These days there’s a lot of talk about how to build a meaningful life. Self-help books on the topic abound, and you’ll find no shortage of web articles claiming the secret 10 steps to finding your purpose.
But a fulfilling life doesn’t come by absorbing the advice from those around us. No book can tell you how to live your best life.
Finding your purpose takes hard work, dedication, self-awareness, the vulnerability to fail and the resilience to learn from mistakes.
If we want young girls to live their dreams and lead lives that are both rewarding and impactful, we have to help them develop the confidence to do that.
When I was younger I suffered from low self-esteem like so many girls. Even though I was talented, I felt I wasn’t good enough. My father didn’t take my creative interests seriously, instead pressuring me to devote more time to math.
What I needed at the time was encouragement. I needed someone to say, “Karen, your passions are wonderful. Let’s find a way to use them.” And luckily, I was blessed to receive that.
In middle school I got my first job doing graphic design for a family friend. Kathy paid me $8 an hour to make posters and newspaper ads for her church. What I remember most was how satisfying it felt. By exercising my natural talents, I found personal joy and also discovered that I could bring joy to others. In a small way, I was experimenting with the quote above—discovering your gift, developing it and giving it away.
I’m grateful to have been given that chance. By entrusting me with important work and inviting me to use my talents, Kathy gave me a lifelong gift of self-confidence.
I’ve had a number of Kathy’s throughout my life. They were teachers, bosses, friends and family members who saw what was special in me and encouraged me to show it. They helped me strive for excellence and pursue my natural interests.
My hope is that every young woman and girl can have a Kathy in her life too—a trusted mentor who helps her embrace, develop and apply her gifts.
- Think of someone in your life who supported you as you explored your talents and dreams.
- What impact did they have on your life? How can you pass that gift to others?
How You Can Help:
Let’s Encourage Girls to Claim Their Bold, Inspired Futures
Here are two things you can do right now to make sure that more girls get the support and opportunity they need to choose a life of empowerment.
- Spread an attitude of gratitude! Share this to your social media with your own story about a mentor who encouraged you to live your dream. Your voice amplifies the conversation about why supporting girls’ dreams matters!
- Pay it forward! Just as others’ support made a difference for you, you can change a girl’s life. By making a donation to the Dream It, Be It program, you’ll equip a girl to reach her full potential!
Interested in becoming a mentor for girls?
Karen Rauppius is our new LiveYourDream.org Coordinator. Her vision is to help women tell their stories and to develop pathways for volunteers to uplift the causes they care about. Karen previously worked at the Center for Courage & Renewal supporting leadership programs based in contemplative practice, and at the online magazine Ignite the Sound. Karen manages the Your Dream Blog and Facebook and Twitter.