His dream to be a baseball player didn't happen... something bigger did.

Written on
January 22, 2020
Peter Hostrawser

What happens when you have a dream to be a baseball player and then get cut from the team.  A client of mine had that exact experience a few years ago.  Typically what happens is the kid will just stop trying and throw in the towel.  Jake Fine, is no typical kid.  

I first met Jake in my business management class as he was a junior.  One of the challenges in the class was that students were to try to start a business or learn the Scrum methodology.  Jake came to me and said he wanted to be a YouTuber and was going to work on his channel.  I paused for a second then said, ok, go do that for a business.  He looked at me a little odd like I didn’t believe he could do it.  It was just the opposite.  I knew he could do it.   

Jake began working on a few videos while class went on during the semester.  He was teamed up with a student who learned Scrum to help him project manage his business.  The two worked well together learning business and project management.  After a while, I got curious to see one of Jake’s videos and went to his channel and watched.  The episode I watched was great!  It had flow and a story that was interesting.  It was something I thought would be a good thing to show his fellow business management students.  I showed his video to the class the next day. 

Jake had no idea what I was going to do.

I gathered the entire class around the 55 inch television, hooked up my computer and went to Jake’s channel.  I told the class we were going to watch Jake’s video.  Jake looked at me in shock.  I couldn’t tell if he was excited, afraid, or going to have a panic attack.  I gave him a “trust me” smile and the video began to play.  Throughout the video, I would check to see if Jake was still breathing.  He was, although barely!  The video ended and students began commenting.  Good comments.  Things like “that was cool” and “well done” were what they all sounded like.  

Jake told me he never watched one of his videos with other people before.  He was amazed at how great people thought is was.  He started to become confident in his work.  He began to work harder at his craft.

This is a huge milestone for people to overcome.  The fear of rejection.

Jake continued to make videos.  I continued to help out any way I could.  I even hired him to do one of my speaking engagements and paid him.  He became a professional producer that day.  He began to get hired more and more because he was driven.  Jake liked to produce videos for other people.  He does it well.

The story could end here… but it doesn’t… it gets better!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Jake never made the baseball team in high school.  That didn’t destroy his love for the game.  Jake began to make videos about baseball.  He used his network to get connected with the Chicago Cubs and do some video and photography for the team.  As Jake stretched his possibilities around video and baseball, he came up with a plan to document a year of his high school’s baseball team on video.  He planned a documentary.  I was privileged to watch this young man shoot, interview, edit and produce a 45 minute documentary of the team.  It was sheer joy.  I got to watch Jake learn so much about his skills and producing a documentary.  He pushed himself.  He struggled.  He failed and learned and succeeded.  

But wait… there’s more…

In the middle of producing the documentary, Jake decided that he needed a venue to show it.  He began to investigate places to show it along with his assistant Ava he hired.  They worked together and found that the famous Lake Theater in Oak Park, Illinois was willing to open a theater for his showing.  Jake and Ava put together everything from sponsors (in which I was one), ticket prices, and a panel discussion after the viewing.  He faced the challenge of selling over 200 tickets.  

Jake did it.  He packed in 250 people into a theater.  He’s 18 years old.

There is nothing like seeing a previous student take a risk and win.  Jake did just that.  He filled the theater on January 5th, 2020.  Jake went from a kid in my class who wanted to be a YouTuber to an 18 year old professional producer and now business owner and documentarian.  Connections and opportunities will continue to flow into Jake’s new company called Thooosi Productions.  

Reflecting on his journey, I came up with a few concepts that helped Jake level up.  They are:

Consistency:  Jake did not waver from his craft.  He did different things within it, but always knew it was video and he consistently put video out in some form or another for over two years.  Most teens will try something out and if they don’t see some sort of immediate success, they will give up.  Jake continued to produce, even when he wasn’t seeing results right away. 

Failed Forward:  Believe it or not, even at the documentary showing, Jake apologized for some of the audio levels being too low.  He understands that perfection is a myth.  You can strive for it, but it won’t paralyze you.  Jake identifies his failures and learns from them.  Most people his age try to hide them.  

Asking for help:  Jake hired Ava who helped him become organized.  He constantly leaned on his mentors, family, and friends to help.  This is big.  Most 18 year old kids are too proud to ask for help.  Jake is humble.  He knew big things happen when there is a team of people working together.  Team > Individual.  

You really can accomplish amazing things if you are in the right mindset.  Jake didn’t let walls and blockers stop him from accomplishing something many teens would deem impossible.  Jake had a growth mindset and stayed with it.  He knows what value he brings to the table.  He believes in his value.  He isn’t afraid to show his value.

If you are in need of finding your value or ways to show it, feel free to connect with me.  My value is helping others show theirs.  

Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
My value is to help you show your value. #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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