Given the caliber of any TED-related event, I got a little freaked out about choosing a topic for my talk.
I thought about a humorous anti-cubicle rant — that would certainly link to book sales, a smart business move, right?
I thought about business lessons learned as a martial artist – an area I have wanted to explore for a long time.
I thought about self-esteem and worthiness, but then realized that Brené Brown already did the perfect treatment of the topic at TEDxHouston.
Then it came to me.
Youth. The power of youth.
It has been the quiet subtext of almost everything I have done in my life.
Daniel Pink just wrote in The Telegraph about a great question to ask yourself if the “What is your passion?” question locks you up:
I love young people. They inspire me, make me laugh, and keep me young.
And as long as I can remember, I have reached out to them, taught them, and mentored them, whether I was getting paid for it or not.
So I decided to talk about three young catalysts who make me optimistic about the future for my TEDx talk.
Here it is — 10 minutes from the center of my heart. (Link to YouTube here)
The three inspiring people referenced in my video are:
Amanda Wang, (@rethinkbpd) graphic designer, mental health activist and boxer. Amanda’s tireless work on behalf of others like her who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder remind me that our pain is our greatest strength.
Willie Jackson, (@williejackson) former corporate citizen, current web entrepreneur and Chief Technology Officer of Seth Godin’s The Domino Project. Willie reminds me that free minds will drive economic recovery. You will see a lot of co-conspiring between us this year, since we have a few joint projects brewing.
Averian Chee, Diné (Navajo) artist, community activist and new father. Ave reminds me that beauty is all around us, despite challenges and suffering. Ave’s website is currently being worked on, so for now, the best place to reach out to him is on Facebook
How can we support the younger generation?
- Find them. Which young people in your community are doing amazing work? Look on the web, in companies, schools, colleges and non-profit institutions. If you are a teenager or twenty-something, look further back, in middle school or grammar school to find the movers or shakers. They are there!
- Ask them. “How can I help you do your work?” Then do your best to deliver.
- Amplify them. Use your clout and reach to get them in front of the audiences they want to reach.
For those of you who get fired up about this like I do, there is some more mentoring advice in a post I wrote for American Express Open last year, Mentor the Next Generation or Risk Irrelevance.
Amanda, Willie and Averian are just a tiny sliver of the powerful and remarkable group of young people around us.
They are everywhere. Go find them.