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What Will You Build in 2017?

Have you ever listened to a podcast or read a blog that inspired you so much that you told everyone you knew about it? That’s what “How I Built This” is for me, a new NPR podcast “about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they build. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity, and insight–told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands.”

An entrepreneur myself, I’ve been inspired to hear the story of Airbnb before they became valued at $10+ billion. Did you know the idea came about when the founders couldn’t pay their rent and decided to rent mattress spots to conference attendees in San Francisco? Or that Cliff bars were made by a guy named Gary who went hiking one day and said, “I can’t take another bite of [this energy bar]. I could make a better bar than this!” and worked with his mom in the kitchen to come up with a better recipe? I couldn’t believe that Warby Parker was started by b-school students who wanted to disrupt the expensive eyewear industry (dominated by one company!) and launched an alternative while in school.

All of the above stories inspire me as I think about what I’m building professionally and personally in life. Sometimes we start from rock bottom or with a small idea, and then with a little luck and a lot of hustle, we can make something great. Walt Disney said it best, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” We create change in our lives and in the world when we use the talents and strengths we’ve been given. Our world needs smart people solving problems that better human life and experience. Serial Entrepreneur Saneev Saxena said, “If you don’t know what to do with your life, do something that saves lives. The world is full of people in need, be the part of their life that fills that need.”

So what will you build in 2017? Give it some thought, meet with a Career Coach, be brave, and start to build something (see Patagonia’s 100 year plan!) that will have a lasting impact for generations to come.​

* This post originally appeared on Carey the Torch, the Official Blog of the Career Development Office at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

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