Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada
Throughout our time getting involved with different initiatives, attending conferences and participating in various events, we have had the pleasure of getting to know so many incredible women from around the world. One of these women, is Julie Carrier, who we met at the Girl Up Leadership Summit this year. She is a global authority on leadership and confidence-building for girls, and she is also the CEO of Girls lead Worldwide, leading a movement "to empower those who empower girls and empower girls to empower each other." She also serves on the advisory board for Girl Up, is the #1 National Bestselling Author of her book Girls Lead, and a national award-winning book on confidence, BeYOUtiful. She is an Emmy-nominee for positive programming and has reached millions on national TV in her role as a girls' success and confidence coach featured on MTV's positive goal-setting show, MADE. Julie has impacted and inspired so many girls, including ourselves, and we are so excited to have her on our podcast. You can listen to her full interview by following this link. Continue reading for some main lessons we can all learn from her interview.
1. We can all become successful if we find our purpose, and do what we are passionate about.
So many of the incredible role models that we see in the media might seem like they have always been successful, or that they have always had what they have today, but this is not necessarily true. Throughout the interview, Julie emphasizes this.
I think a lot of times, we can hear a lot about success and how to be successful, and we don’t get to hear what were some of the struggles that happened. And I think, one of my top philosophies is that we grow through what we go through. Part of the way to be successful is that sometimes it means you’re going to have to try things and fail. It means you’re going to go through hard times, just like everyone in this human life. For a long time, I thought I had to be perfect in order to have impact, or I thought I had to be perfect in order to be loved. And I felt like I had to earn my worth. And the more I achieved, then I can finally feel like I’m worth something.
When I finally owned the fact that as human beings, as women, we’re inherently valuable. You know, whether we go through a tough time, or somebody criticizes us, or we try something and it doesn’t work out the way that we want, we’re still just as valuable as before. Our value is constant and unchanging. We’re priceless.
And that’s not in an arrogant way, that’s just really owning the fact that as human beings, our worth is infinite. And I think I finally understood that I couldn’t earn my worth, that my value was independent of what people said, or my value was independent of criticism, or my value was independent of what online trolls might have written underneath a video. I became a lot more bold, and a lot more courageous, and got a lot more done. It took a lot of trying and not having things work out and learning from things, and realizing that failure doesn’t really exist at all, if you try something and you learn from it.
She also goes on to describe how she found success when she asked herself what she wanted to do, and what her purpose was, instead of listening to what people said she should be doing.
I studied pre-veterinary medicine in college because I thought that I should be a vet because everyone said, “Julie, you love animals, you should be a vet.” And so at the time I was such a people pleaser, I thought “Okay, I’ll become a veterinarian.” It wasn’t until I got a scholarship to study abroad in England for a whole year, and I was away from all of that social pressure, that I really started asking myself the question, “What do I love to do? What brings me joy? What’s something that I would love so much, in fact I would do it for free.” And when I asked myself that question, I literally was just amazed at how different life can be if you don’t take that conscious time to check in with yourself. I realized my real passion is youth leadership, and working and empowering young people to lead their best lives. As I did that, I got my degree in leadership studies, and funny enough, ended up working as a consultant at the Pentagon. I got a lot of great experience doing and creating courses, and then I thought, “Okay, now it’s time to leave this job and go and support young people full time.” So, again, this is a very “Cliffnotes” version, a lot of people thought I was crazy, to leave my corporate job and I realized again, living our passion and purpose is so much more important than any title, or any amount of money that a job might pay us. So, I left that job, and have been doing this job now, being the Girls Lead Worldwide CEO full time for fifteen years and I love it!
I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world, I’m blessed to be on the board for Girl Up and just to reach so many young women, and truly, there’s no price tag that would be able to take that away. I love it so much.
Everyone here on this earth has a purpose. And when you listen to what brings you joy, it’s going to bring you closer and closer to that purpose, and living that, is literally the most beautiful thing in life. It surpasses any amount of money, any amount of prestige, any amount of accolade. It’s just when you’re in your purpose living your purpose, things click into place and you really feel fulfilled, and that’s a great place to be, but it’s not always easy to find it.
2. Confidence is a learned skill.
I started off in high school with a growth disorder, was super awkward, was the furthest thing that you would think of when you think of the word confident, and I had crippling anxiety. So I share a lot of these accomplishments, one because I think as women, we are supposed to be proud of what we do (in a humble way), but two that really, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. If I can start off in high school like that, and not even want to speak up in class, and now be speaking on stages in front of 10,000 people sometimes at a time, anyone can do anything!
So the biggest piece of advice that I would recommend, is to realize that confidence just like most other skills, is a learned skill. When I was growing up, and a lot of people are still believing this myth, is that you’re either confident, or you’re not. And that confidence is something that you’re born with, or you’re not. And what I’ve learned, is that confidence, literally comes from courage. So, what is courage? Courage means that you feel the fear, and you move forward anyway. When I first started speaking, I was terrified. A lot of times, and you’ve seen me speak, in like Washington D.C., and people come up to me and they’re like “Oh gosh Julie’s always been so confident, she rocks the stage!” No, I had to earn that!
