TKS Life

Self Starter Summer with Ammielle

Are you determined to make the most out of your summer? Finding a place to start is often the hardest part, so we got you covered with five mindsets that you can develop to have a self starter summer. Shared by 16 year-old TKS Toronto Innovator Ammielle at the MyBlueprint Self Starter Summer event, these mindsets are a great foundation to build your success off of this summer.

Ammielle is passionate about sustainable development through the intersection of technology and biology. Currently, she is on the team at EMM (Ending Maternal Mortality), an initiative to prevent extreme blood loss after birth. On top of her work at EMM, her most recent project is working to make bio printers more mainstream and create new applications for the technology. A published writer, Ammielle has been featured in Forbes, and has created her own portfolio of content including YouTube videos and articles.

Her resume might seem intimidating, but you too are capable of doing incredible things like Ammielle. So, ready, set, go!

Figure it out

One of the most critical mindsets you can develop is the ability to figure things out. When you can figure things out, you can work with greater autonomy, overcome challenges, and feel more like you’re in the driver seat of your own success. When faced with a new challenge, being able to figure it out means that you relentlessly pursue a solution using your judgement, strategic thinking, and all the resources at your disposal.

At EMM, Ammielle does work surrounding legal development. As a 16 year-old Canadian, she is no expert in foreign laws, but her ability to figure things out enables her to succeed. The first step is to learn the basics and become well-versed in the topic by using resources such as the internet. With this foundation of knowledge, you can then approach experts for guidance on how to apply the foundational knowledge to your efforts.

This summer, find something you want to learn, something ambitious that seems nearly unattainable. Set your objectives, and then figure out that pathway to achieve those goals. As long as you strive to constantly figure things out, your potential is limitless.

Build, build, build

If you wanted to learn how to build a motor, what might be the best way to do it? For many, taking it apart and building it from scratch would teach us more than any lecture ever could. It’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of planning, researching, and thinking, but in the end, by taking action and building things is where you’ll get results.

Not only will you learn through application and critical thinking, but you will also start to build out a portfolio that proves your credibility more than any mark on a test could. Being able to show others what you’ve built, and learning to communicate it effectively will set you apart.

Schools tend to offer close-ended projects that end up locked up from the public. By building your own projects, you can experience abundantly more learning, and share your work with the world!

Fail fast

Failure is often viewed as a bad thing, but with the right lens, is a gateway to growth. When you build projects, they do not need to be perfect, especially early on; instead, get your work out, get feedback, reflect, and improve. This iterative process will help evolve your abilities, and refine your skills. Over time, each new project will improve and your bar for success will increase.

It’s important to embrace failure. Being able to take critical feedback and develop anti-fragility is essential for growth. If others think they are able to add value, they are often more than happy to offer some feedback and suggestions for improvement. Not being afraid of failure and seeking these perspectives will make you more resilient and confident.


Ask good questions

It’s important to realize that everything we do comes down to people. Every business, project, and idea ultimately comes down to the people behind them. As such, one of the best ways to learn is not necessarily from a book, but by talking to people. By asking good questions, you can extract valuable information from people who live and breathe a specific topic.

So, what is a good question? A good question is not something you could have looked up or figured out on your own. There might not be just one answer to a good question; it challenges the respondent to think critically and use their judgement to formulate the best answer. Try focusing on ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions and see what style works best for you.

Asking questions also demonstrates humility, which is an important character trait when building relations with others. Be vulnerable; know it’s ok to admit you don’t know everything, especially since no one does! It makes you seem more human, and others are more likely to relate to you and offer support accordingly.

Set high standards

School has an interesting system, it defines every expectation for you, and sets a limit to how much you can succeed… 100%. It is important to set your own bar for success, one that exceeds the limits school might impose, and set high standards for yourself. When you look at CEOs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, their aura of high standards set them on a trajectory of success, and resonates throughout their entire companies. While it’s important to build often and fail fast, it’s equally as important to do everything to the best of your ability and stretch your limits.

Community is also a critical aspect of developing a high standards mindset. Your environment rubs off on you, and you start to become the people you work most closely with. At TKS, Ammielle is surrounded by other like-minded, driven individuals who all strive to succeed. This environment creates a culture of high standards, and collectively pushes everyone to do their best possible work. As the saying goes, you are the sum of your 5 closest friends; make them count!