The Success Diaries: Beth Schmidt

To my younger self,

Life is truly as simple as it feels today loving your Dalmatian puppy, playing in the sand and riding your bike. Find the people you really value in life and love them and find the things you really love doing in life and do them. Make time for these people and activities like you do now, everyday.

  • Things don’t have to be hard to be good, but don’t miss something great just because it could be difficult.

Whether it is hard work or tough conversations, sometimes the greatest things also are difficult.

  • Accolades and achievements are fleeting but making someone’s life better is a feeling that sticks with you.

People will remember how you made them feel, and you will remember how you made them feel too.

  • Potential is important, but never confuse potential with reality, especially in relationships.

How someone treats you today is how they are probably going to treat you tomorrow and the next day and the day after that too.

  • Big dreams lead to big goals, but achieving a big goal starts with a backwards plan and small, continuous steps towards it.

Becoming an expert in something actually takes thousands of hours.

  • See what people are choosing for their lives and respect it.

Don’t make them climb your mountain when they need to climb their own.

  • Go face first into really hard things.

Feel the fear and then do it anyway.

  • Never apologize for the things you really want in life.

Following the beat of your own drum is the most attractive thing of all.

  • Don’t let little riffs and tiffs become big ones.

Always identify your part in something and take ownership to make it better.

  • Being feels better than doing.

Reconnect to the things that make you feel.

  • Invest in your family.
  • Treat your body well.

Beth Schmidt is the Founder and Executive Director of, a non-profit organization dedicated to sending low-income students to high-quality out-of-school programs. She is a former Teach for America Corps Member and graduated from Middlebury College. She holds a Masters in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University. 

Beth is a Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellow, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and was celebrated twice on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list – both in 2013 and 2014 for her work in education. She was honored by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Shaper”, and attended the 2014 Meeting in Davos, participating on the International Business Council to discuss the international youth unemployment crisis.


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