Success. It’s a word that seems to define us. We all strive for it, and beat ourselves up if we don’t get it. But how do we learn how to be successful, and what does it mean?
The Tech Girls Movement is a non profit initiative that aims to have 10,000 girls engaged in STEM entrepreneurship by the year 2020. That’s where the superheroes come in. Tech Girls are Superheroes is a book series that imagines us all as our super-est best selves, doing the things we may lack the confidence to do in our real lives.
“The Tech Girls’ super powers are derived from what makes them unique,” says Jenine, founder of the Tech Girls Movement. “The idea is to imagine a super power inside us to get through the tough times.” Jenine’s own superhero alter ego is Jewella, named for Jenine’s jewellery-making hobby. Jenine says that making jewellery is an important hobby in her life, particularly when it helped her get through her PhD. Jewellery-making gives Jenine time to relax and unwind, to focus on something productive that is removed from her work and studies. We spoke to Jenine and Jewella, for some insight on using our superpowers for success.
Five habits of superheroes
#1. Get a hobby, and actually do it
Having a hobby teaches you to be patient and to work through your problems. For Jenine, jewellery-making is a calming practice. “The gemstones alone have great healing properties, and the act of jewellery-making is quite meditative. If you don’t like the outcome, you can pull it apart and start again!”
There doesn’t have to be a direct outcome or product at the end for a hobby to have importance. Jenine believes we should all invest more time into our downtime, really engage, reward yourself for your hard work and enjoy the hobbies you have.
#2. Engage with STEM outside the classroom
Whether you do it through reading, subscribing to a newsletter, watching TV or reading articles, it’s important to view engaging in STEM as something that’s fun. We need to put more emphasis on the process of playing and the things it can teach us. “The key to STEM is problem solving. I particularly like jigsaw puzzles which take something very unstructured and turn it into something very structured.” says Jenine. Being interested in a topic can also teach you a lot more things about that subject as a whole.
#3. Imagine yourself as a superhero
“There’s something about tapping into our strengths to show us we are capable of more than we think we are.” Often, when we think we lack the capacities to succeed in something, the only thing we really lack is the courage to dive in. Believing in yourself as a superhero alter-ego gives you that confidence you may not believe you already have.
Jenine finds this is a common occurrence with the young girls she works with. “When asking a girl if she can perform some activity, she says she can’t, but when you ask her how her superhero alter ego would do it, she gives you 10 ways her alter ego could make it happen. Confidence is powerful.”
#4. Get a mentor
“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” says Jenine. The superheroes in the Tech Girls Movement are women that are highly skilled in their fields, but aren’t the unapproachable CEO or VIP you might immediately assume.
“For children particularly, engaging with an adult they don’t know in a professional context is powerful. Having an adult take their ideas seriously can be a game changer. Don’t underestimate what our young people can do. Instead, give them the tools and opportunity to be amazing.”
#5. Don’t take the word “success” too seriously
You may think this tip immediately discounts everything we have previously said, but the reality is far from it. Jenine believes that we should use the idea of success to help us to do better, to have something to strive for, but not to beat ourselves up if our idea of success is different to everyone else’s. “It’s about being the best human you can, and helping others to be the best they can be. Be a shining example of authenticity, honesty, and integrity. To me, that is success.”
Find out more about the Tech Girls Movement on their website, and follow them on Instagram.
If you’re an Australian school girl, you can also order your free copy of Tech Girls are Superheroes now, or buy your copy to support the movement.
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Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs