I said it just the other day without really thinking about it. “You are young, you have time to lead when you get older. Yep, the same sentence I heard over and over again. I was always “too young”. As if my age had something to do with my intelligence. That just because I was a young person, it somehow diminished my abilities. It’s time we debunk the thought that because you are young, you are too inexperienced to be an effective leader! You heard me right, I want to debunk that entire thought process altogether. Age does not determine a persons determination, success or ability to lead others effectively.
This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.
I was told ALL my life you are too young to do anything. At 16, I moved out and worked full time at Dairy Queen while attending high school. I rented for four years before I bought my house at 20! That house, I bought, is now our family home and almost paid off.
When I turned 21, the doctors told me I would never bare a child. On 6/27/2009, I welcomed my son into this world. After being inseminated and struggling with infertility and a miscarry, I was blessed with my rainbow baby. A little miracle who now runs circles around me and keeps me grounded. His amazing personality lightens not only my life but those around him. If I had just given up when someone said it was not going to happen I would never have the privilege of being his Mom.
When I had him at age 24, I was thrown out of remission. I was told my Cancer will never go away, 3-6 month prognosis. I was young, just had a son who depended on me and now was faced with a life sentence. Did I give up and let someone else lead my life? NO! I fought, I made those treatments while working full time. I choose to not listen to all the adults around me and fight my cancer one doctor appointment at a time. In 2014 I officially had a clean bill of health.
My last accomplishment as a “young person” was probably my most satisfying. My EX for years told me, I could not articulate words properly or spell. That I came from a worthless, trashy family and I would never amount to anything. If I had listened to them this website would never have existed. Just because I was young, struggled with words and my family was not picture perfect did not stop me from dreaming BIG. I started my business at age 25 and to this day it has become my full blow career. While I might not be a “famous celebrity” I do have followers. I have met some amazing actors, actresses and companies along the way. I have worked along side some of the TOP chefs that you see on the Food Network shows. I have been sent a 47 flat screen TV from Netflix for a job well done. True I struggle with grammar, spelling and writing. This never stopped me from doing what I love. My success has no measurement because in my mind I will never “make it”. I will keep striving, keep raising my bar to beat high goals for myself.
The phrase: “Young people are too inexperienced to be effective leaders” really hits home for me. I am a walking testament that young people CAN lead. While yes age brings experience. We cant forget though some young people may have experiences even their short time in this world. You really can’t judge them based on age alone. Often times people comment I have gone through more things than most have in their lifetime, it’s true. Instead of looking at that as a negative I have choose to use it for the positive and be a walking example of what IS possible. I lead to inspire so many young people by sharing my stories and experiences. True not every young person has walked in my shoes but they can learn from me. I have met some extraordinary young people in the past few months that have excited me about the next generation and what they bring to the table. We need them just as much as they need us guiding them!
Do you think age determines a persons leading ability?