In this month’s episode of Study the Solopreneur, I’m speaking with George Schmalstig. George is a motivational public speaker, youth mentor, and the founder & CEO of Filter Youth Development.
Filter is a non-profit organization designed to create real solutions that strengthen families.
I’m super excited to have George as my guest because I find his story fascinating and I appreciate his message.
George is an easy going guy with a passion for mentoring young people – helping them learn critical thinking skills to develop healthier relationships with themselves and others.
In our discussion, we talked about:
- What George did before becoming a solopreneur.
- The inspiration to create Filter.
- Words of wisdom and advice he’d give to someone looking to create a successful career for themselves once they’ve discovered their truth.
George’s energy in the video is dynamic and abundant. You can tell he loves what he’s doing – and those of you who watch and/or listen to it will be inspired to seek your passion and take action to do something about it.
While there were a few technical issues, we got them squared away. The nugget of wisdom here is:Sometimes, life throws curveballs your way. Instead of emotionally reacting to them, work with what you have, maintain a sense of humor and know that pesky snafus can provide golden opportunities to #becreative & stay real.Click To Tweet
Study the Solopreneur – Mentor, Motivate and Modify with George Schmalstig
Before becoming a solopreneur
George had been working in a boat factory – which wasn’t exactly a pleasant atmosphere. When a friend told him about a job opening in the juvenile justice system, he decided to take it.
He goes to explain more about his job description in detail in the video.
Throughout the following years, he worked in a few different juvenile detention centers and eventually started doing some work in prevention programs and after-school programs to help kids out of the system.
What inspired Filter
In 2011, after years of working with kids in the juvenile justice system, George took inventory of his skills and realized it was time to do something bigger. He decided to create a delinquency program for kids that would be appealing AND helpful to families.
He built Filter from scratch – built partnerships he needed to build with agencies in the community and basically just made things happen.
As for the motivation to move forward with his vision, George knew he would’ve lived with too many regrets had he not taken action.
In the video, he talks about the regrets we have later in life over the things we wish we’d done – but didn’t.
He also mentions that taking action was a big step for him since he’s a perfectionist – a character trait that can easily keep many of us from DOING as we overthink and overanalyze things…preventing us from moving forward.
I’m sure those of you reading this (or watching the video) can relate to thinking everything has to be lined up just right before turning your vision into reality.
George took inventory of his ideas, his experience, and his skills and realized that if he was going to do something truly great, he was going to have to act and know that the “hows” and details would line up – as long as he kept moving forward.
And sure enough – they did.
Filter is a program that George calls “the three M’s.” They include:
- Mentoring kids
- Motivating them to make positive changes
- Modifying their behavior through relationship building and skill building
But in addition to the cognitive behavior skills, Filter does something pretty unique that gives these kids something to work for (and look forward to).
The Dirt Bikes
George knew that kids wouldn’t necessarily get excited about the idea of being part of a juvenile delinquency program.
He explains that:
In order ‘not to be lame,’ Filter partnered with the National Youth Project using minibikes – and that is a Honda supported nonprofit of its own. What they do is they partner with local nonprofits and they provide us with Honda dirtbikes.
So we teach kids how to ride Honda dirtbikes – and every week those kids are earn ride time based on their grades, their behavior, and their effort towards completing goals and meeting behavior expectations. That’s how they earn ride time.”
In the video, he goes on to explain what a unique, innovating and engaging program it is (and I can certainly believe that).
The takeaway here is that:George stumbled into a job he didn't intentionally set out for, developed skills in the process, found his passion, created a vision - and turned all of that into a reality that positively impacts the lives of people who truly needed this.Click To Tweet
George gets into more of this aspect of Filter’s program at around the 13-minute mark in the video.
Advice and words of wisdom for aspiring solopreneurs
George Schmalstig, founder and CEO of Filter Youth Development, tours the country giving motivational talks to help today’s young people develop the skills necessary to be an asset to themselves, their families and society in general.
He created all of this because he realized that he needed to take his ideas and DO SOMETHING!
The advice George gives to you – to all of us is to just get busy doing (which happens to be the exact same advice my other Study the Solopreneur guests have shared and implemented).
That’s why they are where they are – in a position to share this advice with you in the hopes that you’ll make the decision to free your mind, live your truth and be creative.
George uses the phrase “do something” throughout the interview many times because it’s what made going out on his own and creating Filter possible.We're all capable of coming up with ideas - and we're all capable of either sitting on them, overcomplicating things or simply letting fear get in the way. Click To Tweet
Advice for public speaking
Within the 18-minute mark in the video, I asked George if he’d always wanted to be a public speaker (something that usually scares the majority of the population – myself included) and his answer was surprising.
Considering that he seems so comfortable with it these days, you’d figure he set out to give speeches from the beginning…
…but in truth, that wasn’t the case.
In fact, he admits he created excuses to avoid speaking in front of his classmates when he was younger. He likely would have never imagined himself not only engaging in this activity later on in life – but truly thriving in it.
When George says just do something and that things will line up as they should (including obstacles and challenges that can lead to self-awareness and strength), he means that if you just move forward in the direction of your truth – you’ll discover the tools necessary to help you along your path.
These tools can be things like:
- Meeting the right people
- Ideas that sprout other related ideas
- Opportunities to learn and practice new skills (like public speaking – or in my case, creating videos)
Just make the decision to get in touch with what’s inside of you. Make self-awareness your priority and then get busy doing something unique, innovative, creative and beneficial with it.
George Schmalstig’s story is inspiring – and yours can be too.
I hope this interview brought something amazing to your life…and I’d love to hear your thoughts about everything discussed here.
To get in touch with George and find his work, visit his website (currently in the finishing stages of competition) at Georgeschmalstig.com
Enjoy the video…
…and until next time, take care.