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How to leverage the power and potential of proximity to power to catapult yourself to the next level

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Courtesy of Kate Aedon / Shutterstock
Courtesy of Kate Aedon / Shutterstock

Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

The following article was taken from my upcoming book, titled What They Won’t Teach You. It has been repurposed for this article on Thrive Global. Enjoy!

As I am writing this, one of the hottest and highest trending entrepreneurs in the entire game right now just said in an interview that if he had the opportunity, he would work for free for Jeff Bezos, who is the founder and CEO of Amazon,  just so that he can see how Jeff is wired and how he does things over at Amazon.

The man who said that was Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is literally one of the most well known and successful digital entrepreneurs of our time, and he said with certainty that he would drop everything that he is doing right now to work for free for Jeff Bezos for 1 year.

This really opened up my eyes to the power and importance of surrounding yourself with people who do and have the things you want. There is really no better way to do it, proximity to power is so crucial, but you will need to be willing to make sacrifices, such as working for free. Just remember every penny, every minute, and every ounce of effort that you are investing in yourself or towards your future with pay itself back 100x.

First of all, if you are just starting out like I am, you don’t need to go around asking the Jeff Bezos’s of the world to work for them for free, because in reality, that’s far stretched. Please, go ahead and reach out to them still because you really do NEVER know. It is always worth reaching out. It costs nothing and the potential ROI is monstrous. But if you are just getting into the game, then there are endless amounts of people to surround yourself and get around that can have an extreme benefit for you and your goals.

Again, I never really realized the magnitude of potential and opportunity that is out there, but having a presence in the digital world in areas such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and so on, I have come across so many world-class entrepreneurs that I never heard of and they are all doing absolutely incredible things.

There are also your local entrepreneurs and business owners. These guys are typically your best place to start, given that they are in your area. One thing to note, if you are a student in high school or college, you NEED to take advantage of that status and leverage it! Just by being a local student, your chances of finding an opportunity like this increase tenfold. For everyone else, don’t lose hope, it’s just part of the everyday grind, nothing new.

The best way to approach these people is to figure out what they need help with. Study their business, study their track record and their staff and how their company operates. Then, identify the hole and be the solution to fill it. For example, for a majority of local restaurant chains, they have a great business with great food and so on, but most are lacking a social media presence. If this is a business you’d like to get into, then offer to give them a hand with their social media for FREE. Chances are, they’ll pay you after the first month.

Here is another prime example. If there is a page or an influencer on social media that you follow and like, find out how YOU can help THEM get better. It can be in terms of productivity, saving time, saving money, and so on. The key is to get CREATIVE. Isn’t that kind of the entire theme of the book? Message 100 of your favorite Instagram influencers and offer to make them content for their page. Send them some of your work. 1 or 2 of them will love what you do and bring you on board.

That is all it takes! Find out how YOU can bring value to THEM. For FREE. Follow that formula and you will literally be catapulted in the direction you are trying to go in your career. Getting that type of experience under your belt is invaluable. Go out there and GET IT!

More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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