The first step is always the toughest and most important. I failed the ninth and tenth grades in high school. A wise mentor encouraged me to volunteer with homeless children in the midst of my failure. My life was dramatically transformed the first time I visited the Orlando Union Rescue Mission for Battered Women and Children. I met more than a dozen homeless children who weren’t concerned that I was an academic failure and the least qualified person to help them. The children felt valued because I showed up to spend time with them. I didn’t have much to offer, but in a world of 7 billion people, I was the only one who had shown up that day to care for them. I realized that sometimes, just showing up is the first and most important step we can take in our quest to achieve our dreams. In fact, I believe that showing up matters almost more than anything else.
Today, young people across America face record unemployment. The millions of young people who are struggling to find a path forward are talented, passionate, and the very same young people we are counting on to show up to our most serious social and economic challenges. I formed Splashlife, a network designed to invest in young people, because I believe that the most important investment we can make today is in the lives and dreams of the 75 million young Americans who are coming of age today.
Last night, I had the unprecedented privilege to make a special announcement live from the official website of The White House. I announced a project called Generation Innovation in partnership with Lincoln Financial Group to award $2500 grants to help young people under the age of 35 get their best and brightest ideas off the ground.
Have you ever had the desire to start your own business or charity but didn’t know where to go or how to start? Have you ever been stopped in your tracks because you lacked the confidence to take the first step?
My challenge to you today is to just show up. My life changed in a single day because I was encouraged to show up to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. You can change your life with one decision. Make it now. If you are ready to show up, please visit http://www.splashlife.com/generationinnovation and apply for a $2500 Lincoln Grant. We are presently accepting submissions in three categories: Business & nonprofit ideas for social change; veteran entrepreneurs, and women entrepreneurs.