During our second live #MentorPowerHour event with Local Levo New York, Levo 100 honoree and Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun discussed how he turned his passion into a profession. Speaking to a packed house at the Pencils of Promise office, Braun discussed everything from what inspired him to build his first school (it was his grandmother!) to what keeps him energized (wellness and meditation). Read on to hear some of Braun’s best words of the night:
1. “Take the job wherever you will feel like you will learn the most.”
As Braun put it: get paid to go to business school. He wasn’t talking about actual business school, but rather a job opportunity that will allow for as much learning as possible. Adam treated his first job as if he were a student in a classroom—everything was a learning opportunity to set him up for running his own organization.
[Unsure where you’re headed in your career? Take our Find Your Purpose guide with Gabrielle Bernstein—you’ll figure it out in no time.]
2. “Stay connected with your core mission.”
Hobbies, friends, apartments, jobs—they all change. One thing doesn’t: your core mission. When you recognize and understand your core mission, it will help define where you need to go, and get you there faster.
[Related: 5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career]
3. “Most great moments begin with meeting people in a room and making connections.”
We all know the power of social media, but never underestimate the power of face-to-face conversations and interactions with people. A strong network made from meaningful connections is the difference between having a passion and turning your passion into a profession.
4. “My failure was one of the most important leadership lessons I’ve ever learned.”
Failure is inevitable for all of us, so it’s important to take these experiences and do the only thing we can do with a not-so-great situation: learn. Braun still cringed when thinking back on one of his biggest mistakes, but he also recognized how it served as an important opportunity for personal growth.
5. “You can’t fake authenticity.”
This is one place where you’ll have to ditch your “fake it ’till you make it” attitude. Authenticity, humility, and confidence is a much better recipe for success than pretending to have all the answers. Let your passion and commitment speak for itself!
Photos: Elisabeth Caren / Courtesy of Adam Braun; Courtesy of Amy Elisa Jackson