WeWork’s Global Summit: ‘Believe in yourself enough to take a step’

Jaden Smith, Issa Rae, Lilly Singh, and Adam Rippon inspire the crowd at the annual event

At WeWork’s Global Summit, held this week in Los Angeles, team members from around the world came together to gain a better understanding of our business, a deeper connection to each other, and a strong sense of personal fulfillment. Employees attended one of four tracks featuring inspiring speakers across a range of disciplines—from television to figure skating and culinary arts—and left feeling eager to apply what they heard to further their own personal and professional growth. Here are just a few of our favorite quotes.

“Make It Happen” featured Jaden Smith, actor and co-founder of the eco-friendly water brand JUST and its nonprofit arm JUST Impact; film and TV producer Brian Grazer; and Maxie McCoy, author of You’re Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way.

Jaden Smith: “I always get scared right before something awesome happens. Like right before I go on stage, speak in front of a group of people, design something, or launch a company. My dad loves being scared. The thing I’ve learned from my parents [actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith] is you get scared right before you experience the most amazing thing you’ve ever done.”

“The thing I’ve learned from my parents is you get scared right before you experience the most amazing thing you’ve ever done,” says actor and entrepreneur Jaden Smith.

Brian Grazer: I grew up dyslexic, and I found that I could learn much more by human interaction—by looking at people, being present, and being genuinely interested in learning. So for more than 35 years, every two weeks I meet with someone who’s an expert in anything other than entertainment.”

Maxie McCoy: “You’re not looking for the end destination. That’s what we think we’re looking for when we’re trying to figure it all out—but that’s not it. It’s direction. It’s believing in ourselves enough to take a step and have the path open up while we’re stepping, not before.”

“Team Awesome” featured restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson; actor, writer, director, and producer Issa Rae and Benoni Tagoe, business development director of Issa Rae Productions; and Aaron Hurst, co-founder and CEO of Imperative and founder of the Taproot Foundation.

Marcus Samuelsson: “Entrepreneurship is about how high are you willing to dream, how low are you willing to go, and can you execute?”

Issa Rae: “I like to hire people who have a specific lane, who do something very well. I hire a lot of people who are smarter than me. If I’m the smartest person in my company, then my company will go nowhere.”

Benoni Tagoe: “Sometimes you may not have the skill set; sometimes you may not have the talent. But you can always have the curiosity. With curiosity, as long as you’re trying and figuring things out, you’re allowed to make mistakes.”

Aaron Hurst: “There are three sources of fulfillment: relationships, impact, and growth. Freelancers struggle to find relationships with coworkers, and that’s why they work at WeWork. Impact is the perception that work matters to others beside ourselves. And if we stop growing, we start to atrophy. This is the main complaint from people in the workforce. What happens when someone who is unfulfilled at work goes home or back into society? It’s a ripple effect.”

“Superpower You” featured Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon; actor and YouTube star Lilly Singh; Endeavor CMO Bozoma Saint John; and Zachary Wood, author of Uncensored: My Life and Uncomfortable Conversations at the Intersection of Black and White America.

Adam Rippon: “My superpower is my ability to believe in myself.”

“My superpower is my ability to believe in myself,” says figure skater Adam Rippon.

Lilly Singh: “Failing at something is not a waste of time—it’s an essential part of finding success. As long as you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, nothing is a waste of time. Evaluate what you consider a waste of time.”

Bozoma Saint John: “As long as you are celebrating yourself, it allows others to do the same.”

Zachary Wood: “One way to have a greater impact is to ask people questions that tell you more about themselves.”

“Student for Life” featured Jonathan Mildenhall, CEO of marketing consultancy firm TwentyFirstCenturyBrand; award-winning journalist and author Lisa Ling; and Jane Melvin, founder of Strategic Innovations Group.

Jonathan Mildenhall: “Purpose-driven companies outperform all of their competitors on pretty much every single metric.”

Lisa Ling: “As a woman, I’ve felt like I’ve gotten every job because of the work I do and my work ethic. But there’s still a tremendous amount of gender-bias in the workplace. That is really undeniable. As a woman you’re not seen in the same way; you’re not perceived as having the same amount of value as your male colleagues.”

Jane Melvin: “Ideas appear in the time between active work and rest. Preserve that time. Be precious with it.”

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