Did you ever have a lemonade stand when you were little?
As kids, my brother, Matt, and I would have lemonade stands every summer as a way to make extra cash. We would set up a table and chairs on the corner of the street we lived on in the suburbs of Long Island,NY, and people would always stop and buy our lemonade.
Did people stop because of a thirst that needed to be quenched at that very moment? Of course not!
Instead, people stopped because of something I call The Lemonade Stand Principle, which states that older people like to help younger people who are ambitious and enthusiastic. I have found this to be true as a 9 year-old kid selling lemonade on the side of the road, as a 21 year-old student trying to break into the pro sports industry, and as a 27 year-old entrepreneur starting his own business.
Enthusiasm is contagious, and genuine ambition is inspiring. When my brother and I had our lemonade stands, we would be out there with signs, trying to wave down every car that passed by. Our enthusiasm inspired people to want to help us.
Similarly, most older executives love to help ambitious students because they remind them of themselves. When older executives look at you (assuming you have a winning attitude), they see who they were 20, 30, or 40 years ago. They remember the challenges they went through, and they remember how someone helped them get started. Do not make the mistake of thinking that people won’t want to help you. When you approach people the right way, you will be amazed at who will support you, just like I was when I looked for a job as a student. Your youth is a tremendous advantage that you should not feel guilty about utilizing. In 10-20 years, you can return the favor to a younger person when you are the successful senior executive.
If you have already graduated from college, you can still benefit from The Lemonade Stand Principle, although it will never be as easy to get career advice and support as it is while you are a student. An optimistic attitude is essential throughout your job search, and it is one of the traits that can overcome deficiencies in your resume. If you are feeling “depressed” or “angry” about your job search and conveying those emotions to others, you need to stop yourself right now!
You have to get excited first before you can expect others to get excited about helping you. An enthusiastic attitude will keep you optimistic and resilient.
Youth is not an obstacle. Youth is a huge advantage for your career. Remember The Lemonade Stand Principle.