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Teen Board Question - May 2016

Teen Board Monthly Question

Teen Board Question - May 2016

Last month, our Teen Board Members had the exciting opportunity to read and comment on copies of YOU GOT THIS!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World, an inspiring debut from 16-year-old CEO Maya Penn. Maya started her company, Maya's Ideas, when she was only eight and has continued to thrive ever since. An expert at identifying her ideas and turning them into functional plans, Maya writes in the hopes that teens will learn to identify their unique creative identities and use them to make their dreams come true. Look below to see what our Teen Board Members had to say about Maya's motivating book.


I am a very serious person. Often, when I come up with ideas I immediately remind myself of all the logical barriers standing between me and my idea. I want to do amazing things, but the "grown-up" side of my teenage brain wants me to be rational, thoughtful and careful. Maya Penn had none of these roadblocks in the way. By starting her business at just eight years old, she was blessed with the mind of a child. A mind full of creativity and dreams and completely lacking in any negative thoughts. To many, this may seem like it would play against her in the larger scheme of things. She certainly wasn't old enough, according to most adults, to be starting her own business. However, Maya proved that this young mind of her’s was exactly what she needed to succeed. As I read YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn, I learned so much about how to make my own ideas possible, but what stood out to me the most was the way Maya always believed in herself. She taught me that the key to success is having an imaginative mind. Since I've read this book, I began to notice the mind blocks I've put up against new ideas and dreams. Each time I allow myself to have a negative, discouraging thought about a new idea, I think of Maya. I'm hoping that with a little practice I'll regain the child-like mindset that allows the impossible to become possible. --- Aliza M.

YOU GOT THIS! by Maya Penn is a delightful and inspiring read. Reading about the life of a girl who has done so much more than I have in the same amount of time, really inspired me to look closely into my interests and to try to pursue them. Maya has taught me to not only continue doing what I love but to also try new things and be open-minded. She allowed me to delve into an “adult world” without feeling so intimidated. She's managed to create a business for herself out of a hobby, and she was lucky enough to become financially able to donate her profits to organizations that she really cares about. This truly amazed me. I've always wanted to donate and to help humane societies or organizations that raise awareness about endangered species, but I simply don't have the money. I never thought it would be a possibility until I became an adult with a secure job and a stable income until reading YOU GOT THIS! Maya Penn’ story is so inspiring, and although I may not have the same hopes and dreams as  her, she helped me to realize I need to take the time to figure out what it is I love to do and never look back. --- Alyssa L.

Maya S. Penn has achieved many great things in her life. It simply amazes me how Maya has spoken at a TEDTalk, created her own clothing business, donated to charities and so much more at such a young age. We are the same age and the only thing I've managed to do is sell a few t-shirts as a hobby. After reading YOU GOT THIS!, I learned that if you have a dream you should follow it. Of course, it won't happen overnight, but with enough time and labor you will eventually achieve what you desire. --- Asia H.

I really enjoyed reading YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn. It was a very quick and positive book that I gleaned many lessons from. The most important lesson I got though, was from the beginning: "It is possible to pursue all of your passions, though, without getting too sidetracked or overwhelmed in the process. The key is to focus on just one thing at a time." This helped me because I am interested in many different possible career paths. I'm hoping reading this book will help me narrow it down! --- Bryn D.

After reading YOU GOT THIS!, I could probably talk for hours and hours about all of Maya’s experiences that amazed me or the lessons she’s taught me. Her story has inspired me and it’s almost impossible to believe that she is only my age and has already done so much. The biggest lesson I learned from Maya after reading this is simple: never be afraid. If you want to make change then start now. There will always be obstacles, but that should only encourage you more. Her words inspire me to never dismiss an idea again but to treat it like it could be my next big idea. Not only that, but it encourages me to make a change in the world and do something I’m passionate about. It’s impossible not to want to go out into the world and try to help it after reading everything she wrote. --- Brynn S.

YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn encourages readers to let their creativity shine bright. My personal favorite lesson from Maya was "What Will I Do With My Life?" since I still don't know. She writes that it's okay to not know what you want to do with your life, and if you have more than one interest, not to force yourself into one. She, herself, combined many things into a career that makes her very happy and this book proves it! --- Cat S.

I love that Maya’s book really made me think. I love that she took an honest approach to her advice. She made me reflect on how I manage my time and how I could fit in something that would make the world a better place if I just wanted to. I could apply this advice to pretty much anything in life. Time management is critical and I think that it was very important that she stress that with her advice, and she did. Overall, Maya was very inspiring because she is my age and has accomplished so much, and she doesn’t claim to have done it without support. --- Grace P.

