When someone calls on you to ‘step out of your comfort zone’ I don’t see it as an advice to run out and do crazy things or at once confront all of your deepest fears. To me it is a useful prompt to let go of all the patterns, habits and things that we build up over the years.
Not knowing what will happen next – being insecure – isn’t something to run away from, but rather a state to embrace. How can you ever craft your personal life story and know who you really are, if you always play it safe? And know beforehand where you will end up? At my non profit initiative the Young Lady Business Academy I see it all the time: the prospect to do or want something that the outside world might not approve of – insecurity! – is crippling. Girls strive much more so than boys to confirm all the time and in every way to the ideal picture.
My mission? To equip girls with the courage to deal with that insecurity. And to think outside of the box.
If I were a scientist, I’d devote all my energy to researching ‘Why are girls relatively more sensitive to outside pressure?’ And: ‘How can you help them to grow the self confidence necessary to withstand that external pressure? And to follow their own path?’ At the Young Lady Business Academy we don’t tackle these questions from a scientific viewpoint but from a purely practical angle. By bringing ambitious girls in contact with successful top women like Neelie Kroes (a Dutch business women who had a career in national and European politics) and have her share the rockiness of her path, we open the girls eyes to the possibilities in life and hope that their courage will overcome their insecurity. And indeed, for a lot of them the Academy provides that crucial boost.
With great anticipation I am looking forward to the Young Lady Business Academy 4.0, taking place July 1st – 5th at the Rotterdam Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship. Not only am I looking forward to inspiring a maximum of sixty participants to follow the path to their dream career, I also hope to inch a bit closer to the answer that I have been looking for so long: what is holding these girls back?
At online journalism platform De Correspondent I found an interesting podcast with renowned psychiatrist Damiaan Denys (link in Dutch: https://decorrespondent.nl/9039/angst-en-onzekerheid-geven-betekenis-aan-het-leven-ga-ze-niet-uit-de-weg/637183985328-283b8250 ) about the art of living. About insecurity and its accompanying fear he says: ‘Fear in this context is a meaningful entity that can pave the way to freedom.’
Let 2019 be the year of conquered fear and newly won freedom.