tool for her power? Luckily, one expert has an easy exercise to help me do just that!

When Failure Is Not An Option. How To Achieve Your Dreams

What if your girl has a big goal like "improve my grades" or "get into my dream college?" We want our girls to achieve their goals, not just because we are parents, but also because it improves confidence and setting goals is an important executive functions skill.

But why do some resolutions fail and others succeed? Author, Deborah Reber, offers 8 steps to support your girl with big dreams.

So what if it's not New Year's day. January 22nd is just as good a day to go after your dream as any other!

Why We Need To Stop Using The Term Mean Girl

Women have a low tolerance for conflict with other women. It’s easier to just slap a label on it than to sort it out. Unfortunately, these terms are dehumanizing and imply that the girl or woman has an inherent character flaw.

“Mean Girl” does not describe a person every time there is an uncomfortable moment in a relationship. It’s a moment, not a person’s identity.

Here are some phrases we can say instead.

3 Guidelines For How To Be Truly Authentic

Parents and girls' leadership experts implore my daughter to stop playing it safe, and start getting ‘authentic.’ This is because study after study shows that girls are so worried about being judged, they’re not willing to be vulnerable, messy and real.

But my daughter was confused. How to be vulnerable and real? How to know when to do it?

Ironically, we run into problems when we are preoccupied with being “authentic.” When authenticity itself is a singular goal, it can cause us to filter less, overshare, and even manifests itself as a chip on a shoulder.

I try to explain to her the difference between “confident authenticity” and simply brazen oversharing.

6 Tricks To Get Her Out Of Her Phone And Get More Done

What I thought would be a conversation about social media and its detriments with my daughter (Not to worry, that blog post is coming in a few weeks!), turned into a curious conversation about decision making, time management, perfectionism, and the brain. 

Yes… they are all related in this case because it's our brains' fault. (Don't you love it when our shortcomings can be blamed on biology?!)

But why should we care?

An essential trait of leadership is being a decisive decision maker. We don't admire the clueless leader who waffles or is uncertain.  Therefore, we need to understand what is going on with our brain so we can take back control.  

And stop watching cat videos ...

Are Parents To Blame For A Child's Fear Of Failure?

Several recent high-profile articles have highlighted the worrying trend that today's college students aren't failing well. In order to support their students, universities have started to set up programs and support to help these anxious students who have never experienced a B before.

Researchers lay the blame for these fragile young adults squarely at the feet of parents.

But are parents the only ones to blame?

How To Help Your Perfectionist? Start With Her Strengths

Ever feel like you are only focusing on your child's weaknesses? Good news. There is something called Strength-Based Parenting that is highly effective.

When we focus on eliminating only weaknesses in our kids, we can only improve the process or person from low to a sort of average. If instead, we identify, focus on, and leverage strengths, we can attain better consistency and success. In fact, each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.

If we take our natural ability and multiply it times the effort we put in, we will reach higher milestones sooner than others. Psychologists call this the “multiplier effect.”

Not only is this great for us parents but it will be a relief to your child who thinks you only see their negatives.

5 Steps To Discovering Your Passion

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, authors of the book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, say, “Many people operate under the dysfunctional belief that they just need to find out what they are passionate about. Once they know their passion, everything else will somehow magically fall into place.”

William Damon, director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, says that the reality is only one in five young people between twelve and twenty-six have a clear vision of where they want to go, what they want to accomplish in life, and why.

I personally think this is a realistic, if not healthy, statistic. Apparently, I’m in the minority.