Life changing

Isn’t about big checks or fancy cars. It’s not about the glitz and the glamour.

It’s about seeing people.

It’s about understanding them on a human level on connecting authentically.

What’s terrifying about this concept is that it could only take 15 minutes. All the work you’ve done on that project. The logo design, the planning, the emails. You didn’t need to start there. You could have met a person and connected with them and you would have more traction that you do now.

That’s scary. That’s worth hiding from.

Skills everyone needs to have

Empathy

Critical thinking

Communication

Collaboration

Bias to action

Question asking

Listening

Mindfulness

Creativity

I’m sure there are many, many more. How many classes teach these things? How many tests evaluate for these things?

When we work with young people who are embarking on a journey to help someone and add value to the world, they are missing these skills. They’re not missing the ability to memorize something, or regurgitate an answer. They’re missing the combination of critical thinking, empathy, bias to action that are all key components required to add value to someone else’s life.

If you can add value, you are valuable. What more important reality could we prepare young people for? What is more fundamental than adding value?

Rushing to nowhere

The more important the work is-the deeper the lessons are-the more difficult it is to rush. In fact, rushing actually gets you nowhere.

Pushing hard may feel like the right thing to do, but that rush toward accomplishment takes away from the real magic.

Recently, we tried to cram 90 minutes of work into 45 minutes. It didn’t work. We thought we could rush it, but instead we got backlash.

The kicker is that the lessons happen during reflection. Reflection happens when you have time for the ideas to marinate. Rushing prevents both these steps from occurring.

Give more space for reflection and most importantly, value it deeply in any educational context.

Leaning back

Sometimes you feel like you’re around people who will catch you if you slip.

Just like the classic trust exercise, what happens when you fall backwards? Does someone catch you? Maybe they let you get close to the ground, and at the last moment they hold strong. Or maybe they sense you leaning back slightly and give support in the moment it’s needed.

Either way, we’re all going to lean back at point. The question is who is standing behind us and how are they going to show up?

What’s challenging

Certain tasks are always challenging. Running, lifting, writing, meditating. They’re all difficult, until we change our perception of them.

Imagine running as therapy. Writing, lifting, meditating as your flow.

It might not be your reality, but for someone, it is. Next time you’re feeling pain in any of those activities, reframe it and imagine the joy.

Leaning into difficult moments

Quitting is a good thing to do. But quitting just when things are difficult is a terrible habit to get in.

The people who grow the most are the ones who are honest about what they find tough. They ask for help. They try things. They learn from failure. All of those things are uncomfortable, but the harder you lean into them, the stronger you will emerge on the other side.

Community as curriculum

What could be a richer experience than sending ten teenagers out into their community to find problems?

They would go to the library, the public square, the bus stop, the health clinic, the gym, the convenience store or anywhere in between.

Task them with interviewing five people about their day, their story and their struggles interacting with the environment.

One student interviews, one student takes notes.

Bring them all back together to share out what they found. You’ll hear about the most pressing social issues of our time. Most importantly, you’ll hear about the issues that kids care about most. The issues that they see every day that they want to solve.

It’s hard to imagine a more powerful start to any learning experience.

Tips for selling

Make your ideas known

Know yourself

Show up

Give back

Say “Yes”

Share the work

Be thankful

Get excited

Know your user

Do the work

None of these have to do with “convincing” someone that you’re right, or that you’re the best. They all have to do with being generous and showing up for other people in a way that helps them get where they want to go.

Goes without saying

You never want to hear “I thought it would go without saying.”

Because that means you didn’t say something. And the expectations weren’t clear. Everyone wasn’t on the same page, and it came back to bite you.

Even if it should go without saying, you might as well say it anyways just to be clear.

Reality on social media

It’s easy to see social media as something that distorts reality. It does.

It’s objectively not representative of the world. While it’s often used for evil, that doesn’t mean that it is inherently evil.

As a young non-profit, person or business, you can use social media to punch above your weight-class. By sharing and amplifying stories, social media distorts people’s minds in your favor.

Persuasion can be used for evil, but it doesn’t have to be evil.