"Everyone can brighten a room. Some when they enter it and others when they leave."

Success Lessons to Your 16 Year Old Self

No one can guarantee your success.

Our character is forged by the delicate balance of successes we enjoy and failures we endure; and the lessons we glean from them.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 19.9 million college students are projected to attend a 2 or 4 year schools in the fall of 2018. Many of whom are utterly clueless of how the field they are studying within the safe walls of academia translates into marketability in the real world. The world that that is illustrated on a fancy brochure doesn’t exist. So how do you improve your chances of success inside and outside of the classroom? Due diligence.

You cannot rewrite history, but what if you could share your current knowledge with your 16 year-old self?

One of the most brilliant tactics on success came from a high school junior named Evin Ersan. This young man reached out to me and explained that he was a junior in high school and was  job shadowing people to discover what kinds of vocations or fields of study he might want to go into.

Here is a short video I recorded about this experience

Evin Ersan and Shef

Evin Ersan and Shef

He understood the value of relationships, connections, and the practical aspect of “test driving” a few occupations.

By simply reaching out and engaging people, Evin found himself working with an attorney for an entire day and observing trials. He worked with a mayor, shadowed the head of a huge multi-billion dollar manufacturing and agricultural company, and even observed a few surgeries. (yep…surgeries)

When I asked him why he was pursuing job shadowing, he replied,“I’m sick of seeing all of my friends or people that I know of, drop tens of thousands of dollars on post-secondary education without doing any due diligence. What we think a job may be like in our mind is often vastly different than the reality of it.”

You don’t learn how to ride a bike by reading a book. You got to actually do it.

Many of the people are talented, yet they didn’t rely on raw talent to engineer their success. The backstage door of success is covered with the ugly sweat, determination, and grit necessary to create a desired outcome.

Related: Talent is Overrated

Here are 3 actions that created success for him:

  • He was bold enough to reach out and say, “Hey, this is pretty cool. What you do? I’m intrigued. Is it possible for me to be a fly on the wall for me to work with you for a day?” It is tough enough to get a millennial on the phone, let alone finding them reaching out to prominent members of their community.


  • He leveraged relationships. His mom knows everybody and their ninth cousin and she helped him discover who to contact. Evin also happens to be the grandson of Happy Joe Whitty, founder of the successful pizza franchise, Happy Joe’s Pizza. Everyone in this area loves Happy Joe. Related: Rich Redmond’s C.R.A.S.H. Course for Success
  • He is journaling the good and bad aspects of each job. Recording moments when they are fresh in your mind is paramount to long term success

Life is not a spectator sport. Even if you’re out of high school (demographically I know most of my audience is) be bold enough to just reach out to somebody and ask them if you could chat with them about something that nudges you closer to the edge of your comfort zone, then take a half a step over because that’s really where true greatness and true growth lives.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 31st, 2018 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Leadership Lessons, motivation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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