"That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well." - Abraham Lincoln
Little boys and girls are watching us.
Not to sound overly dramatic, but it’s true.
As many of you know, I'm a lucky bonus mom to a 6-year-old boy. He’s a sponge and picks up everything we share and what we do. So much so that he will painfully remind me of something I've said a few weeks prior I had hoped had landed on deaf ears.
He reminds me constantly of how many of our beliefs about the world and what's possible are formed at a young age. I try to make sure to remind him that unicorns are real and girls rule.
In all seriousness, though, not too long ago, Science shared the results of a study that were more than a little bothersome:
The statement, "A person in my office is really, really smart—they solve problems faster and better than anyone else" was shared with kids. When 5-year-old girls hear this statement, they’re as likely as boys are to assume the smart person is of their own gender. But by age 6 to 7, they’re 20%–30% less likely to assume this brilliant individual is a woman.
What does that have to do with success, more specifically your success?
Science goes on to state: "The same researchers say these early ideas about gender and intelligence could steer young women away from high-profile careers associated with high intelligence, like neuroscience or engineering."
Imagine the number of girls whose dreams and versions of success are squashed before they're even old enough to know they exist.
The studies illustrating these sorts of findings continue.
It’s sad, and it’s also our current reality. Gender aside, this study demonstrates the influence of the messages we pick up at an early age.
It shows at what an early age we begin to form our mindset as to what is possible for us, about who we are, and what we’re capable of.
Suddenly striving for success and wanting more of it has farther reaching ramifications. And suddenly it doesn't sound so narcissistic.
Our actions, what we believe, and how we behave affect not only our lives but the lives of those around us, ultimately becoming the model the next generation learns from.
After all, between the age of 5 and 7, these girls are picking this message up from someone or somewhere, and it's been said that most of our core beliefs and values are formed by the age of ten.
This is where your success story comes in. Let me be clear, when I say "success story", I'm talking about your version of success, your unique story fully realized. I'm not talking about perpetuating a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, antiquated version of success someone else fed you.
If you see your younger self in this study, here's a gentle reminder: it's never too late to change the story.
When we begin to rewrite our own story, play full out, and unlock what’s possible, we not only change our personal reality, we cause a shift in the status quo.
When we challenge current thoughts; when we question the norm; when we get curious about what success means and looks like for us, we begin to break the mold and shatter the outdated thought patterns.
Your singular success and behavior can ripple out and have continued effects. Similarly, playing small and perpetuating fear-based beliefs can as well.
Yes, this applies to the men reading as well! This isn't only about this one study. It's about the messages we send to the world at large, and in particular to the younger generation, with what we say and do.
We don't live in a bubble, as much as we may sometimes wish we did.
I’m a big believer in the adage, “A rising tide lifts all ships". It’s up to all of us to put our own oxygen mask on first so we can help lift one another and shift the paradigm. When we do the work to change our story from within, when we create our own version of success and uplevel our lives in an authentic way, we raise those around us; we bring the average up; we act as a model for what’s possible.
You owe it to your younger self and future generations to create an authentic version of success and share your story.
Wishing you your version of success,
P.S. New Yorkers, we're going to take this conversation further next week on Wed, March 22 at 7pm at the awesome Jill Lindsey. Click here for tickets + location details!
P.P.S. Want to dive deeper into your success story? Contact me for a free coaching session!