Peechaya Burroughs for TIME
Advice

What We Learned About Millennial Women from 2.8 Million Texts

June 27, 2016

"The reminder that you’re not alone in your struggles or insecurities and the permission to be human has struck a powerful chord"

In August 2015, my co-founder and I had an idea: Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get a daily text message to start your day off right? Something that could be your own personal confidence boost every day. A work bestie in your pocket. We wanted to counteract ‘imposter syndrome’ and other negative feelings that limited us – and so many others — from being our best selves in the office and in our personal lives.

We met working together at DoSomething.org, a tech-driven NGO, where we realized the power of having a friend who understands your work/life situation. We often thought about building a scalable way for others to get that type of support. We went full-force into text messaging and put our ideas to action when we launched Shine in October 2015.

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Eight months and 2.8 million text messages later, users are telling us that Shine (with all of its gifs and off-beat pop culture references in tow) is their morning addiction and really does feel like a friend messaging them to make their work and personal life more focused, fun and intentional.

In a world that not-so-gently reminds us of all the things we need to be, the reminder that you’re not alone in your struggles or insecurities and the permission to be human has struck a powerful chord.

The top five most engaged topics for our users, all revolve around living their best life. They are as follows:

  1. Confidence: The number-one topic that resonates with Shine users is how they can boost their daily confidence, especially at work. Our most engaged-with messages to date have been around faking it until you make it, speaking up at work and understanding how your body language can demonstrate self-assurance.
  2. Being present: Staying in the here and now and not taking what you have for granted. In line with mindfulness trends that are happening at a macro level— as we become more and more connected online, people want tactical ways to disconnect offline and take in the world around them.
  3. Positivity: Nixing the negative talk that leads to self-doubt is important for our users. Studies show that humans have 60,000 thoughts per day and 90% of them are repetitive— imagine the power of one harsh self-criticism.
  4. Remaining passionate: Dealing with burnout comes in at fourth. In a ‘do-it-all’ world, exhaustion and decision fatigue are something we see women across the board struggling with. We all need resources to help us handle the not-so-realistic to-do lists we create for ourselves. We’re humans, after all.
  5. Body image: Learning to love what we see in the mirror and recognizing that a very small number of women fit the supermodel body type has not only resonated with our female users, but has been one of the most-engaged topics for male users.

We often ask ourselves, “What are the issues in 20 years we’re going to look back at and be mad we aren’t talking about right now?” Our mission, through Shine, is to break the spiral of silence around the very things that make us human, like the normal feelings of self-doubt that sometimes comes with our ambitious, purposeful lives.

Naomi Hirabayashi is the co-founder of Shine: the daily messaging experience to help you be your best self. Sign up for texts at www.shinetext.com. Naomi lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé, is passionate about diversifying entrepreneurship and believes Brené Brown is a QUEEN.