16 Jun Live Your Legend Youth Spotlight: Katie Birzon
It’s graduation season, and we’ve got something special to celebrate!
Katie Birzon, a high school senior from Colorado, volunteered to do her senior thesis by studying the principles of Live Your Legend. Chelsea, who’s very passionate about helping youths, volunteered to mentor her personally. It was such a rewarding experience and success that we have decided to donate dozens of Live Your Legend products to Katie’s high school as a gift from her to incoming seniors. We look forward to working with more outstanding young adults like Katie in the future.
Today we have three great Katie-related pieces of content for you, and a special offer to celebrate all the grads out there.
- Chelsea sat down with Katie to interview her about her experience with Live Your Legend.
- Katie’s graduation speech where she discusses The Alchemist, Scott, and draws parallels between life and going on a long hike.
- Katie shares in writing what she learned from Live Your Legend. [below]
And the special offer? Read to the bottom to find out how we’re showing all of these grads our appreciation!
Take it away, Katie…
What is The One Thing Every Student Needs to Learn Before Graduating?
My name is Katie Birzon and before the end of my senior year in high school, I traveled to San Francisco in hopes of finding the answer to this question. I recently graduated from the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, CO. Before graduating, my school gives seniors three weeks at the end of the year to learn about anything they are passionate about. Students have done a wide-range of projects. One student traveled to Spain to teach English and learn about the culture, while another student stayed in Colorado Springs to volunteer with the homeless LGBTQ community. Pretty amazing! This project offers a lot of freedom, but it can be difficult for students to choose exactly how they want to spend their time in a way that is meaningful to them. I’m lucky– it was an easy decision for me. I had an opportunity to work closely with one of my greatest role models, and learn more about a business that has inspired me for years.
I first met Scott and Chelsea Dinsmore when Scott swam Alcatraz with my older brother in 2010. I was only 11 years old. I didn’t learn about Live Your Legend and the inspiring work that they do until I saw Scott’s Ted Talk a few years later. Still, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I became engaged with the Live Your Legend community. I became tremendously inspired by the way Scott lived his life, and it moved me to accomplish some of my greatest goals. I finally read the Alchemist, and I swam Alcatraz (a dream I have had since I was nine). Additionally, getting out of my comfort zone became a hobby. As Scott promised, I would not regret doing a little more living each day.
I am so fortunate to not only have Scott as a role model, but Chelsea as well! I admire everything from her ability to speak calmly in front of a crowd (while delivering a message that will change your life), to her conscious decision to make the world a little bit better each and every day she is in it. Scott and Chelsea’s words and actions have taught me that I can accomplish anything. And I should! So when asked what I wanted to do for my senior project, I saw it as an opportunity to give back and say thank you, as well as fully immerse myself in a community that I knew first-hand had the power to change my life.
I know undoubtedly my life has changed because of my two role models, and I feel lucky to have found them at the time that can be a difficult period for many youth. I’m sure everyone remembers the stress that comes with being a junior in high school. All your focus is on which colleges to apply to, the careers you might have, and the aspirations you hope to someday achieve. It is easy to feel apathetic about the present moment, because all of your attention is focused toward the future. What I have found to be the most valuable lesson that Live Your Legend can teach to students is that life is not about living the dream, but rather, life is about following your dream. In other words, the process of finding work that you love is just as important as actually doing the work that you love. If you skip the self-discovery process, you might one-day reach your goal and realize it is not the life you have been dreaming of. Luckily, Live Your Legend realizes the steps necessary to living your dream life. Live Your Legend’s passionate work framework includes four pillars:
- Become a self expert
- Do your impossible
- Surround yourself with passionate people
- Do something that matters: Lead, serve, give.
I believe that these steps are absolutely necessary when following your own personal legend. Many students hold the belief that their lives will begin once they graduate from high school, or once they start doing work that actually matters to them. However, if you live in the present, the work you are doing right now can be meaningful.
When I began my project in San Francisco, I knew that I was setting out to create a youth program for Live Your Legend. I expected to go through the courses and edit what applied to the youth. I was excited to take the course and learn from it. What surprised me, is that I learned the most not when I was in the curriculum, but when I began consciously applying the lessons that it taught me. For example, the things I learned from the people I met along the way. The Live Your Legend values of connecting with people and living with passion, were constantly on my mind. I became interested in the lives of everyone around me. I enjoyed meaningful conversations with Uber drivers, jewelry street merchants, a homeless man, and other unique strangers. It was fascinating to see how a variety of people lived passionate lives. They all gave advice to help me throughout my work. It was inspiring to see how much they cared about my project. A woman who sold jewelry on the street told me that she has had many jobs, but preferred what she did now. She said that our conversation happened for a reason, and took it as a sign that she was doing the right thing. I left bewildered as she had also told me the seven dollars I gave her was the first money she had made all week.
Every day was a unique experience that made me view the world in a new way. In San Francisco there is such a wide variety of people. I still consider myself shy, and I was constantly being pushed out of my comfort zone. Yet, I learned how to approach the world with genuine curiosity. I now feel like I can enter any situation, and by simply being endlessly curious, I can get something meaningful out of any experience.
I have never traveled alone in a city before my senior project brought me to San Francisco. This aspect is what made me most nervous. I was actually afraid of being surrounded by so many people. It was an actual concern of mine that I would get to a big city, then be so nervous I wouldn’t leave the house! However, once I got there, it wasn’t scary at all. I learned that if you have purpose in where you are going, no one pays attention to you, or gives you a hard time. And as Live Your Legend taught me: a person is a person no matter the scenario.
I went into this project expecting to use my knowledge of being a teen, and use it to edit the 21 Days to Discover Your Passion course into something fit for the youth. I was not expecting the course to change me to the extent that it did. Because of the course, I can trust that no matter what happens in college, or how many jobs I take on the path to reaching my dream, I have the tools to make the experience worthwhile and meaningful.
I will never forget my time spent in San Francisco and the lessons that it taught me. I can’t thank the Live Your Legend team enough for everything this experience has given me. I hope that all students will take this course, because it is an amazing thing to trust in yourself that no matter where you end up, the work you are doing will matter. And for me, that work starts now.
Thanks, Katie for sharing what Live Your Legend has meant to you. You’ve got an incredibly bright future in front of you!