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How to help students turn passions into skills

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Most students either don't know what they're passionate about, or don't know how to turn those passions into skills. In this video, we give you a 3-step framework for how to unlock the passion inside of each student and use it as motivation for school, work and life.

Video Transcript

Most students don't know how to turn their passions into skills. How's it going, everyone? This is Joseph and Matthew Moheban. We're the co-founders of 220 and today we're going to go through and teach you a three-step framework on how you can help yourself, and your students turn the passions that they have into skills.

The problem is most students have things that they're interested in- we all know that students love video games, they love to be on YouTube, they love to be on their phones- but as adults we don't encourage that type of behavior because we don't think that that's going to be a future skill or something that would add value for a future opportunity for students. Whether that's college or career or graduate school or whatever it might be that we want for them to accomplish in their life.

What we have to do in this situation is actually encourage the students to continue to pursue the activities that they're interested in. Because what ends up happening is we'll ask students all the time: "what are your passions?" and the most common answer that we get is: "I don't have any passions."

This is just not the case. So, today we're going to talk about the three-step framework that you can use and that your students can use, to not just start practicing their passions more, but to use those passions and the interest that they have to develop skills that are going to help them accomplish their ultimate goals.

This framework is going to help you engage those students that you think might just not care at all about your class or program or that seem like they just don't want to work hard at anything. This framework is going to reignite motivation inside of that student to not only go after their own goals, but relate it back to your program or your class.

So the first step of the framework is to identify the passions that each student has.

Now like Joseph said, every student has a passion they just might not know it yet or they may not have discovered it yet or spent enough time on it to actually know if they're passionate about it or not. So the first thing to do there is see if there's a passion existing and the way to do that is to use questions. Ask students "what do you do when you have an uninterrupted block of free time? What do you like to spend money on if you ever get some disposable income that you can spend, what's the first thing that you buy? When do you lose track of time because you're just having so much fun doing something?

Those are the types of questions that can tease out existing passions and if they don't have something that is a ready answer we can still help them along the path and tease out things they're interested in and really encourage them to spend time on it because that's how we ultimately discover what we're passionate about. You have to put some time in you have to try things you have to make yourself vulnerable. You have to be willing to fail to figure out if this is something that you're really excited about doing and want to do for a long time.

Step two in the framework is for students to brainstorm skills around that passion that they can develop and use later in their career to help people and companies solve problems.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to flip the script and ask students: "Okay you love playing video games that other people made, what if you were the one who had to create the video game? What skills would you need to develop in coding or computer science or video game design to be the one that could make a video game like the ones you love playing?"

That's an easy way to think about examples of skills that are right there one degree away from something students are already so excited about that could be used with video games or with any number of other skills or any other number of jobs in the future. We just want to use that excitement that students are already passionate about and connect it to one of those skills.

If they're excited about any other passion they can also tie it to things like communication skills which they're going to need no matter what career they go into. They could write about what they're passionate about in a journal or a blog or on social media. They could record videos and start a YouTube channel on it and develop public speaking skills. These writing and speaking and communication skills are going to serve students no matter what they decide to do later on.

The third step in the framework now that students have identified a passion and brainstorm skills around that passion that they can develop the third step is to commit to doing it regularly. 

Like we said at the beginning a lot of students don't know what they're passionate about, but if we can get them to the stage where they've identified it and they brainstorm the skills, now it's time to do the thing that we just can't get around: Investing time regularly into developing that skill and committing to it on a regular basis.

We recommend at least an hour a week this is where the magic happens because most teachers parents adults discourage students from these common passions that they're worried aren't going to turn into anything because they don't spend enough time obviously brainstorming how it can be skills. But investing time into developing those skills so that they're actually valuable that someone can use there's no way around it we have to commit regular time to our passions in developing those into skills if we want them to be something we can use down the road. So, this is where you want your students to be committing at least one hour every single week to developing this passion into a skill. Obviously we'd love for them to do more but, one hour a week is a great starting point and if they're excited about it we've identified something they're really passionate about this hour will expand naturally on its own because students are going to be interested. They're going to be excited, they're going to see themselves growing and getting better at it and that's when it really starts to get fun.

This framework is so meaningful to us because we developed it based on our own personal experience. We started with our passion for sports which we were super excited about in middle school and in high school. We did realize though that the NBA and the NFL weren't going to be calling and neither were colleges to give us scholarships to go play. But, we wanted to continue that and so we figured out a way to go volunteer coach and we fell in love with coaching. Then we wanted to figure out a way to keep doing that. We combined it with a passion that we discovered for entrepreneurship and started a summer camp as a summer job and that led to us having the foundational concept to start 220 which we left our jobs to do full-time in 2015 and now we are doing what we love every single day.

It's what we want for every single one of your students so if they follow this framework they're going to make incredible progress towards turning that passion that may seem just like a hobby that they're not going to be able to use now into something that's a valuable skill that's going to help them create their 220 life which means they'll be doing work they love.

If you want to learn more about this topic check out the resources below or visit us at 220leadership.com thanks for watching we'll see you soon!

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