My daughter, Eliza and I were invited to attend the “Fueled by Failure” Mentorship Summit sponsored by Amy Poehler's Smart Girls and Always in New York City. The event started with a panel of impressive powerful women who did not allow failure to stop them. These women used failure to fuel them and push them further. Their personal stories that let the girls see that taking risk is a good thing.
The panel, moderated by Laura Brounstein, Director of Editorial and Business
Development Cosmo + Seventeen, featured:
-Dr. Knatokie Ford, Founder and CEO, Fly Sci Enterprise Former Senior Policy Advisor, Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
-Christina Diaz, Mars2020 Instrument Engineer for the MEDA and RIMFAX science investigations at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab
-Amanda Hill, Brand Director, North America Feminine Care at Procter & Gamble
– Meredith Walker, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls
The results of a study done in 2017 showed that by puberty, 50% of girls feel paralyzed by the fear of failure. Always #LikeAGirl campaign seeks to inspire moms to help their daughters understand that everyone fails and encourages them to embrace failure as a fuel to build their confidence while telling their peers the same.
I have to admit that I was nervous as my daughter is learning to navigate middle school and all that comes with being a girl. The middle school stories along with hormones, attitudes and cliques, prompted me to start a list of “life tips” as a reminder of what to do when things get difficult.
- Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.
- It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
- Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
- Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
- Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
- When arriving together never leave without the other.
- Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
- Can’t is a cop-out.
- Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
- If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
- Life is short, Just Try It, Do It, Learn It.
- Don't let failing stop you.
The last two were added after the summit and will also be a part of the Tree of Growth. This beautiful wall-size drawing captures the meaning of Fueled by Fire and is a remembrance that failure does not have to stop you. This tree that will be prominently displayed at Proctor & Gamble Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Once my daughter, realized that this was really a safe space, the usually shy preteen opened up. She participated in a lively round of improvisation before focusing on the arts and crafts.
The one-on-one mentoring session really opened her eyes as everyone shared candidly both young and “old”. Society doesn't always make space for girls to take risk and be alright if it is not successful but this summit showed the girls that they have to make the path for themselves and others.
Since third grade, my daughter has talked about her plans to attend Princeton University on a lacrosse scholarship and prepare to run for the President of the United States. She shared this in the group and everyone cheered while encouraging her.
I have been following the Always #LikeAGirl campaign for the past few years and the imagery and content shared is impressive. I encourage you to visit the website, and help share the message because being a girl is AMAZING!
Try, Fail, Learn and Keep Going
Disclosure: This post is made possible with support from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and Always. All opinions are my own.