One thing Maya's book taught me is to never give up. She taught me to embrace what qualities I have --- to utilize what I love most. She taught me that something little can become very big with just some hard work. Maya inspired me to become better than I am now --- to try and do something. Because you can't get anywhere without trying. She taught me that it is okay to not know what you want to do when you get older. She guides you to help figure it out. Maya is a very good model for anyone of any age. She really knows how to inspire someone. --- Hafsah K.

The most surprising lesson I have learned from Maya is how important her mentors are to her and to the creation of her many projects. In her book YOU GOT THIS!, she details how she has developed her relationships with her many mentors and friends. Often times, reaching out to a mentor seems scary and unrealistic, especially when a desired mentor is well-known and important in their field. Maya’s steps for reaching out to a mentor are straight-forward and make the entire process of developing a relationship with a mentor seem less intimidating. Her advice to create a relationship with many mentors and to not get hung up on the support of one particular mentor is also crucial, as sometimes a particular person does not have enough time or energy to devote to a mentee. --- Janine C.

Maya S. Penn's YOU GOT THIS! taught me that not everything in life needs to be cut and dry. Maya talks about having a Dream Board where you can just put anything and everything that inspires or motivates you onto a board. I thought this was the best advice because it shows that not everything can be taught, and you don't have to pursue something you learn in school. A dream of being a actor or astronaut doesn't have to end in your childhood. And the idea of having a reminder of that on your wall all the time seemed like the best idea to me. I feel like we all need a reminder when we are losing motivation or confidence that there are so many options and there are no right or wrong options if you feel truly happy pursuing it. --- Harleen K.

YOU GOT THIS! is an informative, intriguing and most of all inspiring, novel devoted to motivating creativity in young adults. Maya S. Penn writes about her own experiences as a successful, young entrepreneur and helps others attempt to find their way towards making their dreams and passions a reality. I enjoyed the reality and honesty of this book. Penn stated that not everyone knows their passions to begin with but that it was alright to dream big and maybe fall short along the way. After reading this, I feel empowered to not only dream about doing what I love but to make it a reality! A huge thanks to Maya for having the courage to make her dream a reality and showing the rest of us how to do the same!! --- Lauren H.

YOU GOT THIS! by Maya S. Penn was an extremely motivating and inspiring book. She provided a helpful process to following your dreams along with a lot of examples from her own life and from other inspiring individuals. Connecting the advice to choices she's made in her own personal journey really helped give direction and motivation to readers. I especially love her "you can do anything you set your mind to!" attitude. All of the advice for finding your passions and pursuing them really helped to explain and simplify the process, making your Big Idea a little less scary. YOU GOT THIS! was a super entertaining and motivating book that I recommend to anyone in need of a little guidance and positivity! --- Maggie L.

As I read the inspiring book, YOU GOT THIS! by Maya Penn, I realized that Penn is a living testament to the old age adage "creators never follow.” I like to think of myself as an imaginative dreamer --- someone always able to bounce a zany idea off the top of their head. But like most readers, I'm oftentimes crippled by my perception of what others think of me, holding back the fountain of energy inside myself. Penn, as a teenager herself, understands and relates to that feeling all too well, but is nonetheless here (like your very own boot camp coach) to tell you to silence that negativity. Silence it she does, as her whole book is an advocate for letting everyone's freak flag fly, whilst finding that special purpose inside yourself. Through stories, memories and plenty of self-help tips, you would be hard pressed to find a reader not thoroughly emboldened by Penn's powerful message. However, the great thing about Penn's debut novel is the host of valuable tenets teenagers can take away and apply to their own life --- from hard work, to honesty, to the resilience cultivated in all of us to achieve our ambitions. It's a tour-de-France of everything good and motivating in this world, calling to action a generation of young people who've got this. --- Megan B.

A 16-year-old entrepreneur? Sign me up! I love reading books on people's success. There is nothing more motivating than reading about a person younger than me who has achieved so much. More than that however, I loved hearing Maya's voice in the book. Motivational books are great, as I said, but the voices of the authors often blend together. I find most of the motivational books are a mix of witty one liners, serious advice and something distinctly adult. I have never read a motivational book in the voice of someone my age and it was refreshing. I wish Maya luck in everything she does in the future! --- Pranshu A.


For me, the most important lesson I learned from Maya Penn, the author of YOU GOT THIS! was to never give up and always have faith in yourself. I just love the incredible story and the optimism throughout this book.  Although this lesson seems cliché, many authors who express it through their books do it via fictional characters, so it's difficult to actually believe them and boost yourself up. However, in the case of this book, the author herself has achieved her remarkable success by being brave and fearless. It was that physical, living proof that made me believe that I do in fact "got this" and I can achieve my dreams. --- Vaishnavi S.