5 questions with Brook Turner


March 18 2015

Brook Turner is the CEO of Zeal – a youth organisation dedicated to helping young Kiwis discover and express their creativity. He has over 16 years youth work experience and has taught leadership development skills to youth workers in Asia, the Pacific and Australia. Brook was a speaker at the 2015 National Young Leaders Day for secondary students in Palmerston North on 16 March. He encouraged the over 800 in attendance to follow their passion and ignite their creative spark.

“A creative spark is like a match that you have to strike and take action with it,” says Turner.

As always, you have an opportunity to ask questions on the day – we were inundated with questions through Twitter and text. We put your questions to Brook.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were 17?

“I wish I knew that every individual has a unique contribution to make to this world, and that comparing yourself to others needs to be exchanged for self-belief and self-discovery. Self-belief combined with a hard work ethic makes all the difference.”

What was one of the biggest ‘roadblocks’ you faced on your journey?

“Fear of academic failure. Fear paralyses people. No matter how talented you are you have to decide to confront your fear. For me this was academic failure and I had to confront it. I entered formal education when I was 28 and now have three qualifications.”

Could you please elaborate on your statement of ‘you only achieve big things when you hang out with big people’?

“You don’t grow if you surround yourself with people who are the same size as you. You need to find people who have more vision, more experience, more education and learn everything you can. Then you will grow.”

Was there a dream in particular that you failed at that made you determined to encourage and inspire others?

“I once ran a nationwide event that failed miserably and lost $40,000. I felt a lot of shame about it but managed to survive financially and learned that even the lowest low is not that low.”

What if your parents are completely against your dreams? Do you listen to your heart or to your parents?

“Your parents don’t own you. They will not ultimately live with your choices – you will. If you do what they want, you could lose your passion by living for someone else’s purpose. You must follow your heart. As quoted in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness – ‘You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.’ “



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