Perfectionists, you’re not alone. ‘Brave, Not Perfect’ explains why we should embrace failure

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Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code is a great read for any woman who has ever wondered why the fear of failure can be all-consuming. This fascinating read points out the obvious. Adults praise girls for good behavior and boys for exploring. Reshma Saujani certainly makes the case for encouraging girls to play fearlessly on playgrounds and to engage in risky behavior, which builds courage. She addresses how women can be critical, how off-handed comments like “she should not be wearing that!” or “I wish I looked like that in jeans,” from their mothers shape their perceptions of beauty – and where they fall on the spectrum. Boys hear more praise for effort, persistence, and trying new things – not just the outcome. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. She provides excellent tips for overcoming the unattainable pedestal of perfectionism and happy success stories from the young girls learning to code in her program.

Saujani writes,

boys are taught be brave, while girls are taught to be perfect. Rewarded for perfection from the time we’re young, we grow up to be women who are terrified to fail. We don’t take risks in our personal and professional lives because we fear that we’ll be judged, embarrassed, discredited, ostracized, or fired if get it wrong. We hold ourselves back, consciously or unconsciously, from trying anything that we’re not certain we’ll ace to avoid the potential pain and humiliation.”

Reshma Saujani, Brave not Perfect

Any success story is riddled with failures. Failure is part of the path to success. The ones that overcome the failures and keep trying ultimately end up at the top.

The lesson we need to teach our daughters – AND OURSELVES – is that failure is not a bad thing. Failure is just one of the steps to reaching your goals. Fail. Brush yourself off. Try again. Fail, try harder. Being curious and tenacious and creative and trying again in a different way… that’s what we should be rewarding.

I can’t recommend this book enough.

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