Let me tell you, when I first started speaking, I was terrified. I would feel sick before I would go up there, my hands would be shaking. And what I learned, is that the more you practise courage in doing what you feel called to do, or the more you practise courage as you step outside your comfort zone, guess what? The more you’re going to get confident.
And to summarize that in a little phrase, I like to think about, and if you really pay attention there’s a lot of content in this one or two sentences. And it’s this: “Fear knocked, courage answered, and then confidence showed up.” And so, in order to be confident, you first gotta have courage and face the fear.
3. Dreams do come true
I remember putting together a dream board. And this was a long, long time ago. This was when I was in college, and I really wasn’t exactly clear on what I wanted to do. It was towards the end of my college career, and I knew I wanted to be a speaker and work in leadership. I put a picture of a huge arena, filled with about, probably 10,000 people on my dream board. And a dream board, you may very well know, it’s where you create a visual picture of the goals you have for your life.
And, I remember, fast forward a number of years, I was invited to speak at this very large student leadership conference. And what was interesting is that I came to that event, and I knew it was an arena, but I really had to pause when I walked through the doors of the stadium. I looked around, and thought “this looks like the exact same arena, that I had on my dream board years ago,” and it was filled with thousands of students, and I was like “wow this stuff really happens.” Because when I put that picture on my dream board, literally, I didn’t even have a website! I didn’t even think this was possible. And then you fast-forward, with lots of hard work, effort, vision and focus, to see what actually happens. It was one of those moments when I thought, “wow, big goals really do come true.”
4. Self-Doubt and "Negative Self-Talk" is just an outdated program in our brain software
What research actually shows us, is that even though it’s called negative self-talk, it’s actually not really you. And what do I mean by that, you’re like “What are you talking about Julie?” Well, our brain, basically hasn’t really been able to keep up with our modern day kind of requirements. So in the past, a long time ago, part of our brain development known as the “Default mode network,” - now, I’m not going to geek out too much, I’ll keep this quick. Basically, when we hear negative self-talk, it’s not really us and who we are as a person. It’s part of our brain, with really outdated programming that thinks it’s keeping us safe by keeping us small.
So any time we step outside our comfort zone, guess what gets activated? That part of our brain that creates “automatic negative chatter.” It says things like “Hey, you’re not going to succeed, you’re going to fail” or “you shouldn’t raise your hand, people are going to think you’re stupid.” All of that, is just an outdated program, in our brain software that’s trying to keep us safe by keeping us small. But the reality, is that the modern rules of success are different, so just know, anytime you step outside your comfort zone, to do something big or new or different, that’s going to trigger that automatic negative chatter.
Now, you get to choose whether you listen to it or not. So if you can say “Oh, wait a minute, there goes my automatic negative chatter again, isn’t that cute, it’s trying to keep me safe by keeping me small, it’s such outdated programming.” You can literally move forward and just acknowledge that that’s not who you are. Who you are is someone who’s driven to do a lot of good in the world to achieve great things, and to make a difference.
5. "Say no to the good, so you can say yes to the great"
For a long time, I would say yes to everything and my schedule was so packed that I was really getting depleted and exhausted. I realized that because I was saying yes to all the good things, I wasn’t able to say yes to those few, really great things. And so, it’s about really being conscious of how you invest your time, and choosing to invest it in a way that one, fills you up the most; that you feel you were the most drawn to do. We all have to do things that aren’t fun, that are important, but we still got those - just make sure they don’t become the majority of your schedule.
6. Self-Care is very important
I believe that self-care is so important. And self-care is not selfish. When we are the best version of ourselves, when we feel filled up, and we feel “Okay, I’m eating healthy, I’m exercising, I’m taking care of myself,” we can better pour out to help others. And I’ve lived my life both ways. One where I was completely wrung out, and drained and exhausted, still trying to sacrifice and pour out, and help others, and I still made a difference. But I have such a bigger impact now that I’ve prioritized making sure that I’m healthy and feeling well, before I wring myself out and have nothing left. So yeah, self care is another, and I think one of the most important, secrets to success. And, in the short term, you may not notice, but it’s in the long term. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and I have way more impact when my brain is working better, when I’m well rested, when I make sure to do my smoothies in the morning than if I’m running on Red Bull and exhausted and just living on caffeine. There’s nothing wrong with some caffeine, by the way, in my opinion. I do like a little hot tea, or Chai Lattes but yes, self-care is also really important.
It was incredible to speak to Julie about her journey, and her advice for young girls. You can listen to more of her wisdom on our podcast, and stay updated with her work on her social media and website!