Quarter Zero provides entrepreneurial experiences for high schoolers. But their goal isn’t to create a new class of startup founders—in fact, they know that many of their alumni may never start and run another business. However, they do believe potential is best powered when it’s affirmed and developed at an early age, and entrepreneurship is a great way to do that.
We would agree! And in today’s post, we’re going to share the key insights Quarter Zero has found through years of working with young people. We’ll show you how you can play a role in powering your student’s potential, too.
- Encourage Them to Ask “Why” Before You Show Them “What”
“Why do I have to learn this?”
Has your high schooler asked this question before? It can be frustrating to hear as a parent or an educator . . . but it’s a fair question. And the answer is often a key component in powering the potential of young people: How does everything young people learn in school actually apply to their lives—to who they will become and to the work they are interested in doing throughout their lives?
When looking to answer your high school student’s “why”, it can be helpful to simply start with your own “why”; to do your best to share a story of your own experience. We can also let young people have their own experiences, right now. To truly add power to what high school students are learning in the classroom, we have to go beyond the lesson plans and add experience and personal context. This is what motivates young people and answers their “why”.
Ask Your Student: Ask your high schooler what they’re curious about, and research ways they might explore that interest right now—whether that’s volunteering for an organization, starting a high school club, or applying for a high school entrepreneurial program.
- Change Their Environment and Their Experience Sooner Than Later
There are a lot of life experiences young people are told they have to wait and experience later in life: going to prom, studying abroad, and voting, to name a few. Entrepreneurship is often another experience they believe they have to wait to try—after they’ve graduated from college, worked in the “real world”, or raised a lot of money—if they even believe they’ll get to experience it at all. As adults, we can show them that they have the potential to be and do much of what they thought they had to wait to do later. The key with this approach is creating a new environment for them to operate in with the right resources and relationships (to people who are actually doing this work) that tap into the energy, ideas, and potential that already exists within them.
Not every kid is going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook or Spanx’s Sara Blakely, but she can still develop the skills to thrive in whatever she decides to do next—whether it’s joining Student Council, finishing a school project, or starting her first internship.
Provide a New Environment: It might be a Quarter Zero experience, a science summer camp, or simply changing the way you act around and speak to your kids in the privacy of your own home. Wherever it may be, give your student the environment, the support, and the resources to solve problems and find success in every aspect of their life—right now and when they’re older.
- Let Them Practice Failing—and Let Them Try Again
There are very few (if any) areas of a high schooler’s life where failure is accepted, let alone encouraged. The majority of successful people attribute their success to their failures, yet we seem to overlook this imperative and essential life lesson and do not prepare students for failure—or, more importantly, how to recover from it.
It’s another reason why entrepreneurship is such great experience for real life. There are no answers in the back of the book when it comes to running and launching a business. We need to encourage our young people to experience failure too, and encourage them to try again. Not in the “rah-rah-motivational-poster”-type of way, but in the real world—whether that’s failing a science test, not making the football team, or building a business that bombs.
Let’s show them—perhaps by sharing our own experiences of failure—that it’s okay to not always get it right, especially if it means that they’ve made an effort and are willing to learn from their mistakes.
Support Their Failure: The next time your high schooler fails at something, talk to them about their experience and offer support for doing better the next time—or trying something altogether different. Let them know it’s okay to fail and encourage them to try again.
Josh Collins, Quarter Zero’s Founder and CEO says: “Powering potential means helping young people see the possibilities of what they can do and who they can become, by providing a framework for solving problems and creating value—no matter what they decide to do with their lives.”
Quarter Zero provides that framework through entrepreneurship, but there are many, many ways to power your young person’s potential. We hope you find inspiration and ideas from the insights shared above, but if you’re interested in learning more about Quarter Zero’s two summer entrepreneurship programs applications are due April 30th!