A Noble Future: Retrocat Media Speaks About Attaining Success

A Noble Future: Retrocat Media Speaks About Attaining Success

Retrocat Media LogoThe following guest post was penned by Creative Director Joe Lusby of Retrocat Media, a Little Rock-based media production company. Along with fellow co-founder Lukas Deem, Lusby was a guest speaker with the Noble 101 courses at eStem High School, speaking about how to reach success.

As always, visiting the students of Noble Impact leaves us excited for the future and motivated to do more of what matters. These students are bright, talented, and of course, surrounded with top tier educators and mentors (#ChadRules). We had the great pleasure of speaking with a few students from the Noble program about what we think is key to building a successful future.

Something we have always believed in is building yourself to be the best you can be, and success will follow. Success is a routine. Success is habit. Success is not an act, but a ritual. We talked to the Noble students about their dream goals and what they can do today, and every day, to achieve those goals.

Joe Lusby Maps Out Goal Strategy
The Retrocat Media team prepared for our guest speaking day with a goal-mapping session.

Our steps to success are as follows: Know your goals. Take one step today. REPEAT.

Goals will change and so will the steps. If you are constantly and consciously aware of your goals and you are constantly and consciously taking steps to achieve those goals, you WILL succeed. #moneybackguarantee

The students of Noble Impact dream big. We spoke with dozens of students about whom and what they dreamed of becoming. We encouraged the students to imagine who they could become and to think without limits. We also encouraged them to let their passions guide their future.

As expected from the students of Noble, we were astounded by how many students not only knew exactly what they wanted, but already knew what they had to do in order to make it a reality. (A task that is difficult even as an “adult”.)

Joe Lusby Breakdances at Noble Impact
I did a bit of breakdancing for the Noble Impact scholars.

From a young age many of us are pushed into career paths the seek status or wealth and put passion to the wayside. So often, passions seem to be hobbies and free time, while “work” dominates the day to day. We believe that work and passion should be one in the same.

We spent our time discussing with these young minds about becoming the person you want to become and not the job you want to have. We believe following your dreams is about creating the lifestyle you want to live, and then making active and conscious steps to create that lifestyle.

Joe Lusby Speaks at Noble Impact
Spending time with Noble Impact students was as inspiring for me as I hope it was for them.

In the end, getting to spend time with the students of Noble leaves us inspired. Inspired to pursue our dreams as passionately as we can. Inspired to seek help and ask questions. Inspired to surround ourselves with like minded others reaching for the impossible.

As always, we leave Noble wondering who really made the impact.

A Craftsman Since Birth: Julian Kresse’s Story

A Craftsman Since Birth: Julian Kresse’s Story

Julian Kresse Forge
Julian and friends forging
This post was republished from Medium, where Noble Impact 201 scholar and teen craftsman Julian Kresse blogs about his passion for knifemaking. Follow Julian on Twitter and Instagram.

I have always been a creative child but it was not until I started karate and got to choose the katana sword as my weapon that I knew I wanted to be a blacksmith.

As a child I was always a creative. My whole life, I wanted to know how things worked. I would take broken radios apart to understand how these machines worked. Taking apart my first radio was driven by curiosity to understand how everything in the world works. I found it fascinating that something we use in everyday life is so simple to operate, yet so complex on the inside.

I also had a knack for solving puzzles that were meant for kids ages 16 and up, when I was only four years old; setting things where they needed to be; and building brick forts out of the scrap bricks that we had in our backyard — I believe these were all steps towards my interests. Having the passion to build, create, and learn these fascinations carried me to where I am now.

Julian Kresse BlacksmithNext came karate. After taking karate for 4 to 5 years, students get an opportunity to choose a weapon. The “katana” was the weapon I chose, and it’s the one that brought me to where I am now. After doing a little bit of research on the Japanese sword, I became fascinated by the beauty of the sword and the perfection of the design. Going back to my old habits, I started to learn how this amazing sword was created. I was utterly fascinated by the amount of time and skill that went into creating just one sword.

That’s how I began to understand what I desire to do: blacksmithing.

I set up a forge in my backyard and started to create items, like hooks or spatulas. Forging is the process of making or shaping an object, such as a metal object, by heating it in a fire or furnace and beating or hammering it. My forge helped me to learn the tools of blacksmithing, but the desire to make knives and swords kept ticking in my mind.

So, I started to look for homemade knives online, and this large world of custom knives was introduced to me. These people were creating wonderful pieces of art and design was wonderfully crafted and I knew this is where I belonged.

Custom Wood Handle Set
Custom wood handles done by Julian Kresse for a client’s beloved knife set
I started to spend hours working on designs, and I would even spend all of my money on knives. I would make a list of things that I liked about the knife and things I didn’t like.

I went through hundreds of designs until I started to come up with designs that I could see becoming real products. I started to forge knives and axes out of old railroad spikes. This was fun and helpful, but I was ready to start making products that were at a very close tolerance. I wanted to start to sell my creations. The only problem was before I sent something out into the world I wanted to know whatever it was, it was done to the best of my ability. Quality is important to me.

I started to save up for tools; I also started to ask everyone I knew to see if they had tools that they did not use anymore. I am starting to get a collection of small hand tools and a few cheap power tools. I am currently saving up for bigger tools like a belt grinder and a drill press. I am also learning programs like SolidWorks so I can to start to learn how to use a CNC machine.

I know I want to do this for a living. I am a craftsman, and I want to make my product be the best it can be. Hopefully my passion can flow through my designs.

