Think finding your passion is overrated? Meet Amber Rae and Nathaniel Koloc. They are determined to change your mind.
If you ask for their help, don’t expect a list of interest-based questions. They aren’t trying to figure out what you like to do. Their approach is more intrusive – perhaps a little uncomfortable – but radically honest. With a simple “Why?”, they bypass job titles and cut to to the heart of your motivation, believing that your values say more about you than a formal name plate.
Amber Rae, digitally known as Hey Amber Rae, reiterates this belief on her widely-circulated blog, stating:
No one cares what you do. They care why you do it.
If Amber Rae asks Why, Nathaniel Koloc asks How you accomplish the Why. Using tactics from Simon Sinek’s popular “Start With Why” book, along with their own personal strategies, the working duo is building a structured approach to realizing and channeling potential in the new school they’ve dreamed up, The Bold Academy.
Born out of the realization that too many college students are carrying diplomas that speak nothing to their true potential, The Bold Academy seeks to fill the gap that college may not be fulfilling for some. Purpose-focused and confidence-building, the Academy teaches students the skills needed to make ideas happen or to gain momentum toward ambitious goals.
“I can’t stand it when someone is full of energy and ready to lend that energy to making the world a better place but can’t because they can’t find the right outlet,” says Koloc. “The barriers could be societal or personal, but either way something needs to be done about it.”
Timing couldn’t be better. A recent New York Times op-ed dubbed this generation the “Go-Nowhere Generation”. Boasting a 16 percent unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year-olds, our stagnant youth could certainly use a kick starter.
The Bold Academy, however, is not a vocational training program. Nor is it summer enrichment.
“The Bold Academy is the culmination of all the work I’ve done since graduation in both figuring out my own path and in helping others to claim the lives they are meant to live with The Passion Experiment,” says Amber Rae.
To better understand the Bold Academy, it helps to know the background of its founders. Rae and Koloc are living examples of the can-do philosophy they preach. Though they are only in their 20s, their extensive experience and passion place them at a unique position to lead a generation of self-starters. Through her Passion Experiment, Amber Rae has coached hundreds of potential entrepreneurs, convincing them to quit their jobs and start companies. She also publishes stories of those who take the route less traveled on Revolution.is.
She describes herself not in characteristics but in the world she envisions, one “where human potential is not governed by what we’re told we can and cannot do”. Nathaniel Koloc, the other half of this dynamic duo, co-founded ReWork, a start-up dedicated to connecting young talent to meaningful work. Through working in the world of social impact and sustainability consulting, he has developed strategy for identifying talent and placing individuals in work that inspires them. As a 2011 Unreasonable Institute Fellow, he learned how to turn this idea into a business and is building it now in its inaugural year.
With the Bold Academy, Rae and Koloc join forces, along with a team of three others, to place a new emphasis on purpose. The Bold curriculum integrates this purpose with effectiveness, through six sections: self-awareness, integrity, confidence, risk-taking, resourcefulness, and strategy. The Academy does not emphasize one specific domain of skill or career path; instead, it takes a holistic approach. The month-long program begins July 1 and consists of workshops, skill-building sessions, and extra-curricular adventures in Boulder, Colorado.
Since releasing applications last week, the Bold Academy has already received a significant amount of interest, despite no other advertising than social media. This is exciting for Rae and Koloc, but the scope of their undertaking can also be overwhelming.
“I’m just so freaking excited to have this take place, it can be hard to just take a deep breath and do the next thing required to make it happen,” says Koloc.
In its inaugural year, The Bold Academy’s success will be measured by the feedback from its 24 participants (12 boys, 12 girls). “We want them to feel an intense burst of clarity…as well as a surge of confidence propelling them into action as they leave,” say Rae and Koloc.
Ultimately, there are bigger plans. Depending on how the summer goes, Rae and Koloc plan to refine the curriculum so it can be replicated across the country. Another future goal is to make scholarships available so more can afford the experience. Current all-inclusive tuition is $7,500.
“We envision thousands of students each summer going through the Bold Academy on campuses and in cities from coast to coast,” say Rae and Koloc.
For now, the team is focused on building the Academy’s foundation and selecting a talented group of students for this July. Until then, the team admits there is a lot of work. But what they lack in age, they make up for in conviction.
“One of the only things in this world that I’m sure of is that we all possess massive amounts of potential that, once unleashed, can make any dream, any vision, a reality,” says Amber.