As a kid, I always wanted to be a Girl Guide. We didn’t have a chapter in our neighbourhood so my dream of wearing a cool Brownie uniform never materialized. But I’ve always been fascinated by the Guides’ philosophy (and of course the cookies). Girl Guides is all about empowering young women and teaching them important life lessons. As adults, we’d do well to remember them especially when it comes to managing our money and careers. I think we could all benefit from getting in touch with our inner Guide and follow their principles of honesty, self-respect and teamwork. Here are six lessons to help you achieve financial and career success:
From camping to wilderness survival, Girl Guides helps teach girls how to use the resources they’re given to survive and thrive, no matter how much or how little they have to go on (can you start a fire without a match?). Resourcefulness is so important when it comes to money. It’s up to you and no one else to take care of yourself financially, no matter how much or how little you have in your pocket.
The Guides philosophy is designed to foster self-respect in young women – and financial independence is fundamental to nurturing that self-respect. Living a debt-free life and paying your own bills can be hugely empowering.
3. Setting goals
Goal-setting should be a big part of managing your finances and your career. While you may not get a Girl Guides proficiency badge for reaching your work or financial goals, you do need to set and review your goals regularly. What are you saving for? And where do you want to be in your career in the next three years?
4. Dress for success
The uniforms are one of the best things about being a Guide – by wearing that uniform you’re literally wearing your badges and achievements on your sleeve. This is a great lesson for the workplace, where first impressions are often made based on appearance. The more put together you are on the outside, the better. Remember that every time you get dressed for work — make sure your ensemble reflects the job you want instead of the one you have, then show the world what you’re made of.
5. Taking risks
Did you sell Girl Guide cookies? If so, you probably developed important tools vital to career success. From facing rejection to putting together a friendly pitch, social outreach practices help to garner thick skin, steadfastness and the confidence to talk to anyone.
6. Respect the sisterhood
Girl Guides is about building strong and supportive relationships between girls. This is a philosophy that women should carry into the workplace, especially in fields where they are vastly outnumbered by men. As we strive to see women assume more leadership roles in public and corporate life, let’s remember it’s not about competition — it’s about support for one another. Make sure you do your part by helping the sisterhood, whether its through mentorship, networking or just some words of encouragement.
Money expert Caroline Cakebread has been writing for Chatelaine.com since 2006. She is a recovering academic and the mother of two small kids. She lives in Toronto where she writes and reads about all things financial. Follow Caroline at Twitter.com/ccakebread.