In my journey with Disrupt Education, I have come to a common moment that I have seen over and over that I just realized needs to be identified. It is a pause, a hesitation, a rethinking moment that happens right before something big could happen. I hope I can describe this moment well enough for my students and fellow followers to understand it.
A while back, I was handed a newspaper that featured an entrepreneur that was making moves in the app industry to better connect youth to opportunities in their local communities. My colleague who handed me the paper said I should talk to the guy in the article. So I did. The connection wasn’t hard to make. I connected with him on LinkedIn and told him I liked the project he was working on and was interested about learning more. I also shared some of my work with Disrupt Education as well. I received a response within hours. The person from the article was the co-founder of the company and he was very interested in my work as well. He invited me to his offices in the city of Chicago to meet up and talk more about our ideas. We scheduled it.
I started thinking about so many excuses not to go meet this individual. Things like “It will take forever to get downtown because of traffic.” “I would like to just rest and watch some TV instead of going out.” “This isn’t going to amount to anything so why even go..I should cancel.” Somehow I started to convince myself to take the easier route and stay within my comfort zone. Only this time, I started realizing this was happening. I knew this would be a big opportunity and it would be a little outside of my comfort zone to make the move to travel and talk with this person. I had to will myself to make the uncomfortable move.
I think we don’t really understand that moment of hesitation enough to teach our young people about it. It is definitely a part of self awareness. We are all programmed to take an easy way out. We learn it in school, in life, everywhere. When we don’t understand the hesitation, we lose sight of the potential opportunity. Once I realized what I was doing, I took action to change it. I think we need to identify when students do it without hollering at negative terms at them. I think in order to realize when it is happening, we need to call it out, and celebrate when a student takes a risk and follows through. We need to help our students realize why they hesitate and encourage them to grind through the excuses in positive ways. There needs to be more of that kind of authentic learning in our educational systems.
Oh, you were probably wondering what came of the meeting with that guy in the city. Well. I did go meet up and chat with him. We have been friends for 2 years now and are working several projects together. He has taught me so much about business, being an entrepreneur, as well as introducing me to the Chicago’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Center called 1871 (where I would eventually give a keynote address). The excuses could’ve stopped all that from happening. This time, they didn’t. Let's work on this narrative with our students.