I recently had the special opportunity to deliver a TEDx talk in front of 2,000 high school students in Denver, Colorado. The excitement in the room was contagious. If you ever face any doubt or fear about your ability to change the world, just put yourself in a room full of 2,000 people 15 years younger than you.
At TEDxYouth@MileHigh, I met entrepreneurs, scientists, musicians, storytellers, philanthropists, dancers, and artists—all whom who hadn’t even finished high school yet!
While I was nervous to get up on stage in front of such a huge audience, the students I met reminded me that anything is possible. They converted my stress into positive energy. Young people have no fear. They refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. They are relentless and they are not afraid to share their voice.
Check out the talk below, and keep on reading for a few lessons I learned from my own journey that I shared with the inspiring young audience, that can help anyone looking to find meaningful work.
1. Invent your own path
There is no blueprint for career success or climbing to the top of the ladder. The people that find meaning in their work define success for themselves.
Success is not about making lots of money or gaining lots of power; it’s about figuring out who you are.
So, what makes you come alive? What are your unique gifts? How do you want to impact the lives of others? What is your desired quality of life?
2. Stop comparing yourself to others, start pursuing what is meaningful to you
We spend so much time on Facebook comparing ourselves to our friends. We get stressed thinking about what our parents think of our decisions. It’s easy to think other people have it figured it out, but the grass is always greener.
Worrying about what your friends are doing is a waste of time. Instead, discover your why. Why are you here? What does success mean to you?
3. Surround yourself with people that believe in the beauty of their dreams
There are a lot of haters out there. When I first told some of my friends about my idea to write a book for purpose-driven millennials they said:
“You’re not qualified to write a book—and there are already about 100 books exactly like that.”
If I had listened to those people, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now, I would have never given a TEDx talk, and my book wouldn’t exist. Good thing I didn’t listen—the book is now a bestseller on Amazon.
Find believers. Surround yourself with people who are going after their dreams, who are trying to reach their full potential. When you find believers, you find accountability and the ability to achieve your goals. Life is too precious to waste it around haters.
4. Make the ask
Finding your passion will only get you so far. The people that find meaningful work hustle as hard they can. It take time and persistence to get what you want. People can’t support you until they know what you need.
You have to put yourself out there, you have to make the ask. Be open about your needs (and what you’re able to offer others in return).
If you’re not convinced, watch my TEDx talk to hear a story about how one person’s simple ask turned into a $80 million company.