Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert, and acclaimed speaker. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, he is renowned for his documentary TV series (A&E) that followed his ground-breaking work with teens.
He is the author of the national bestseller “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination“, and was listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.
Josh has also just written a new book called, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans
*The following is a summary of the interview with Josh. To hear his full answers to each of these questions below please go to the YouTube video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wBkJWDBRvk
- Josh, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
Absolutely not! What was on my mind the most when I was younger was survival when I wasn’t self-sabotaging myself. I was a foster child who had been hurt by adults so I didn’t trust anyone. Thus, helping others just wasn’t on my mind. Eventually, though, the adults in my life who did not give up on me made me feel some value in myself and make me think that I needed to do something to help others with what I’ve learned.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
A teacher approached me while I was acting like a clown one day in high school and told me I was a gifted communicator and should join the debate team. So, I joined DECA, a leadership organization. There I found that many of the things that I had been doing as a teen that annoyed the heck out of adults could be my gift and asset if I could just learn to fine tune them and use them appropriately. It felt like I had a superpower! Now I became self-motivated. I became so passionate that I became state president of DECA. As state president I was asked to go around and speak to schools about DECA. While I was giving these speeches teachers would approach me and ask me to come back and to speak to their classes. One caring adult made a huge difference in my life!
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
At least four times a year I wonder if I’m making a difference and have self-doubt about whether I’m any good. Self-doubt is just part of doing what I do. You can’t help but to always wonder if you’re even getting through to the kids. Now that I’m older though, I can still hear the words of the adults, who cared about me, in my head, even though I initially dismissed them when I was young and still naïve. So, that’s what keeps me going when I wonder if I’m making a difference.
- I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
Honestly, one caring adult made all the difference in my life. If it wasn’t for that one caring adult I’d either be dead or in jail. In addition, finding an outlet for your passions and energy that is positive rather than an annoyance to others is paramount.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
They need just one caring adult that will look pass their annoying behavior, disrespect and dismissive behavior and what they currently are for what they could be. They need someone with high expectations who is firm, loving and patient.
- What would you tell a teen who was struggling?
I tell them about times I struggled so I could mirror their heartache so they will open up to me about their troubles. I would tell them that this will pass and then try to hook them up to some kind of help like a school counselor so they can get the help they need in talking through this rather than acting out through this.
- Josh, what else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
Just wrote a great book called, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans. There are great strategies in here to become that one caring adult that our youth needs. This book develops hope and super practical strategies to deal with those moments when you want to give up when dealing with teens.
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
Thanks for your time Josh and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!