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Put Yourself Out There

Finding opportunities to showcase your skills can be hard, and networking with others can be nerve-racking and intimidating. Before my talk with Vaibhav, who is the founder of HYPE AI, an AI-powered platform that helps students work on projects in a competition format. I found myself sitting in my room contemplating my choice of joining the academy, having no idea that it would push me out of my comfort zone. It seemed very intimidating as a 17-year-old with limited experience to reach out to and interview someone older than me with much more years of experience. However, fast forward to the present day, as I read other blogs to find some inspiration, I keep thinking about why I was so nervous to put myself out there in the world.

I’ve learned through Illumiante, that building those connections with others can be very beneficial and that letting the world know who you are leads to unimaginable opportunities. In today’s world, getting valuable opportunities is very difficult due to the immense competition. It’s a constant race and if one person misses the opportunity, there is always someone standing next in line, waiting to grab it.

Learning more about this mindset reminds me of the game Monopoly. When you roll the dice and land on a property, you have the option of buying it. By making that purchase, you unlock new opportunities and gain an advantage. If you hesitate and do not end up buying it, others will and you will fall behind. Similarly, each property represents an opportunity, and when you land on it, you then have the option to take that opportunity. If you don’t someone else will, but if you do, then it can then lead to new opportunities that seemed impossible to attain.

Therefore, 3 key takeaways from my coffee chat with Vaibhav are:

1. It's going to be hard, and you will fail at first

Starting a new company is fun at first since you're doing something new, but it won’t always be fun. There will be days when all your energy and time are going to be drained without you even realizing it and days when you want to give up. However, if you keep going, then it all will be worth it. Something that resonated with me during my chat with Vaibhav was that a startup is much more than just having a good idea. Because once you have that idea, the struggle starts from there. The idea is only the starting point and you might think that your idea is the best in the world, but everyone else might not share the same perspective. Building the next Facebook or the next Amazon in 1 month may be possible, but it's going take years of constant failures and improvements to get to that stage. Remember Thomas Edison's words,

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up ”

2. Set weekly targets

Time is a valuable resource, so it's important to set targets every week so that you can see what you still have to do and every day you can see if you're achieving those goals and then you can reflect on your progress. It’s also important to set your priorities, and when you have free time, instead of relaxing or partying, invest it in your work. At first, when you hear that, it seems very daunting and doesn’t sound fun. This is true, but it's these small actions that are not as fun that sets you apart from your competitors and the people you know.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” - Tony Robbins

3. Find your passion

Starting something new is going to take hours of nonstop work and sleepless nights, but if you're working on something that you are passionate about, the work becomes enjoyable. The journey won’t be smooth and you will face a lot of problems, but if what you’re working towards is close to your heart, then you will understand the importance and you will be ready to face all those obstacles and not give up. This also was Kobe’s philosophy as well, he trained tirelessly to perfect the sport and when he would practice or train, it never seemed like work to him because he loved doing it. He didn’t just have a passion, it was true love

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you” - Oprah Winfrey

In the end, I felt Vaibhav gave some very good advice for anyone thinking of creating a start-up or business. After hearing the advice and tips that Vaibhav had, I definitely will be using them when I start my own business with Illuminate later. Being expected to never fail or have perfect results at school led me and likely many others to believe that you have to get it right the first time and that your entire life is a reflection of the grades you received in school. Vaibhav reminded me that you're going to fail many times and it's going to be a rough journey, which is completely okay because it is a part of the path to success. Here is a tip I’d like to share: don’t be scared to put yourself out there and be open to all opportunities that come your way. Be ready to fail, but know that when you fail, you’ll be in the same position, but this time, you’ll have more experience.

“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” - Thomas Alva Edison

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