As the world continues to evolve and change at an unprecedented pace, today's graduates are the ones who will shape the future. They are the Faces of the Future, and it is essential that they face it with core strengths that will enable them to navigate through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
One of the most effective ways of learning and developing these core strengths is through stories. Stories have the power to inspire, motivate, and teach us valuable lessons we can apply in our personal and professional lives.
As we reflect back on some of the faces we've met this year and the stories we've had the privilege to tell, we are reminded of the incredible potential and resilience of today's graduates. Through stories, we can learn about the importance of perseverance, adaptability, creativity, and collaboration.
So, whether you are a recent graduate or someone who is looking to enhance your core strengths, join us on this journey to explore the stories of the faces of the future and learn from their experiences and insights. Together, we can continue planning for the future by preparing ourselves for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Be Prepared to Face the Future
As we arrive at the end of the school year, there is much to be thankful for. For starters, a lot of things got back to normal, like traveling and returning to in-class learning, and in-person events. The end of the school year is also an opportunity for us to look back on all that we’ve accomplished this year.
At Edge Factor, we’ve been busy, traveling all over the place, and telling all sorts of stories. In fact, we’re really excited about launching a new tour in the fall.
For Edge Factor, a tour is marked by stories that help us understand the challenges that other people face so we can learn from them and be inspired to take action.
As I look back at the stories we’ve told this year, I am so thankful because we use these stories to help build the future. Looking at today’s students I see the future, I see all the people who will lead our countries, our families, and the future companies into whatever comes next.
5 Core Strengths You’ll Need to Face the Future
As today's graduates prepare to enter the real world of work or to continue their post-graduate studies, they will face a range of challenges and opportunities. By developing these core strengths, they can position themselves to succeed and make a positive impact in their personal and professional lives.
Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
I remember rolling into Arizona with our tour bus, where I met a young woman named, Hillary. Hillary recounted her experience of stepping outside her comfort zone as we filmed an episode of Edge Factor Show, Juxtapose. This story also features Alice Cooper's The Rock Teen Center and highlights the evolution of music.
Hillary Clara was in a Mariachi band and she had to get really comfortable with the fact that she was uncomfortable entering into a rock competition. The fact that Hillary was in a Mariachi band was already a stretch for me because Mariachi bands are typically made up of older men.
Hillary’s initial response to the invitation to compete in a rock competition was, “We are a Mariachi band, not a rock band. This is not really for us.” But Hillary was outvoted. “So we ended up going to the first round and we made it to the next tier. We did that and we ended up going to the next tier. So it was a moment of - Ok, let’s give it our all and just show what we have to offer.” Hillary Clara, Musician.
Hillary and her band entered, competed, and won!
Saying yes to an opportunity that makes you uncomfortable, gets you into that magical spot where you learn lessons that are crucial for your career. When people are willing to be uncomfortably comfortable with that thing they didn’t know they could do, that becomes an incredible character trait that helps them to advance in their careers. I know for many this is something they will have to stare down. It’s not easy to overcome those moments where the discomfort is overwhelming and you think, ‘I am not really sure this is something I can do’. But it’s when you push through that you’ll surprise yourself by actually doing it.
Own Your Mistakes
Another incredible story that unfolded this year is the story of Drew Crowe which was one of the episodes of The Journey, a new series we launched this year. If you have followed Drew’s story and watched the episode Snakes & Ladders, you know he made some really poor choices early on in his life. But those choices didn’t define him, in fact as he looks back it was the moments that he owned his mistakes that helped him to recognize he wanted a different path. Now he looks back and is amazed that he went from running the streets to running the classroom as a professor, and now going on tour as a public speaker. He is inspiring other people to follow in his footsteps.
Your past doesn’t need to define you, your mistakes can be that magical moment. If you learn how to own a mistake that is often the place where you realize it is going to empower a really great life choice in the future.
When you allow yourself to fail fast and you don’t push that mistake on to someone else but you own it and work with a team to find a solution then the mistake doesn’t define you, it launches you to experience future success.
Prove You Can Communicate
Communication is the cornerstone of any career.
Our travels also brought us to Iceland, where we working on a meaningful story. We were filming for another new series called Elements. Before working on this story, I didn’t realize there are 600+ Indigenous communities that do not have access to clean drinking water. There’s been some talk around what can be done about this. There are a lot of families who are in a crisis because they are drinking things that are not good for them. In today’s day and age you’d think access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and this would be easily solved, but it’s actually far more complex than I realized.
I was encouraged by watching the Director of Operations for GITPO Spirit Lodge, Galen Augustine, the Founder of Iceland Blue, Brad Loiselle, and Jonathan Araujo Redbird of the Saugeen First Nations, come together to talk about a solution. They were communicating where the problems were, what the issues have been historically and ideating around what might be a solution in the future.
Communication is a foundational skill, and when you can show that you have that skill to identify problems, communicate through them and bring in solutions it will make you invaluable in your career.
When You Show Up Ready to Work
The bus also had a stop in one of those big construction sites, in a big city where the high rises get built. I am often amazed by the number of people involved in so many aspects of the building process. So many people, working hard, using incredible skills to bring all the pieces together.
When you show up ready to work, that’s when you’re part of the change. You are part of the build, part of the progress. That’s when we filmed From the Ground Up with Jamie McMillan. Jamie is a great example of someone who shows up ready to work. That attitude is what will separate you from the crowd, to become part of something that is way bigger than you. You are the one that will be depended on by a team, and that was clear to me in Jamie’s story.
She was a female in the workplace, on a construction site, which historically hasn’t been easy. She showed up, even though other’s around her thought she was working in field that was no place for a woman. Jamie proved them wrong, simply by showing up ready to work and saying yes when the opportunities came her way.
Show Creative Leadership
Recognizing opportunities, is just what Chloe did. I met Chloe Dubois, Executive Director of Ocean Legacy Foundation in the West Coast, working on another episode for the Elements series, on Plastic Pollution.
Have you ever been out on the water, or gone snorkeling and seen debris float by you? It’s not only frustrating but it’s incredibly dangerous to the wildlife in the ocean. It’s also very dangerous to humans because the fish are consuming microplastics.
“I spent a lot of my youth going on adventurous hikes, eventually to become a Canoe & Kayak Instructor, and Outdoor Guide. It was really during that time that I deeply connected with nature. Ocean Legacy was founded in 2014. We started the initiative years before that as a way to end plastic pollution.” - Chloe Dubois
Chloe was a great example of someone who recognized there was a need and she created an innovative solution. She found a way to turn all the plastic in the ocean into a usable form of plastic, taking waste and repurposeing it.
Creative leadership is when you recognize an opportunity to take an idea and action it. If you are an innovative problem solver it’s going to separate you, and empower you. It might be the foundational way that you could start your own company. Showing creative leadership is not just about identifying problems, sometimes it’s about the innovative solutions you bring to the market, your business idea that makes the difference.
Step Into the Future of Endless Possibilities
As I reflect back on the faces and stories that I have had the privilege to witness this year, I have learned some foundational truths that will undoubtedly help today's graduates as they move on to the next stage in their lives.
As the Faces of the Future, it is essential that graduates possess the foundational skills necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I am excited about the future and the endless possibilities that technology, innovation, and the human mind can bring. As you step into this future, I urge you to embrace it with excitement and enthusiasm, knowing that you have the skills and potential to make a positive impact in your personal and professional lives.
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