I’ve been fortunate to work with leadership coaches and mentors who have impacted and molded my personal growth throughout my professional life. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been passing along some of those lessons learned to Max Moroknek, a student and entrepreneur at Brebeuf Jesuit, my alma mater. Here are some things I hope he carries along with him throughout his life.
Learn. Earn. Return.
These three simple words are the foundation behind the purpose and importance of mentorship.
By enhancing the learning curve and professional knowledge of young students, mentors give them the opportunity to grow faster and keep up the tradition of mentorship begun generations ago.
Step 1: Learn.
The only way to seize an opportunity is to be prepared when it comes. Furthering your education is important, but you must also surround yourself with leaders who want to invest in your professional and personal growth by sharing their experiences. So, do your best in school, surround yourself with positive people who challenge your thoughts and find a couple mentors to build your knowledge base.
Step 2: Earn.
Earn. Build something for yourself. The more you utilize your knowledge, resources and learned experiences to earn money and build wealth, the more you’ll succeed. Leadership coach Jerry Nelson once told me, “Never apologize for opportunities you are given, it’s your responsibility to seize them and grow.” This step can make some people feel uncomfortable and apologetic, but earning money and building on the foundation of the generation before you is something to be proud of.
Step 3: Return.
The most important step is to return and give back to the next generation. This step requires you to make a time and financial commitment. But without it, the cycle of mentorship and pieces of societal growth could be lost. Your return could be anything from developing a scholarship fund for underprivileged students to sharing your expertise with a student seeking a similar profession—anything that allows future generations to learn, earn and return for themselves.
Technically, Max and his business partner, Will Murray, a fellow Brebeuf Brave, are still in Step 1. However, they created a disposable emergency device charger called Zuice, which will soon be branded and sold in NBA and NHL arenas around the country, including Indianapolis, home of our Indiana Pacers.