A knife made by Julian Kresse
A knife made by Julian Kresse
A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

A Hobby for Storytelling: Bethanie Gourley’s Story

This post was republished from Medium, where Noble Impact 201 scholar Bethanie Gourley blogs about her life, thoughts, and inspirations. Follow Bethanie on Twitter and check out her digital portfolio.

Five years of my life were spent as an only child. Imagination played a major role in sustaining my happiness as a child. I spent every moment either turning mud into soup or creating a storyline with my Polly Pockets. The majority of my first memories consisted of a VHS video camera pointed towards my chunky toddler face. However, this is not where I found my passion for film.

Around the age of 10, my little sister Erica received a barbie doll for her birthday. This wasn’t an everyday barbie doll; it had a built-in video camera. My experience with film began by chasing my sister around our house with a camera/child’s toy. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. This became more of a gift for me, instead of my sister. My expertise at the time was compiling scenes of dialogue between different stuffed animals. Thus, I recorded with a video camera, inside of a barbie.


“My Story,” a short film about my life and passion for film.

However, it wasn’t until I received my first iPhone 4 in the 7th grade when I became intrigued by video. My friends and I would film music videos and funny sketches on my iPhone that I edited on any free editing app I could find. We would post these pointless short videos to Youtube and get excited when they reached a total of 5 views.

“You have never made it, with each success must come a never and more invictus goal.” — Casey Neistat

Recently, my spirit for video has been redefined. Producing short movies, allows me to express my feelings, stories, and experiences. I view it as a time capsule I am able to rewatch every day.

I have discovered a new form of filming that I am confident in, storytelling. Logistics and equipment do not fuel my passion for film. I am inspired by the format available to share stories and experiences. I love capturing the environment that surrounds me and my experiences through film. I don’t think most people realize how much video and film surrounds and affects our decisions every day.
I want to be a part of that influence.

Passion: How Important Is It For Young Entrepreneurs?

Passion: How Important Is It For Young Entrepreneurs?

StartupDad LogoThis post is part of our StartupDad Series, in which David Moody — father of a teen entrepreneur and founder of the StartupDad blog — explores the trials, tribulations, joys, and achievements that young entrepreneurs and their friends and family face.

I’ll save you the suspense. The answer is “VERY IMPORTANT.” But what exactly does that mean for a young entrepreneur who is 13-23 years old? How does their passion manifest itself in what they do and how they think? How can they have a passion for something they know little about at that age?

Our experience with our own teen entrepreneur is very informative. Joshua started tearing apart McDonald’s Happy Meals when he was really young. This could have been viewed as destructive behavior, and we could have made him stop. However, his destruction of these toys was more like disassembly than tearing them apart. He didn’t smash them unless it was his only option, because his goal was to learn how they worked. He did this, sometimes to our dismay, with lots of items including phones (wish he would have limited this to our old phones), cameras, speakers, computers, and electronics, in general. This activity, combined with the Internet research he did on his own as he got older, was how he learned about electronics, printed circuit boards, and power supplies, and it’s also how he learned how to program software to control the electronics.

That is what I’m talking about when I say passion is important for young entrepreneurs. At a young age, with limited other skill sets and resources, their passions manifest themselves in what they spend their time doing. When Joshua had free time to do whatever he wanted, he chose building or researching product development. That’s when we knew he had the necessary passion to be an entrepreneur.

I had a passion for sports when I was young. I started playing organized sports when I was 8 years old but spent far more time outside of team practice trying to hone my skills. While it was fun, my passion didn’t match my natural ability, and when I got to college, I realized I had reached the limits of my natural talent. However, all that time spent on my passion for sports did not go to waste. In the process of trying to be the best athlete I could be, I learned so many other things from sports, including:

  • how to work in, and lead, a team
  • how to work with people you don’t necessarily like
  • work ethic
  • sacrifice
  • loyalty
  • discipline
  • game planning
  • how to perform under pressure
  • what my limits appear to be and how to push myself beyond them, if necessary

While I didn’t realize I needed them, all of these are critical soft skills. I’ve used them every day for decades now. Young entrepreneurs MUST learn these soft skills as well. So, I had a passion for something that I didn’t have the natural talent to pursue at some point, but, in pursuing my passion, I developed these soft skills that are the core of who I am and what I do for a living. I got what I needed, even when I didn’t know I needed it. Funny how that happens.

The final point here is that passion can’t be taught. As parents, it is our job to expose our kids to a variety of experiences so that they can sort out for themselves the things for which they have both natural talent and great passion. Joshua was a gifted athlete, but he did not have a passion for it. He played a variety of organized sports from age 5 through his sophomore year in high school. He enjoyed sports and, like me, learned many things from the experience. However, he seldom practiced outside of an organized team practice. That was a sign that he didn’t have the passion to pursue sports long term. Remember the 10,000-hours-to-mastery theory? His passion for developing products eventually overshadowed his attraction to sports. He dropped out of sports to pursue entrepreneurship. That appears to have been a good decision for him.

THE TAKEAWAY: Passion without talent will only take you so far. Talent without passion is unfulfilling. Young people, and especially young entrepreneurs, have to try out lots of activities to help them identify those for which they have a passion so strong that they will push themselves to develop the necessary level of talent to be successful. Most people, it seems, never discover this intersection of passion and talent for themselves. For entrepreneurs, finding this intersection is imperative for success, because the passion required to sustain the effort is great, and the skill set is vast.