On the days Josh Drean is not in class listening to a lecture in his graduate program at Harvard, he’s in a school gymnasium giving one to hundreds of teenagers. Only to his youthful audience, it doesn’t sound like a lecture.
That’s because Josh is a hip, cool, relevant youth speaker who breakdances and beatboxes as he delivers a powerful message of self-esteem and anti-bullying at hundreds of middle and high schools across America.
Even though Josh is almost exactly half my age, we have a lot in common.
Throughout the late 80’s and late 90’s, the gymnasium was also my workspace as I presented assemblies at more than 1,500 schools throughout the US and Canada. I wrote inspirational books for teens and gave motivational speeches challenging them to take full advantage of their education to prepare for that big scary all-encompassing monster that lurked in the abyss of adulthood (i.e., their career).
My workspace has since morphed from a gymnasium to a hotel ballroom, and my audience is now comprised of business owners, leaders, and managers who need to find, develop, and retain young frontline workers—perhaps even entice them into a potential career.
So when Josh called to tell me he was coming to Colorado to speak at a couple of schools and asked if I would meet with him and consider mentoring him, I was intrigued. I then invited Josh to spend the weekend with me so he could take advantage of my experience. (Amazing how Harvard inspires the relentless pursuit of knowledge in their students, isn’t it?)
However, what I originally thought of as a benevolent act of unselfishness on my part turned out to be a powerful learning opportunity for me. I got the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of a tech-savvy millennial to see how he incorporates video production into his vlog and how he leverages technology in his presentations to connect with today’s students. Josh told me how post-millennials are vastly different than millennials, and why it takes revolutionary new strategies and techniques to break through to capture and keep their attention.
Josh routinely stares into the eyes of your future workforce and he knows what makes them tick. As a workforce researcher, his is a fascinating perspective; one you and I need to prepare for and embrace.
As Josh left to catch his flight back to Boston, I told him that I felt like I learned more than I taught him, but he respectfully disagreed.
“It’s a tie,” he said. “I can clearly see that the principles of success are the same today as they were when you spoke in schools back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.”
Did I mention that Josh incorporates a lot of humor in his messaging?
ON POINT – When you take someone under your wing, don’t keep them there. Give them a chance to fly and you’ll discover the view from a new, fresh perspective.