A Year In The Life Of Extremely Productive Person Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Stop saying you're busy, this is what busy looks like.

Brought to you by Australian Of The Year Awards

Young Australian Of The Year Awards

This is a collaboration with The Young Australian Of The Year Awards.

At the tender age of 25 , Yassmin Abdel-Magied has a CV that would make most people twice her age feel inferior. Queensland Young Australian of the Year 2015;  an engineer, social advocate and media commentator who founded the organisation Youth Without Borders at the age of sixteen; a published author (her first memoir, Yassmin’s Story, was released earlier this year) by 24.

Obviously Yassmin has a knack for fitting a lot into a short amount of time — a skill plenty of people would give their eyeteeth to have. Here, she tells us about her latest 12 months, and how she keeps on top of it all.

This Time Last Year…

My TEDx talk had just been uploaded onto the global site and was blowing up around the world.

I was about halfway through the first draft of my book — freaking myself and my publishers out — and was gearing up to go offshore for another hitch on a rig floating off the coast of Western Australia.  I was staring down the barrel of at least six months of the hardest professional work I’ve ever done, to be honest!

The Most Surprising Thing About Releasing A Book

Nerves! It was an apprehension around allowing other people to own my story and interpret it in their own way.  More than that though, I was surprised at how much authors have to hustle! I thought the writing was pretty much all there was to it, but in fact it’s just the beginning.

A book is a product you have to sell, a message you have to push and like any message you care about, it’s all about hitting the pavement. I had to learn to not be self-conscious about talking about Yassmin’s Story — or expect people to just pick it up of their own accord — and reach out to folk, connect with them and share why it might be worth reading.

The reaction to Yassmin’s Story has been amazing. To hear from young Muslims and young women who have been positively impacted by seeing their own journey reflected in someone else’s experience. It’s also been brilliant to hear from those who haven’t really been exposed to a world like mine and about what they got out of reading the book. That’s something I am really proud of — sneaky educating.

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The Biggest Change In My Life Of The Past 12 Months Would Be…

A willingness to explore the concept of vulnerability in relationships, both romantic and platonic, and to redefine or readjust my beliefs about strength. I have moved away from thinking ‘feelings’ or being generous with kindness, love and care is ‘weak’ per se; something I did believe as a young(er) woman who was trying to make it in a world of men.

Oh and my TEDx talk went viral (which was amazing) and now I’m someone who’s asked to speak around the world about a topic I truly care about — bias and how to beat it.

Being nominated for Young Australian Of The Year was important to me because it allowed me a platform to speak to all sorts of people about issues I really care about and that are important to ensuring we get to a more equitable society. It also connected me with a group of people (all the other finalists) who are all doing amazing things in their own right. I feel honoured to have been part of a cohort of people having impact that inspires, and some of those people are now my closest friends.

On Youth Without Borders

YWB is an organisation about getting young people to realise their full potential through collaborative community and youth-led projects that have a positive impact. The young people running the projects increase their capacity and see their ability to change the world, and the young participants are positively impacted due to the nature of the programs.

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For Young Australian of the Year And Junket 2016 I Nominate…

Dhakshy Sooriyakumaran. An amazing young entrepreneur heading up YLab, the Foundation for Young Australians new social enterprise. She also used to be an engineer – woman after my own heart – and is someone not afraid of challenging the status quo.

Miran Hosny, a lawyer and journalist who is a fabulous strong voice for young Aussie Muslims and Arab-Aussie-Muslims (the third culture kid life!). Co-founder of Sajeeling (spelling), she’s someone I go to for advice and is incredibly wise, but also tells it like she sees it.

Amna Hassan, the awesome Muslim chick behind the Auburn Giants. She’s inspiring Muslim women the world over to get into sport, is humble, grounded and looked up to by so many in the Muslim communities. She inspires me!

When Young Australians Go To The Polls Next Month…

I urge them to vote for the party you think has OUR best interests at heart. By “our”, I mean the young, the intersectional, the disadvantaged, the ones who need social safety nets, the ones who need a visionary government so we have employment opportunities in 20, 30, 40 years time.

That being said, I’m not a party politics person, I never have been. So maybe all I should say is don’t vote for Pauline Hanson. I love Queensland, but let’s not legitimise hate, shall we?

Nominations for Junket 2016, and the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards are both now open. Go here now to have your say, put your hand up, or nominate!