- Early years (college, pre-college, early 20s, etc.) should be geared towards learning. Most students do not have much real-world working experience. Yet, our lives beyond college means we must work to constantly put food on the table. Prioritizing learning early on enables students to identify what one enjoys early on, as well as what one does not enjoy.
- Be courageous – it’s okay to fail. It’s advantageous to build a foundation of putting one’s self out there (e.g. reaching out to idols, learning to code, etc.). Being courageous even “a little bit” can create a habit for the future.
- Seek answers where you have the most questions. In the case of the student, she was considering two different paths – one in healthcare, one in development. It can be difficult to choose a path for the summer when both offer unlimited opportunities/ benefits. I advised her to opt for the path she has the greatest questions about. Again, it’s okay to fail and pivot, especially early on in life where there is less risk.
- Start developing your WHY and your PURPOSE. I’m a fan of Simon Sinek’s message to understand what drives people. This will be nebulous for most young folks, but it’s a great place to start building self-awareness.
Everything can seem new and confusing early on for this young student. It’s all a process. Take a deep breath. Now is the time to cultivate never-ending curiosity.
I recently finished Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I didn’t even know about this book despite knowing of his infamous Ted Talk, but when I did hear of this, I was excited to go in-depth on the subject.
- Leaders and founders utilize WHY to set the vision of the company. Typically, too, the founders are complementary in one providing the WHY while the other enables the HOW. For greatest effect, both must be present. Note: one is not “better” than the other. They’re complementary.
- We (and companies) are good at espousing the WHAT and HOW we do, but are “fuzzier” on our WHY. Starting with WHY allows us to build on an emotional pull with our audience – a trust. When we sell on our WHAT and HOW, we differentiate by features, price, etc. Why allows us differentiate on a deeper level – a belief and compelling motive. Our WHAT and HOW aligns to (and amplifies) our WHY.
- Most companies start with some WHY, and reason for being that was born out of a need and a vision. The challenge, then, for companies is maintaining that WHY. Typically, companies start espousing WHAT rather than grounding into the WHY. It’s a shift in culture – the “split”.
- Leadership change can have a drastic shift in a company’s culture (and indeed, a shift from WHY to WHAT). Culture is driven top-down.
- WHY can pull your company through the tough times. WHY creates loyalty amongst “followers” (consumers) who are willing to pay a premium or bear an inferior product.
- Do not sell a 500GB music player… sell 10,000 songs portable anywhere.
- “Advise A Startup”. I love speaking to startups, entrepreneurs, and wantrepreneurs. Networking is great, but hearing the problems others are solving and how is highly educational. As John also said, teaching others is a great way to amplify and accelerate learning.
- “Don’t Throw Up, Speak Up”. I grew up as an introvert, but realizing what I wanted to achieve, I wanted to be more extroverted. So, I hacked my personality for years and got comfortable doing uncomfortable things (i.e. giving presentations as often as possible, meeting others by simply starting with “hi”, etc. It starts with deliberate, small actions. Overtime, it gets easier – not totally comfortable, but you develop a strength to be successful at it.
- “Entrepreneur It”. Entrepreneurship really builds on my past life as a consultant (looking for problems, finding solutions, and implementing solutions). I do this often in everyday life including random interviews of flight attendants during flights or door-to-door surveys at local restaurants. There are problems everywhere, and you can exercise that creative, problem-solving muscle everywhere, too.
Find ways to practice entrepreneurship with a purpose. Take small, deliberate actions consistently. You’ll be amazed how opportunities start to flow. Then, take the leap.