You Got This

How often do we identify a problem – on a personal, local, national or even global scale – and simply pass it by? We so often accept the story of: that’s just the way it is. Thankfully (for ourselves and for our planet), there is a whole generation of youth today awakening to the potential within themselves to put on the brakes and re-write the story. “Hey, wait a minute!” they’re starting to say. “There’s something I can do about this.”

Have you ever been sunburnt, for example? For some people, it’s a minor irritation. For others, it can lead to serious medical problems like skin cancer.

For 20-year-old Rachel Pautler and four of her friends – all nanotechnology engineering students – the sunburn problem was one to solve! What began as a brainstorming session for their fourth-year design project soon became a start-up company. Suncayr was born.

These students discovered that the issue for most people was not forgetting to wear sunscreen, but rather that it would wear off during the day without the users noticing, so it would not be reapplied. Their solution? Use a marker they had created (just like a regular magic marker) to draw something (anything – which is part of the fun) somewhere on your skin that will be exposed to the sun’s rays. It’ll go on clear. Then apply your sunscreen. Go outdoors and have fun! Later in the day, as your sunscreen dissolves, it begins to lose its effectiveness, and your drawing will start to show – purple, red, orange or yellow depending on the marker you chose. When you see it, you know it’s time to re-apply your sun protection!

It’s a great idea. And apparently a lot of other people think so too. Each time I’ve checked in with them since our first interview, the product seems to have won yet another award or competition. This is serving the group well, as they are in the process of gaining approval from the North American regulatory agencies.

In my mind, each of them is already a winner. They dreamed of what could be, and they took action. Along the way, they gained valuable insight and expertise that will serve them well in any future endeavors they decide to participate in.

Apart from the science side of things, running a start-up company requires a whole other set of expertise. But that didn’t slow them down. “A big challenge has been learning how to build a business,” Rachel admits. “We’re all engineers; we’ve got great tech backgrounds, but we had no idea how to do any sales or marketing or accounting – we had to learn a ton in a very short period of time.”

 

Chances are you’re not going to be an expert in every area that’s required to achieve your goal. But that’s okay, because you’ll attract what and who you need! The key is that you don’t let not knowing how to do something stop you from pursuing a dream. Rachel and the rest of the team didn’t know how to create the marker. It had never been done before! At least not until they came along. What would you like to create that doesn’t exist today?

 

Consider this. The ability to create anything – say the smartphone, or the iWatch, or a sunscreen marker, for example – has always been present. Likewise, we weren’t introduced to air travel in the last century because somehow the laws of nature changed. What’s required, though – what brings it alive – is for someone to develop an awareness; someone needs to come up with, recognize, and believe strongly in an idea for it to actualize. They must believe so strongly that in spite of how often they are told that can’t be done, or that it’s a silly waste of time, they forge onward.

Around 1977, Bill Gates and his co-founder at Microsoft shared their vision of seeing a computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software. That was a huge idea at the time. Gates has since pointed out that a lot of very smart people at the time just didn’t get it. “Why would somebody need a computer?” they’d ask. “It’s kind of a silly idea!” Yes… that’s what they really said. Today, it’s hard to imagine not having one in our pocket, let alone on our desk!

If, in your mind’s eye, you can see yourself already in possession of your goal, I believe that’s proof enough that you can accomplish it. Will you know how? In most cases… absolutely not! Consider the real reason for a goal. The purpose of having goals is not to get stuff. Ultimately, the purpose of goals is to grow. Pursuing goals makes you dig deep and discover the resources of talent and ability you have within you, just waiting to be expressed.

While we all have the same inherent ability to tap into an infinite source of supply, the ways in which we express that in our lives and the gifts we bring to the world are unique to each of us. No one else can make the contribution that you can. Now is your time to shine. You’ve got this! Decide. Believe. Begin.

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