The Confidence Code

The Confidence Code for Girls

Last week, I listened to an audio book from my local library titled, The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, best-selling authors of The Confidence Code.

This book is written for teens and pre-teen girls, but it is also written for moms and other superhero women who remember the struggles of their own teen years and want to support the girls in their lives. I even found some take-home lessons for myself as a grown-up, confident woman.

As women in forest stewardship, we love what we do, but can tell countless stories about how challenging it can be to care about forests and open spaces, know everything we feel we need to know about them, and make good decisions that will create a legacy for future generations. How did we build the confidence needed to get here? What can we do to help inspire other women and girls to "take risks, mess up, and become our amazingly imperfect, totally powerful selves?"

Here are a few quick "aha" thoughts that I took from reading this book:

1. Superpowers - like being that strong woman you always wanted to be - don't appear overnight. They are borne from hard work and dedication. Girls and women alike are constantly growing and improving our superpowers. To borrow a quote from Wonderwoman, "It's not about deserve, it's about what you believe." In other words, you may not deserve the hard times and the good times, but that's not the point; it's about believing in yourself no matter what life throws at you. 

2. Girls - and women - need strong role models. I know I got to be who I am today because of women - and men - that I looked up to as a student, and later as a young forester. It is our responsibility to pass that torch and share our wisdom with women foresters, women landowners, and the next generation of forest stewards.

3. Young people rock. The examples of powerful girls in this book were inspirational. Listening, I wanted to say out loud, "You go, girl!" And then, I realized that if the girls in this book can change their lives and stand up for what they believe in, I can, too. Teen girls have a lifetime ahead of them with all the ups and downs. That doesn't have to stop them from making a difference in their schools, families, and communities.

If we wait for the perfect moment to act, we actually end up creating more stress and diminishing the outcome. Be confident in your strengths and imperfections. Know who you are. Make that move. Call that forester. Talk with your children about your wishes for your land. Connect your grandchildren with the forests you love so much. Share your story.

I encourage you to read this book with a special girl in your life and help build our collective confidence as women. Or, check out the grown-up version. As the authors write, "By acting on our best instincts and by daring to be authentic, women can feel the transformative power of a life on confidence."

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