Every day I see girls learning and growing through Technovation, a global technology entrepreneurship program my organization, Iridescent, runs. For example, Sabrina, an 18-year-old technovation student ambassador from Uganda, recruited more than 160 of her peers and helped them learn to code and create a mobile app despite having no computer and limited internet access.
Sabrina is just one girl working against the odds to change her life and empower others in her community. I’ve seen countless girls from all over the world learn and apply technology skills to solve real-world problems.
But being a changemaker is tough. Recently, 61 percent of women engineers reported having to prove themselves repeatedly to get the same level of respect and recognition as male colleagues. Young girls need a great amount of courage to pursue technology and engineering jobs, which are growing at three times the national average.
So how do you find the courage to learn and use these technologies through the uncertainty and obstacles that might stand in the way? Persist through failures and fears with these four steps and unleash your power to change the world:
1. Create a goal
Set tiny “wins” that get you to it. Spend quiet time thinking about what you would like to see changed in your community. Pick one small way you can help make that change. It could be learning more about the problem on the internet or watching a video about it.
2. Find your cheerleader
Each of us needs someone to cheer for us. It could be your friend, your teacher or your parent. Tell them about your dream. Ask them to talk with you every month and just listen.
3. Find your mentor
Once you have taken a few steps along your chosen journey, you can do some research on the internet or through your library to find experts around the world who are thinking about similar problems. Contact them. You’ll be surprised how open and willing people are to encourage you. Update this person regularly on your progress — once every three months or so.
4. Share your work publicly
Once you have reached a milestone in your journey, try to share your lessons and insights at a public speaking event. The experience will get your adrenaline pumping and the supportive audience will cement the positive memory in your brain.
Nothing is outside your grasp. The world is waiting to support you and lift you up!