Tune In To The 11 Tips for Doing WIT

Think back to a time when you struggled with something, and I mean really struggled. Now think of the moment that followed that. The moment where, after much trial and error, you finally managed to get that thing right.

Think of the way you felt at that moment. Accomplished. Proud. Successful. Right?

My name is Gaby Wellman, and for the two years I have been a WIT teen, I have been living my life according to 11 simple guidelines. I have found that these 11 things, more commonly known to those of us in the WIT community as the 11 Tips for Doing WIT, have helped me feel accomplished, proud, and successful in all of my endeavors.

Here is an example of using the 11 Tips in your life. So, if you have been wanting to learn how to play guitar for a while but haven’t been successful, this might be a good time to tune in (no pun intended).

1. Can’t Want It More Than You-- If you choose to take on the task of learning to play guitar, then it is something you have to really want. I say this from experience, it is not a task you take on just because your grandma thought it would be cool! If you are only taking on this task because someone else wants you to, then you are done before you have even begun.

2. It’s A Choice-- Whatever it is you are struggling to accomplish, remember that you chose to do it. If you would like to learn how to play guitar, thats awesome, but if you really want to learn how to play it well, you have to make a choice to dedicate your time to do so.

3. 10-10-10-- Consider the impact that putting in the time to learn how to play the guitar will have on you in the future. For example, sitting down for a few minutes a day might seem tedious and difficult in those 10 minutes, but within 10 days you could do it well enough to learn a whole song, and in 10 years maybe you’ll be playing at Carnegie Hall, you never know.

4. Set Yourself Up For Success-- As you learn how to play guitar, surround yourself with people and materials that can help you learn. Don’t go into it blindly, find things around you that can help you succeed!

5. KISS-- Keep It Super Simple! You don’t want the first chord you try to learn to be an F, you would want to start with some simple chords like an A or an Em.

6. Showing Up-- Setting goals for yourself could be a good idea in the first months of learning how to play. Make sure, however, that when you say you are going to practice every day for 10 minutes you follow through and show up for yourself. If you don’t, the only person who you are cheating is yourself!

7. Own It-- It is understandable that somethings might come up as you go through the journey of learning how to play guitar. If one day the whole Harry Potter series is on TV for a movie marathon and you don’t get around to playing that day, own up to it. You made a choice to do something else over practicing guitar (and who wouldn't for Harry Potter?) and that is okay, but be honest about it.

8. Living In Alignment-- Make sure that when it comes to playing guitar you are really being yourself. Maybe in your daily life your a huge country fan, but when it comes to learning songs on your guitar you go full hard rock metal because you think that’s cool. That would be a fatal mistake because you would be living your life out of alignment. It’s imperative to be true to yourself in all aspects of your life.

9. Step Into Your Greatness-- Believing in yourself is the most important part of learning something new. All you have to do to begin is to believe in yourself and step into the greatness you have within you.

10. Make an Impression-- Even if you think that you are the worst guitar player in the world, when you are showing your skills to others pretend like you are the best player in the world. Even if your skills didn’t attract your audience, your confidence will surely leave an impression.

11. Finish Strong-- Make sure that all of the excitement and grit you have at the beginning of learning how to play continues throughout the entire process. Finish just as strong as you started.

So next time you are struggling to do something-- whether it’s launching your own business or learning how to strum a new chord on your guitar-- remember to look back at the 11 Tips for Doing WIT for guidance.

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Some Shoes for Thought


 Hello! Our names are Pranav Sreekumar and Jon Solomon and we are the co-founders of the non-profit organization called Shoes 4 Thought. In our enterprise, we collect new or lightly used clothing, shoes, socks, etc. for elementary kids in communities where lack of those items can lead to a child not attending school. We bundle up donations into individual care packages for children. Once we have enough of these care packages created, we go to under-resourced schools around the area and provide them to students as an incentive to attend school on a daily basis. We are teaming up with Natalie DuBose from Natalie’s Cakes and More since she works closely with some schools that would benefit greatly from a program like Shoes 4 Thought.

Launching this enterprise means we've had various ups and downs. One of the things that we had trouble figuring out was how to  generate a consistent intake of donations. We contacted several churches and elementary schools around our area but, unfortunately, had very little success. As a result, we asked our co-working space, where we hold our WIT class, whether we could set up a donation box, but they said that would not be possible at this time. 

