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Maya Penn, Teen TED Talker & Entrepreneur

Today’s guest is just 16 years old and she accomplished a lot already. Maya Penn has probably done more in her life thus far than I have done in my 36 years and I would guess, more than a lot of us have done in our lives. She’s an incredible inspiration, to not just people her age, but people of all ages.. She is many things — an artist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, environmental activist, speaker, author, animator and coder. I discovered in interviewing her that she is home schooled, so that helps with giving her the time and the flexibility to pursue all of these things. But it’s not just the flexibility of her school schedule that has awarded her of all this successes, she is an instigator, visionary and she’s not afraid to be afraid.

Maya started her own company, Maya‘s Ideas, at just 8 years old and then went on to create an eco-friendly clothing and accessory brand where she donates 10-20% of her profits to local and global charities. This also inspired her to start her own non-profit, Maya‘s Ideas 4 The Planet, where she works to give back to girls in developing countries. Maya is also the youngest person to give back-to-back TED Talks, three in total. Her latest TEDWomen Talk received over 1.2 million views and is one of the top 15 TEDWomen talks of all time. She’s out with a new book titled You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, And Change Your World where she’s sharing an inspirational and innovative blueprint for teens and young adults to help them maximize their full potential.

One of the things that she taught me is that you shouldn’t be afraid to do it afraid. Several things we learned from Maya, in addition to how we shouldn’t be afraid to achieve our goals, we talk about how to take an idea to market. She did this at a very young age. She didn’t have many resources. Yes, her parents are entrepreneurs but they’re not in retail and her first business was a fashion line. How did she do that? How did she prepare for three back to back TED Talks. I got heart palpitations just thinking about it. At that age, I was doing plays at school in front of (maybe) a hundred people and I would still get nervous every time, let alone millions of people. How did she get over that and do it so successfully? Lastly, how is she just a normal teenager? I asked her to give me some time management tips because she’s doing it all while still being a kid.

If you’d like to learn more about Maya visit her website or follow her on Twitter @MayasIdeasShop.

One of my favorite quotes from the interview: “My true definition of confidence is not being afraid to do things afraid.” – Click To Tweet

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