i spent this past weekend with an amazing group of leaders from around colorado; 45 or so members of the el pomar student leadership experience. 45 people who are making and will continue to make a difference in our communities. each with our own passions, skills, desires, and dreams, we are individually and collectively making a difference.
this was a busy weekend, 8am-10pm and 7am-3pm. two full days of action, two full days of inspiration. two full days of constant reminders to go where my passions takes me. to work 9-5 and then again from 5-9. to do what makes me come alive. we started at the boulder shelter for the homeless. if you are ever in boudler, make sure to stop by and volunteer your time. even an hour helps. this revolutionary shelter is eliminating the ‘shelter stigma’ with their unique architecture, their wonderful staff, and their in house bakery that employs and builds social entrepreneurship in their clients.
on saturday afternoon, we were lucky to hear a panel of a few passionate global leaders. ross wehner, executive director of the world leadership school, daniel epstein, president and incredibly articulate visionary of the unreasonable institute, and colleen o’halleran of engineers without borders. all of these organizations are fantastic. if you have a minute, check them out. my personal favorite was daniel – a young man who built and then sold his personal landscaping company when he was thirteen for what he humbly admitted, ‘just under $100,000’. during his first year of college, he started three businesses and is now running an incredible summer entrepenuership institute for leaders from all around the world. i’ve never heard someone so eloquent, so confident when speaking about their own business. i’ve never heard someone so clearly articulate their own goals and the reasoning behind every single decision affecting their organization. something most of us would not have the guts to do, daniel turned down an investment offer from google, because the department he was working with at google did not fit the mission and vision of his company. today, daniel’s entrepreneurship institute is so competitive, he says if he applied to his own institute he would not get it. now that is what i call risk and reward. passion is great, but according to daniel, passion isn’t quite enough. in explaining their hiring process and their interview process for the insitute daniel insisted they “don’t select for passion, [they] select for obsession”. he’s got a good motto if i don’t say so myself.
sunday we heard from all of the different schools and the projects that they are working on. after seeing these presentation, i truly believe our generation will make a difference in our nation if these people have anything to do with it. i’m so thankful to be surrounded by people who are using their resources, knowledge and passions to make a difference.
the power of this network of young students is something i’ve never seen before. just minutes after our presentation, another scholar asked me if we had set up an online database to store and present the information we are collecting from the non-profits we are working with. he asked me if we had given diversity surveys to the non profits to help them be better prepared for grant writing. another group has already put me in contact with a database that we can use to easily rally and organize community volunteers. collaboration. it is all about collaboration.
here i am sitting and watching chopped on the food network. and i am reminded once again the importance of passion. one of the chefs on tonight’s episode went to med school, then became an engineer, and is now spending his time in the kitchen, doing what he really loves.
‘don’t ask yourself what the world needs. ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. because what the world needs is people who have come alive’