Today’s Youth Should Learn from Their Elders….Or Is It The Other Way Around?
Big kudos to our entrepreneurial youth. Their passion for wanting to enjoy their work, their life and make money in a fun and exciting way…well, count me in.
Just recently I was asked to be a mentor at the Next Gen Summit in Philadelphia. What a freakin’ blast! My hat is off to Justin & Dylan, the co-founders, and their team. I also have to send a special shout out to Justin’s Mom, Sandy, who I just adore (and not just because her name is Sandy too). That woman is my cup of coffee and is just a beautiful soul. Yes Dad and brothers, you're not so bad either, but we didn’t have as much time to chit chat.
Ok, enough about how awesome the Next Gen team is, let's talk about the kids that I had the privilege to meet and mentor. Most of them are still in college but I did meet a few that were already out and making a dent in the world, as well as some still in high school. Let me just say...holy cow. Maybe they got some pearls of wisdom from me but I came away flying high (and I am already a high energy person). I loved their enthusiasm, their creativity and their belief...that one person can change the world and make it a more beautiful place. Boy do we need them now and I support their optimism 100 percent.
I know many will say it is easy for young people to think that way because they haven’t been beaten down by life yet. Well I say, hell yeah, give them a chance to see things differently with a new set of lenses. There is absolutely no sense in telling them everything that could go wrong. If you have been successful and love life’s journey, then that is the story you will be sharing with them, just like the mentors yesterday. They were all coming from a place of “you can do this”. Shout out to Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner at SeventySix Capital for his awesome presentation. I love how you made it a big big point to talk about giving back to the world and to make sure you enjoy the people you are working with and for.
On the other hand, if your journey has not been positive, you are regretful and blame the world for not getting what you want out of life, well, I would prefer that you just nod your head, listen to their heart beat and let them fly high. No need to shoot the bird before it even gets off the ground. Let them dream...dream big. They may not get everything they want, but just maybe it will be even better than they could have imagined. They will be so proud of themselves for going after what they want and not giving up. Because not trying, well that would be the true failure.
From my personal experience, growing up without that encouragement and everyone thinking I was completely crazy and setting myself up for failure - that never made sense to me. Why wouldn’t I at least give it my best shot? I did have one person who believed in me and trust me that made all the difference. As I got older and moved on, I then had many incredible mentors, and I still have my peeps now that lift me up, point me in the right direction, support me and cheer me on.
I am forever grateful for my life and will give back as much as I can to encourage the leaders of tomorrow and bridge the gap between generations. Big time shout out to my buddy Dan Schneider and the Silver Fox Club for always looking for ways to bring, let’s not say the older generation, but those who are a bit farther in their journey, together with the ones that are just jumping in. How could that not be a great thing? If you open your eyes and see how much we could learn from one another, the possibilities are endless.
I believe there are many people from my generation that may feel threatened by change because it is scary or difficult to understand. They may also feel uncertain because they have seen youth coming in and taking over their jobs for a much lower wage, disregarding their value and knowledge of their craft. Yes, that does happen, but the more we realize we do have value, we are worthy and our wisdom does matter, the more it will work out, whether it is where you are now or where you end up.
And the youth popping up, at least the ones that I met at the Next Gen Summit, are all about learning from mentors. They have open ears and truly do realize that their predecessors have a lot to offer. Not just about money, but wisdom and life advice.
Let’s show the world that we can bridge this gap, and learn from each other. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to feel loved, accepted and make enough money to enjoy life.