I was a quiet, introverted teen looking for my place to shine. Girl Guides was that place – to be recognized and to develop into my own person. My Guider made me feel like a Rock Star.
There are girls craving to step from behind the curtain to engage at centre stage of life. They are the quiet high-achievers; the quiet leaders. Quiet high-achievers have so much to contribute, but often their anxiety about their performance keeps them small and invisible. It’s up to us to identify those girls and help them develop into Rock Stars in a healthy way that supports their self-regard, self-actualization, and overall well-being.
Encourage What’s Healthy: Watch for the Traps
Can you spot the high-achievers? They exhibit the following eight typical behaviours that can spur healthy growth, but can also be traps that hold them back.
- Driven: Think of girls who are driven to earn badges. Nothing gets in the way of their goals. However, they become so caught up in their goals that friends and fun get pushed aside.
- Doers: They do it well; they do it quickly. However, because nobody can do it as well or as quickly as they can, they appear bossy or they drift into solitary pursuits.
- Highly motivated: They take goals and achievement seriously. However, they fail to see what’s really important about the experience – learning, friends, and fun. This can lead to burnout and dropout.
- Crave positive feedback: They care how others perceive them and their accomplishments. However, they tend to obsess over criticism and take it to heart.
- Competitive: Their quiet competitive nature contributes to growth. However, they may obsessively compare themselves to others leading to a chronic sense of not being good enough and acute unhappiness.
- Passionate about their successes. They feed on the highs of their successes. However, they are subject to crippling lows and tend to give more attention to what’s lacking (the negative), rather than what’s right (the positive).
- Safe risk-takers: They won’t cause you to go grey with the risks they take. However, because they are so passionate about success, they shy away from risk. They won’t stray far from their comfort zone in order to grow.
- Conscientious: They won’t let you down. However, they are guilt-ridden. No matter how much they accomplish, they believe it’s never enough. Their need to have and do more is insatiable. This need will drain their energy as they grow into women.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week (April 21 to 27) and Global Youth Service Day (April 26-28), consider how you can provide healthy opportunities for your quiet high-achievers and empower girls to become Rock Stars.
Resource: 8 Behaviours of high-achievers based on “The Paradox of Excellence” (HBR, June 2011) by Thomas J. DeLong and his daughter, Sara DeLong.
By guest blogger Patricia A. Muir, Professional Certified Coach, Maestro Quality Inc. Patricia is an avid supporter of girl greatness and women’s leadership. She credits her own leadership development to the opportunities provided by Girl Guides of Canada. As a quiet, introverted high-achiever, Patricia was “driven” to earn her Gold Cord (a.k.a. Canada Cord). She spent summers at Doe Lake and travelled to Our Cabana in 1969. Patricia recently participated as a GFSC Mentor and derived great pleasure and inspiration from working with Pathfinders through leadership and social action. Patricia lives, works, and volunteers in Mississauga, Ontario.
Do you know a resourceful girl in Guiding? Encourage her to nominate herself, or to be nominated by another girl member, for the Girl Greatness Awards! The other nomination categories include: confidence, courage, and making a difference. Hurry though, because the nomination deadline is Sunday, March 31, 2013.
[Note: Nominations can ONLY be submitted by girls. We want to hear from girls describing in their own words why or how they have demonstrated confidence, resourcefulness, courage and making a difference in their community.]