You can tell by the picture above that I’m super excited…
I mean, any day I can share my thoughts and observations with incredibly talented Ivy League students, do a video and photo shoot for a soon-to-be nationally broadcasted commercial, and help an organization that fights to end prematurity is a GREAT day!
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A Couple Weeks Ago…
…I was at the March Of Dimes National Headquarters in White Plains, NY. If you aren’t familiar with the organization, they help mothers have full term pregnancies and work towards helping families have stronger, healthier babies (and they helped eradicate polio in their past life, so if you don’t have polio, you can probably thank them!).
I was invited to come speak to the organization’s National Youth Council (a highly selective group of 18 high-impact volunteers from some of the top universities in the U.S., including Harvard, Yale, Texas A&M, and more) about Millennial empowerment, getting access to mentors, opportunities, etc, and building relationships among themselves and back at their local March Of Dimes chapters. I kindly accepted their invitation, and off I went to White Plains!
When I got there Thursday night, I met up with Angela Gold and Ed Erenberg, the minds behind March of Dimes’ new, upcoming platform to end prematurity, called UR PURPLE. A few months back, I had spoken with them on the phone about their new campaign, offering my advice on engaging Millennials and sharing observed characteristics of our generation after studying, interacting with, and befriending hundreds of the world’s smartest and most talented Millennials over the past few years for my forthcoming book, 2 Billion Under 20. After our conversation, I hadn’t heard from them again in the next few months, but alas, I had received an excited email with an “ask” to catch up in person and speak to their Youth Council, so there I was!
As it turns out, much of my advice was taken to heart and became a solid part of the campaign’s backbone, from talk of truly authentic messaging to ideas on how to best engage a younger audience to act on supporting March Of Dimes. I learned a valuable lesson in this.
Always give everyone your “best” in terms of time, advice, energy, etc. You never know who will listen to, be affected by, or act on what you say, both positively and negatively (and you DON’T want the latter).
The next day began with a photo and video shoot for UR PURPLE as they collected footage for a soon-to-be nationally broadcasted commercial about the campaign. At last minute, they threw me in front of the camera as well, and thus began my acting career!
Afterwards, we shared lunch with the National Youth Council before my keynote address to the group.
I focused my talk on these few things, which may be of value to you as well (sorry for not giving too much context, but turning a 20 minute keynote into half of a blog post is tough!).
Surround yourself with great people…at all levels in your life, AND at all costs!
You can achieve all your goals by being genuinely interested in and supportive of the success of others.
“Me” can’t change the world, but “WE” can…meaning that it takes collaboration, accountability, and support to accomplish your biggest goals.
I focused on these three points in an attempt to showcase how powerful a collected, fully “bought in” group can be in accomplishing ambitious goals, like ending prematurity.
Towards the end of my time onstage, I organized the March Of Dimes’ National Youth Council, as well as senior staff members in attendance for the talk, into accountability groups of 4-6 people in order to aid their personal, professional, and Council-related goals over the next month. The idea was that these “mastermind groups” would provide support, accountability, and the “I’ve got your back” mentality that can help an individual crush their goals in no time! This type of mastermind group is actually one of my personal Gap Year Experiments for the year, and one I am currently working on putting together (stay tuned for more…). It was crucial for a group like this to establish systems for relational trust and connectivity, and I’d encourage you to try the same type of accountability groupings within your class (study groups), among co-workers, or even with friends as you try to tackle personal goals like losing weight or hacking your dream job.
It was an absolute honor to initiate this type of masterminding for March Of Dimes and get a chance to interact with very generous and bright young individuals who are taking control of their own education within a traditional schooling model. I also enjoyed reconnecting with Ed and Angela as they take control of redefining charity and the branding of an entire organization, and it is these type of contributions to society, speaking opportunities, and moments of fun (make-up was NOT fun, but camera time always is!) that make this Gap Year Experiment worthwhile.
If you are interested in learning more about UR PURPLE, message me and I can connect you to Ed and Angela! Likewise, if you want to hear more about the talk I gave to their National Youth Council, I’ll perhaps turn it into an upcoming blog post should there be enough requests for that information.
Speaking to Ivy Leaguers, appearing in a national commercial, and saving babies…all in a day’s work. How can it get better than that?