You’ve likely heard the stereotypes about millennials: They’re a generation of entitled misfits. They lack a strong work ethic. They’re only interested in activities that offer immediate gratification.
You want the truth? This generation isn’t going to wreck the world. They’re going to save it.
If millennials feel entitled to anything, it’s the opportunity to be passionately engaged in a vision they can pour their entire heart and soul into. Show them what success looks like, then get out of the way and watch what awesome looks like.
I’d like to introduce you to Dirk Bak, one of nine millennials I interviewed who have faced and overcome significant obstacles that stood in the way of their goals and dreams. It’s a privilege to share their inspiring life stories with you here.
Click here to see all the Millennials Rising stories.
Dirk Bak, born in 1978, is part owner and president of Minneapolis-based SDQ Ltd., a family-owned holding company for businesses ranging from janitorial services to corporate facility management to real estate investment properties.
My seventeen months from hell started on a beautiful May day in 2008. As former chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Minnesota, I was at a high-powered lunch with the editor-in-chief of The Economist, the former chairman of Cargill, a few other business bigwigs and my dad, who had once been a top executive at Medtronic.
I was twenty-nine and feeling pretty good about myself. When Romney was in town, which was often, I accompanied him on meet-and-greets with local executives. I was president of the building maintenance company my mom had founded and a freshly minted law school graduate. My wife, Evonne, and I had a five-year-old son, Jaxon, and a two-year-old daughter, Liv, and she was pregnant again. If it sounds like I had a lot going on, yeah, I was running. Hard. I’d get four hours of sleep a night and hop back on the treadmill.
Lunch had barely started when my phone rang. I kicked it to voicemail. It rang a second time, then a third. I was a bit agitated. I excused myself from the table, checked the phone, and saw Evonne’s number. Now I was really agitated; I had asked her not to call during important meetings. I called back and said, “What is going on?” She said, “I’m in labor and we (more…)