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Finding Balance Between Innovation and Burnout

Uncategorized Feb 24, 2022

How much dedication does it take to change lives? Are you ever too young to initiate change in the world? On January 30th, 2022 past winners of Digital4Good got together in a live stream webinar hosted by Maiya Winston to discuss the impact of hustle culture and how it shaped their entrepreneurship and self-image. The panelists, Shreyaa Venkat (19), Riley Damiano (19), Olivia Rush (20), Charlie Lucas (17) are all young entrepreneurs and changemakers in their respective communities, working hard to be the change they wish to see in the world. 


The current hustle culture mentality has become a norm for these entrepreneurs. Their success poses the question; how do they manage the constant work they invest into their projects and the potential burnout that comes with this commitment? Continuous growth is crucial to their projects, but to avoid burning out, they have to be self-aware and realize when to take a break. We got to hear their strategies for maintaining a healthy balance firsthand during our hustle culture webinar and are excited to share their insights.


Panelist Spotlight
Shreyaa Venkat is a 2019 Digital4Good (D4G) winner and the creator of Nest4Us, a philanthropic platform that focuses on building communities of kindness, generosity, and social good. Nest4US’s mission is to make the world a better place through kindness. They recruit volunteers worldwide who are able to make great progress regarding societal issues and inspire others to think of solutions for the greater good. 


Riley Damiano is a 2019 D4G winner who founded the Blue Lollipop Project, a sweet way to fund pediatric cancer research. Damiano was so inspired by the story of Ty Louis Campbell, a young boy who had pediatric cancer and unfortunately passed away. He loved blue lollipops hence the name of the project which has now raised over $20,000 and given out 20,000 blue lollipops. They inspire young people to take part in the project and encourage them to be youth changemakers.


Olivia Rush, a 2019 D4G winner started her project of Dance to Make a Change, a nonprofit that gives victims of trauma a safe outlet where they can express themselves dancing. She started it after suffering a traumatic brain injury caused by a bullying incident. She loves to dance and uses it to help herself feel better and she shares this passion with others.


Charlie Lucas is a 2021 D4G winner along with his sister Hannah. Their NotOK app is a mental health and suicide prevention app that sends out a text to five of your closest contacts to tell them you aren’t okay and need support. The app will share your GPS location so trusted contacts can find you quickly during a mental health crisis. 


How are They so Driven?

A changemaker is a person who takes a great idea and makes it a reality. Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy job, but these young innovators were inspired to make changes that would benefit other people’s lives. In the pebble theory, one good deed ripples out and continues to impact others. These teens didn’t just want to help one person, they wanted to help thousands, so they got to work. They created their own nonprofits to help individuals feel better about themselves, to feel safer, or to get access to resources they need. 


“That's what I love about entrepreneurship. If it's not out there yet, I can put it out there,” Charlie said.


Passion Going Overboard
Sometimes a passion can go overboard and with social media, there is a constant need to share and update your audience. Finding a perfect work/life balance can be difficult. Hustle culture emphasizes nonstop action, but it’s also important to take breaks, reflect, and prioritize to ensure long-term success. Working hard is a skill but being aware of how close you are to burning out and having the wisdom to take a break are skills people often overlook. 


“There’s a specific point where that line gets crossed, and I think that’s where hustle culture becomes toxic,” Shreyaa said. 


What is Success?
The panelists shared similar thoughts on the topic of success, defining it as having mental stability and a life they are happy with. It’s not about extreme growth and a mansion; it's about being content with what you do and how you do it. Hard work and dedication are important, but the feeling of helping others and knowing their work is making a change in others’ lives is a success. 


“Titles and followers are material. Being healthy, happy, and with people I love is success,” Olivia said.


“Success isn’t about the end goal; it’s about enjoying the journey,” Riley said.


Follow D4G and #ICANHELP
As a student or inspiring entrepreneur, don’t forget: 

  1. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to pursue it. You might have the idea that changes lives. 
  2. Remember to take time for yourself when working on these projects. As Shreyaa said, “you can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself.”
  3. If you feel like you need help managing stress or need help with mental health, please talk to someone about it.


To view the 40-minute live stream and see the previous winners firsthand, click HERE!

Speaking of Digital4Good, did you know this is a yearly event? Digital4Good celebrates students who are using technology to make a positive impact in their community. We shine a light on student innovation and leadership to show the world what kids and teens can do with the right tools, education, and encouragement. The annual summit celebrates 10 student innovators who are using their resources to change the world. The winners get to work 1-on-1 in a mentorship with an expert in their field. Our mentors will help the winners learn skills such as marketing, business planning, social media plans, and so much more! 

Interested in being a mentor, partner, or sponsor for our innovative changemakers? You can sign up HERE for a mentor and HERE for a sponsor position. We’d love to have you on the team!

Learn more about Digital4Good HERE


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