When you were 16, what were you doing? If you were like me, you were probably focused on hobbies, friends and discovering who you want to be when you grow up. For 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, her days are spent sailing across the Atlantic, inspiring hundreds of millions of people to fight for something they believe in, and going toe-to-toe with the American president.
This young activist is taking passion to a new level, and she’s getting worldwide attention.
Whether or not you identify with her cause of combating climate change, she has single-handedly elevated the environmental debate to a level no one else has been able to do. And it’s not just teens and young adults that connect with her. If you haven’t already, check out her speech at the United Nations. It’s chilling.
There’s a lot to learn from Thunberg, and it’s more than just her call to action to protect the earth. Think about what we can learn from her tactics, how her passion is fueling her work, and how she is inspiring others to champion her cause. Any professional can harness these lessons in their respective work to help them stand out and be more effective at their job.
First she communicates using clear, direct language. There’s no fluff, which means there’s no room for error in understanding what she has to say. She speaks from the heart, so her passion is apparent. What’s more, she speaks from her own personal experience, which makes what she’s saying relatable and real.
No matter your industry or level in your career, communication can easily become cluttered and have unintentional results. When you speak about important issues, needs and goals, try to be succinct. Be confident in your words, whether written or spoken. It will get noticed.
Another lesson Thunberg teaches us is not to give up, no matter what obstacles you face. She’s uncompromising and demands to be taken seriously. When you hear her speak, you don’t think of a sweet little 16-year-old girl. You hear someone who knows how to make us listen.
It can be difficult to speak your truth, especially to those senior to you at work. However, if Thunberg isn’t afraid to take on those more powerful than her, you should be able to meet with the boss and bare your soul. Speak with conviction while also backing up your messages with truth and logic.
Finally, Thunberg wasn’t always the fiery teen we see today. She has overcome great obstacles, including overcoming depression and an eating disorder that caused her to spend much of her time at home alone. Not to mention her autism and ADHD, which she considers a superpower that fuels her rather than a disability.
No one is perfect. Everyone has their crutch. Rather than hide from yours, try embracing it. Being uncomfortable is sometimes just what you need to grow. And if others get down on your efforts, remember to be like Thunberg, and rise above. The view from the high road is always better anyway.
Featured Image editorial credit: Liv Oeian / Shutterstock.com