What you learn is important.
Who you learn from is everything.
You have to learn from the best to be the best.
Skills, habits, hacks, attitude, mentality…. all of that can be passed from expert to apprentice, mentor to mentee, and teacher to student.
At Besomebody, we have a strong point of view on education.
We’re building a platform to make it more affordable, practical and passion-based. We are focusing on skills, and we want to help people get jobs. And the entire time we’ve been building, we’ve been learning too, from the best.
In the last 18 months I’ve had the chance to learn from some of the most inspiring educators from some of the world’s most prestigious colleges – Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Rice, Penn State, Columbia and, today, Stanford. There’s no question that the gold standard for learning is still America’s top-tier universities.
Those schools give you much more than a classroom; the entire college EXPERIENCE enables multi-sensorial growth and a lifetime of opportunities.
But not everyone can go to those schools. (The Ivy League, for example, represents just 0.1% of all undergraduate college students).
And many of those who CAN get into the top schools can’t afford it. The cost of college is more expensive than ever.
Others just don’t want to get saddled with decades of student debt. And some people have different learning styles and different needs and different circumstances.
So what are their options?
There are about 7.5 million people going to community college in the U.S. The average annual cost for tuition at a community college is about $10,000.
For-profit schools – schools like ITT Tech – are much worse. Nearly 2 million people pay $25K a year in tuition for these schools with awful graduation and job placement rates.
And neither of the above two options – community colleges and for-profit schools – give those nearly 10 million people that “college experience” that we all agree is important.
The data clearly shows that they leave you in debt, and unemployed. We are building a new model – with input from experts like those here at Stanford – with our Besomebody Paths that we believe can be a part of the solution.
After a lifetime of personal experience, 15 years of corporate and startup experience, and four solid years helping people learn everything from surfing and pottery to financial planning and dental assisting, I’ve found three factors to be the most important to success and fulfillment in your career:
1. Passion: You gotta genuinely love what you do.
2. Skills: Passion alone is powerful, but it isn’t enough. Specialized training on the specific, practical skills that you need on the job is critical. Sounds basic but I’m constantly blown away by how many people are working jobs they aren’t properly trained for (and yes, even/especially those with college degrees).
3. Mentorship: You need to be surrounded by leaders and experts who genuinely care about you, your company and the mission you’re on together.
Passion, Skills and Mentorship.
If you have those three things, you will do great work. And you’ll have a blast doing it.
Company leaders, please do your best to not only hire folks who already possess this triumvirate, but help your current employees get there as well. You can’t teach passion, but you can definitely help with skills and mentorship. It will not only drive your bottom line, but it will elevate your company culture and enhance your customer experience.
Greatness is a lonely road.
Most people don’t want to be great.
Because it’s harder. And harsher. And more inconvenient.
It demands too much of your time and requires too much of your attention.
It is big and loud and needy.
It’s a beautiful masterpiece that people would rather stare at from a distance than paint with their own hands.
Watch, and not touch.
Admire, not unleash…
When you choose greatness you instantly downsize your ability to connect and converge and communicate with the majority of the people around you.
Because you stop speaking “average.” And stop accepting “ok.” And “nice” becomes just too damn low of a bar.
Most people would rather play it safe and simple and stationary than take the steps necessary to spark their unlit soul.
And when you choose greatness, you’re always burning. Blazing. A fearless flame…
The decision to be great – to live your greatness, your best and most passionate life – is lonesome.
But keep going…
One of my core philosophies is to reverse-engineer everything.
Work backwards, beginning with the intended result, starting with the vision you want to manifest. Then, piece the steps together.
It’s a simple strategy, but one that’s too often overlooked and underutilized. We did it with our brand, building Besomebody around a feeling first – from the inside out – through content and community, and then creating the product around it. We’re doing it with education now, beginning with employers and open jobs, and building curriculums and launching training Paths based on those job requirements. And I personally try to do it every day, as a way of life.
Know where you want to be, and begin every morning with that end in mind.
To build something great, it’s gotta be bigger than you.
It’s gotta serve more than your wallet, or your resume, or your ego.
It’s gotta ignite more than your own passions.
The “experts” say it just needs to solve a problem. But I believe it has to make a difference. It’s gotta truly help people.
Sure, your own financial success most definitely can/should be a part of it. Pursuit of personal legacy or celebrity or influence may play a role.
Yes, you should enjoy it. And of course, you want to make your mama proud.
But the larger purpose, the greater mission, has got to be about others.
It has to be more about meaning than money.
It has to be more about fulfillment than fame. And it’s gotta be a lot more giving than getting.
Those are the missions worth fighting for…
Those are the missions that make you feel alive.