This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a grade ten careers class. I spoke to the students about finding your passion, having grit, famous failures and doing what you love.
I shared the stories of single-mother J.K. Rowling sitting in coffee shops writing her Harry Potter saga with her baby in a stroller beside her. Being told no child would read a book that long. Being turned down by multiple publishers. Of struggling actor Sylvester Stallone, with no money or prospects, writing a script about a boxer named Rocky in three days and fighting to star in the movie once some producers said they wanted to buy the script. And about Barack Obama not being able to get into the 2000 Democratic Convention, being keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic Convention and being President of the United States in 2008. Anything can happen if you believe.
I reminded them that Walt Disney was fired from his first job for having no imagination. Michael Jordan got cut from his grade nine basketball team. Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times trying to create the light bulb. And Henry Ford went bankrupt twice before selling 17 million Model T Fords.
People just like us failed before they succeeded. And we can do the exact same thing if we continue to get up when we fall.
One boy raised his hand and asked, “What if you want to do one job but your parents don’t agree?” I told him to be respectful, find out where he can get trained in what he wants to do, and share that research with his parents. I said if you look serious about your dream, you are more likely to start a discussion.
I told them the only thing they need to succeed in life is action. They will never know all the answers. They might not even know the questions. But if they work hard at something they love and believe in themselves beyond reason, they will make it.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Why not start doing it today?