I have been launching myself into the sky with a stick for about three years now. Pole vault is a challenging sport, but despite popular belief, no one starts by grabbing a huge pole and running as fast as they can toward the pit. You start small, you keep at it, and you get up when you fall down. You cannot clear the bar without persistence, passion, and perspiration.
Pole vaulting was my first introduction to experiential learning.
I have known for a while how much I love business and, specifically, entrepreneurship. So, my sophomore year, I joined DECA (a student-centered business competition) and used my electives to take all the business classes I could. Doing this was supposed to make me a businessman and a good one, too. But there is one major flaw: the classes are all just hypothetical, and I wanted to become a real businessman, not a theoretical businessman. Though I was a kid in a candy store learning and making great connections, something was missing.
It was the execution, one of the most essential parts of starting a business, that was missing. I would spend months building a foolproof business plan just to see it sit stagnant in a drawer and never go anywhere or be anything. What I did notice, though, was that these theoretical classes had valid concepts and unique strategies behind them, and if we could get people to act on these ideas, they had potential to have huge success. But I did not know how or even where to begin. Adults and teenagers alike have this problem, because if we knew how to start things, we would be doing so, and much more often. And if people do not know where to start, then nothing ever happens, and nobody gets better, and then the whole damn system implodes. We have all been brought up in schools that seem to forget that the best way to learn is by doing.
So, I needed to scratch my own itch. That is how the IDEA Club (Innovation Development & Entrepreneurial Action Club) was born. It was all about taking action because world-changing ideas only change the world when they are thrown into motion.
My world-changing idea started in our school’s coffee shop; it was just built and beyond popular. I quickly discovered it was not logistically possible to walk to the coffee shop, stand in line, wait for your coffee, and still be on time for class. So, what was the solution? An app: order on your way, cut the line when you get there. Perfect. So how do you make an app?
Just like in pole vault, you cannot clear the bar without persistence, passion, and perspiration.
Starting the IDEA Club, creating the online ordering app, and getting involved opened a lot of doors for me, and for our school. It also aligned incredibly well with my hometown’s goal of being a smart, vibrant, and entrepreneurial city. I am honored to have become a familiar face around the incredible innovative ecosystem of Fishers, Indiana.
The opportunity to take part in the local start-up scene by meeting with founders and interning for two summers was exceptionally cool. I worked for two early-stage start-ups, one in fitness, Open Gym, and the other in music, Fuzic Media. Those were the best, most innovative, and hardworking summers of my life.
Through all this, I learned that if I do not put my all into everything I love, then there is no chance I will affect any changes on the world. From entrepreneurship to pole vault, I cannot clear the bar without persistence, passion, and perspiration.