I had the privilege of having lunch with our Tech 2000 and appnetic summer interns yesterday. I’m pictured above with them and one of my Partners, George Churchwell, Co-Founder and President of Tech 2000. This crop of 7 of the best and brightest students from MIT, Georgetown, Emory, UVA, UNC, and Virginia Tech give me a high degree of confidence in the future leaders and entrepreneurs of America! They are smart, confident, talented, ambitious, and want to make an impact in the world.
We had a terrific discussion about entrepreneurship, innovation, startups, business, and management. They are each excited about learning new skills and garnering some good business experience. They came to the right place and we are very grateful to have them this summer (We selected these 7 out of over 150 applications; special thanks to our awesome Head of Talent, Jackie Churchwell!).
Inevitably the conversation turned to advice, on both business and life. So I divided my thoughts into 2 lists: “Winning Advice” and “What I Wish I Knew at Your Age,” the latter of which is one of my favorite slides when I speak to students at some of our local business schools.
WINNING ADVICE FOR OUR INTERNS
Integrity is #1 – this is about you and your reputation. Do the right thing and keep your promises, be honest and transparent.
Find your Passion – it’s ok if you don’t know it yet. I know 50-year olds who haven’t yet found theirs. Experiment, try new things. You will find your passion or it will come to you.
Always give 100% – work hard, be proactive, bring your “A” game, and be prepared
Learn how to sell – the most underrated yet important skill you will ever have is knowing HOW TO SELL. Understanding your customer’s motivations and buying patterns is critical to business and life. Life is about selling and persuading, and your “customers” include friends, family, bosses, etc.
Have Fun! Life is short. If you’re not having fun, then you’re wasting your time. Move on until you find something you truly enjoy.
“WHAT I WISH I KNEW AT YOUR AGE”
Everything is hard! Everything takes longer and costs more than you expect. If you go into any endeavor knowing this fact, you will have more reasonable expectations and not get so discouraged when you have a few setbacks.
Nothing comes without Hard Work and LUCK – you need Luck, and eventually it will find you. The harder you work, the more prepared you are and the “luckier” you will get.
When building a startup, there’s no such thing as “Work/Life Balance.” It’s “Work/Work Balance.” Once you find your passion, life and work converge and become one. I don’t know any successful entrepreneurs who have not put in huge hours and sacrifice.
Work with great partners, advisors and people. The key word here is great. Great people can achieve multiples of what mediocre people can do.
Don’t waste your time with liars, posers, and cheats. Eventually, they will bring you down. You will be known and judged by the company you keep.
Trust YOUR gut, it’s usually right. You know more about yourself than you realize.
Money is overrated and Contentment is underrated. Enough said.
Please let me know what YOU would add to these 2 lists. Thanks for reading and subscribing!