Who is your who?

When you tell the story of your project and the change you made, who will be the main character?

Who will come back in 5 years and say “you changed my life”?

Who can you look in the eyes and say “I made this for you.”

Until you get specific about who that person is, you won’t feel as connected to the work. There won’t be a driving force pushing you to finish the project and get it in their hands.

Once you know who that person is and you know they need your work, it’s selfish to wait. It’s selfish to keep working on the perfect product when really you just need something good enough. But before you know the who, you’ll be stuck spinning your wheels. Developing an idea, rather than developing an impact.

Find the who and rest will start to fall in place.

Learning starts with a spark

Adults can handle the promise of “I know this is boring, but trust me it will be helpful in the future.”

Young people don’t respond to that promise because it’s been made to them for a decade and it still hasn’t come true.

True learning has to start with a spark. It has to start by asking “what do you care about?” and building an experience around that. If you can’t start there, you’re already lost.

But, if you step down that road and leave your preconceptions behind, you’ll end up in an amazing place.

Three Ingredients in the Secret Sauce

At Dual School, our goal is to help students launch their ideas. In doing so we’ve created a special culture where students feel relaxed and welcome, but also recognize they’re more productive than ever.

There are three key components that make the program so powerful:

  1. Projects of personal importance. Students work on things they truly care about. They apply with ideas and we help them make those ideas happen. This fundamentally changes any learning experience because the students are enrolled in the process.
  2. Connections to professionals. Students are paired with mentors who help facilitate connections to professionals in their field of interest. These relationships lead to a deeper understanding of the problem space and allow students to make quick progress.
  3. Rapid prototyping. Students are pushed to test their assumptions by prototyping ideas. We help them find ways to run small experiments that lead to insights into their projects.

That thing is the work

That thing on your mind. The distraction that feels like it’s in the way. What if I told you that was the work? Not the to-do list items. The stress, the uncertainty, the restlessness.

Figuring out those things is the work. Not the other way around. Accomplishing goals doesn’t make you centered. But being centered will facilitate your accomplishing of goals.

The day to day stuff is important, but the real work is much harder than rattling off a few emails.

Job prospects

The job market for the average person doesn’t look great. We had a wonderful run where anyone with an education could get a job easily, get paid well and retire comfortably. That time was an exception, not the rule.

Unfortunately, that’s what people expect now and because of that, the current situation seems like a nightmare. The world is changing quickly. Technology is eating jobs and shifting the landscape of work.

The “job market” isn’t going to get better. It’s going to get more competitive, more unstable and more skewed toward entrepreneurial thinkers. As young people growing up in this world, you have two possibilities:

Hope the “job market” gets better. This seems unlikely given current trends.

OR don’t be average. Take ownership. Stand out. Not by getting straight A’s and jumping through every hoop, but by owning a niche. Being yourself and fighting for change. Adding value without expectation of anything in return.

While the job market for the average person is going downhill fast, the job market for a remarkable person has never been better. 17 year olds making societal change. 21 year olds starting multimillion dollar companies. 25 year olds getting hired on big consulting projects because of their portfolio of work. None of those people have anything to worry about when it comes to the job market for the average person.

So go to edge. Don’t be average. It’s the future.

The duality of facilitation

Facilitators, like many creatives, exhibit a profound duality.

They meticulously design experiences to the minute, yet, they’re ready to throw the plan out the window based on their live read of the participants. You need both traits to be a successful facilitator.

Where is the fear?

We’re all scared of something. Spiders, flying, public speaking, and more. Imagine a venn diagram that has two sets: fear, and what you need to level up.

Your fear of spiders isn’t preventing you from making progress. But, your fear of public speaking might be.

I’m interested in the intersection of those two sets. The middle of the venn diagram. Those are the fears that matter. If we could get past those, the growth would begin.

Once we identify it and call it out for what it is, the problem is half solved. The next step is just finding a space safe enough for you to take small step toward conquering the fear. Slowly but surely, you’ll learn to dance with the fear. Turning new corners, shining light on the unknown and growing your comfort zone.