This post is part of the girl effect blogging campaign organization by Tara Sophia Mohr.
I remember when I was twelve. My biggest challenges were finding a way to get more speed on my wicked fastball, faking my way through piano lessons, and fighting off the kind of classroom boredom that comes from never being challenged.
When I was twelve, I learned I could skip 6th grade and move right on to junior high.
When I was twelve, I wanted to be a microbiologist.
When I was twelve, I read like a fiend, played 2 sports, and practiced show tunes on my trombone.
When I was twelve, my family didn’t have much money but I had more opportunities that I knew what to do with.
I was in control of my own future. I knew I could change the world.
Not for most…
But for most girls around the world, being twelve means letting go of dreams. Being twelve means getting married sooner than later. Getting pregnant shortly thereafter.
Being exposed to HIV.
Having to sell her body to care for her children.
How quickly dreams can turn into nightmares.
The spirit that changes the world…
When I was twelve, the entrepreneurial spirit – that drive that always has us scratching & struggling to maintain complete control of our future – was already well entrenched into my psyche. My mom was an entrepreneur. My grandfather. My grandmother. The formation of my ambition was merely another turn of the cycle.
Most girls do not have those role models. The cycle that most girls experience is that of poverty, disease, and hunger.
Still, girls all over the world break this cycle. Some do it out of shear will, others out of the most meager education, still others are guided by benevolent souls that reach out from a comfortable world and into the discomfort of others.
These girls find their own entrepreneurial spirit.
I believe that, deep down, we all possess a drive for self-determination, self-actualization. On some level, we all want to make decisions for ourselves and chart the course of our own life’s journey. Some of us, even in the first world, have that spirit beaten down into hiding.
Others find their entrepreneurial spirit regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.
When girls are given the chance to create their own future instead of becoming a cog in a broken machine, they create a new cycle. That cycle is the girl effect. The girl effect isn’t just about creating beautiful inside-and-out women, it’s about enacting change throughout communities.
The entrepreneurial spirit touches more than just one life…
A girl who finds her entrepreneurial spirit creates a community with ambition & energy.
When I was twelve, I dreamed of changing the world by discovering a scientific breakthrough or writing a life changing book.
When a twelve year old girl in a developing country dreams of changing the world, she dreams of building a school in her village, founding a hospital in her province, or bringing fresh water to her family.
That girl will have a greater impact on individual lives than I can hope to achieve. And I’m okay with that.
It’s the girl effect.
How can you help?
Write a post on your own blog, share the girl effect on your favorite social network, or make a donation. And don’t forget to discuss the girl effect with your own daughter, niece, cousin, or sister. Raising women who understand the weight of their own opportunities goes a long way to create a generation fully engaged in ending this cycle.
One other way to help: book a brainstorming session with me and I will donate 30% of the cost to Be!, a project empowering young girls to become entrepreneurs in India. You’ll also receive an ebook of your choice from my library for free as a special thank you.