Opportunity — Will you take hold of your future?

Opportunity is for those who dare to take it. We all fall victim to the overpowering doubt that surrounds an opportunity, unsure of what will come of it? It is like looking at the top of an iceberg and trying to speculate what shape it takes underneath the water. It is so much easier to say, “Oh that event will just be a waste of a few hours,” rather than daring to imagine what could be: will you meet your soul mate or business partner, lay the foundation to a successful venture or discover something that could change lives? Let me share with you how I discovered the power of taking every opportunity presented to me.

A visual for the iceberg analogy

Junior year of high school, I finally decided to give this student group a try, Future Business Leaders of America. I had debated for two years whether this group would be worth an hour after school and finally came to the realization that I had nothing to lose. Half a year in, I had already made friends and won first place at our district competition. Who doesn’t love winning?! At this point in time, I was pretty happy with my choice, but I never could have foreseen what came next.

Due to the district win, I was able to compete at States in Orlando, Florida. That weekend was an inspirational, eye-opening experience. I was immersed in an environment that oozed hustle, wit, and passion. When I returned home, I decided to get more involved locally.

The following year, I became the president of East Lake High School FBLA, with over 100 members and 10 officers. At one of our first meetings, we invited a county employee to talk about a competition, Next Generation Tech. The competition caught my attention because of the mentoring and resources it offered ambitious, aspiring tech entrepreneurs. I recruited two friends, Rohan Kohli and Connor Dupuis, and signed up. Eight months later, we won that competition and $10,000 with our app, Scanned. You can check us out at Scanned-App.com and read about our full journey here. At the same time, I had just decided to attend the FBLA National Leadership Competition in Anaheim, California. We played with the idea of setting up a booth there, but that commitment would be a substantial financial investment.

After weeks of debating the return on investment (ROI), we said, “Let’s just go for it!” From that point on, we spent every second preparing for Nationals. Let me tell you, it was everything we expected…times 10.

We met incredible people like the national president of FBLA, Niel Patel, who led over 250,000 members this year; our state president, Zach Sahin, who leads thousands; and countless other state officers, advisors, and well-connected high school decision-makers. On top of all the networking and promoting of Scanned, we also were able to get people on our platform and garner a lot of interest from all around the nation!

The Scanned team meeting Niel

To make things even better, the East Lake FBLA members who came on the trip with me had a blast, and James Hannigan (my FBLA teammate) and I became national champions in Network Design, placing 8th against thousands of competitors nationally.

James and I taking receiving our awards

Looking back now, there is no way I could have ever imagined the past two years of my life taking the extraordinary turns that it has just from going to that informational FBLA meeting. Additionally, there is no way I could have foreseen the National Conference being as amazing as it was. Reflecting on this, I learned that there is no way to know how deep the iceberg really runs until you dare to explore it. The moment you go for it, your worries, doubts, and speculations will figure themselves out as you focus on just living every moment of that opportunity.

When in doubt, go to that informational meeting, take that less desirable job, attend that volunteering event, and put yourself out there. Stop thinking and just go.

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