Despite disappointment that our first ideas did not work, we decided to implement a new strategy for collecting donations. We thought we might have more success if we were to give people a ‘Shoes 4 Thought’ drawstring bag for people to fill with donated clothes.  We felt these bags demonstrate our own investment and belief in this idea to collect clothing for kids who need it most.  We launched this strategy at a big event WIT hosted called Where Are We Now (WAWN) before a room filled business leaders, community leaders, educators and families. We were able to distribute our bags to a broad range of attendees who were eager to help us out after hearing our pitch.  Along with the bags, we gave people our business cards so they could contact us when they wanted us to collect the bags from them. 

Do you want a bag? Are you interested in supporting our efforts?
Here’s how you can help: 

*If you are in the St. Louis area, please help us collect clothing items for elementary kids. Once you have donations ready, please email us at pranav.sreekumar27@gmail.com and we will coordinate a pick up with you.  St. Louis residents can also help us connect with any other schools who you feel would benefit from a program like ours.  

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Shoes 4 Thought and for your support in our efforts to keep kids motivated and excited to attend school. You can follow along our journey at our instagram page @shoes4thought

Hello! My name is Pranav Sreekumar and I am a junior at Marquette High School. W.I.T. gives me the opportunity to reach out and connect with the St. Louis community. One of the reasons that I joined WIT was to gather the courage to go outside my comfort zone and to give back to the St. Louis community. Through our enterprise, Shoes 4 Thought, I believe Jon, my business partner, and I are striving to provide a foundation for the youth in St. Louis by providing the resources that they may be lacking like clothing, shoes, (etc).

Hey everyone! My name is Jon Solomon, and I am a senior at Lafayette High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Through W.I.T, I have been able to find a great group of teens, like myself, looking to do good for our community. The reason I wanted to join W.I.T was the fact that I was always interested in business, and I wanted to explore further into the social entrepreneurship world. Our non-profit organization, Shoes 4 Thought, has allowed my partner Pranav and I to work to improve the lives of our St. Louis youth.We are working to give them the clothes that they need, while at the same time boosting their self esteem.

Why you should "Chip In"

Writer, musician, entrepreneur. My name is Jack Deubner and I'I a senior at Lafayette High School in Wildwood Missouri. This is my first year on WIT with my Chip In project I've started in memory of my brother.  Born STL, living STL. 

Writer, musician, entrepreneur. My name is Jack Deubner and I'I a senior at Lafayette High School in Wildwood Missouri. This is my first year on WIT with my Chip In project I've started in memory of my brother. 
Born STL, living STL. 

Talking is what got me to where I am.

I'm not famous, rich, popular, or whatever else would throw me higher on some hierarchical totem pole. This is just where I am in my life and I'm happy with it. Talking is also what got your favorite actor, musician, comedian, writer,  to wherever they are today. It's an important factor in everyone's life, yes, everyone.

Chip, my brother, was a huge talker. Whether you just met him or if you knew him for years, if you sat him down and got him talking it was hard to get the guy to shut up. Chip passed on July 9th 2016 after thirty two years of talking, moving, laughing and memory making. He was never really around while I was growing up, he was sixteen when I was born and just getting ready to head off to college. But whenever he was in town from college, or wherever he lived at the time (probably New York City or St. Louis), I spent almost every waking moment with him chatting up storms. He’d take me to downtown St. Louis showing me loads of cool things I've never seen before and (of course) telling me plenty of stories along the way. It became pretty common for me to get amped up about Christmastime just knowing that Chip would be coming home.

When Chip got sick, he moved home with us. This was the first time Chip and I lived together and I wasn't, you know, a child. Of course the sickness was awful, cancer sucks, hospitals suck, doctors suck, but seeing Chip all the time was amazing. This is really where the idea for Chip In comes into play. Chip would ask me questions that would spark up stories of my own and I’d share him little tidbits of my life growing up. Chip In is a centerpiece book that centers around these questions and shares them with others, opening up those conversations that me and Chip had with others. It’ll open up those long conversations, similar to what Chip strived toward and build or strengthen your relationships with others. I want other people to have as strong as a relationship that my brother and I had. Being able to tell stories about your friend or family member to others really shows that you know them.

So, talk to others, share your stories, listen to others, learn to casually converse, like Chip did.