Erin Mobley is a business and organizational change consultant, writer, and philanthropist. As a Girls Leadership Circle mentor and Core Team member, she has played an integral role in creating and guiding Heart of Leadership’s mission and programming. This essay is her story – about her high school experience and why she contributes to Heart of Leadership. Thank you, Erin, for partnering with us on this mission! You make a huge difference.
I had a girlfriend from high school tell me over dinner that she thought I always had it together. She was baffled when I told her that high school was brutal for me, that I was terribly afraid and insecure all the time, that people were cruel. We were acquaintances then and she had no idea. For her, she confessed, she felt painfully invisible during that time. She recalled our recent reunion where people didn’t even remember her name. I was completely shocked. She was always so beautiful, put together, and surrounded by friends.
Our story is not rare. While it may be naïve to think we can make the teen years completely comfortable and easy for future generations, I do believe we can ease the unnecessary pressure we place on our kids. Boys and girls alike. Right now.
My struggle growing up was mostly internal. I was timid, unsure of myself, and felt forced to perform from an early age. I lived in a constant state of high anxiety. Towards the end of high school, it leaked out into a visible athletic twitch. Suddenly, I was terrified to play the sport I loved, the sport I was highly recruited in, and the only way of life I knew. Anxiety gained a friend in depression, and soon I had two new constants.
From the outside, I was a top student, successful athlete, pretty girl with solid friends. I even had a couple of popular boyfriends. I wasn’t in the upper echelon of popularity, but I was doing all right. People liked me. Except I felt like a prisoner.
Heart of Leadership speaks to that girl – the girl who by all accounts is “doing all right,” who has things going for her, and about whom her parents don’t really worry. Yet, every girl I know that fits these criteria has a massive internal need during this critical time of life – a place she can be real, a place she feels loved and safe, and a place that gives her wisdom and vision for who she wants to be. Our girls need an alternative community of friends, mentors, and guides that offer a life of meaning, contribution, and wholeness.
This is not the world our media gives us. This is not the world our well-intended elders often gave us. This is the world we must create and offer ourselves… from our hearts to theirs. This is Heart of Leadership for me.
— by: Erin Mobley