I manage an online community for people who are innovating in education.
I do A LOT of things in a given day... I manage the design and development (aka programming) of our website, I help my team run the community and plan outreach events, I'm responsible for budgets and getting additional funding, building the vision of what we're doing and making sure we're bringing it to life. I go to and speak at conferences. And email, I answer a lot of emails.
Always be learning. I was managing a marketing department before I had an undergrad degree. One of my mentors (with only an Associates degree) is the president of a national marketing association. It can be done but it's a hard route. You have to be committed to learning and doing your job well, even when you don't want to. I tapped mentors, my bosses, continuing education and other resources to help me build skills. I also did a lot of studying on my own to learn about the things I was doing.
Here's the first step for high school students
Be curious and be resilient. Curiosity: your interests will change, especially if you expose yourself to a lot of things. My career has gone in many different and interesting directions because I kept asking questions (of myself and others) and trying to find more information. Resilience: When something doesn't work out, give yourself time to mourn it, then pick yourself up, wipe your knees off and try something else. There are many opportunities out there, but you have to keep finding them.
"I had ideas that weren't the norm in my jobs that people would tell me I couldn't do. Instead, I realized that I should surround myself w/ people who would encourage me to experiment."
I found people who believed in me and gravitated toward them. I also was always looking for people who knew things or did things I thought were amazing and was fearless about asking them to get coffee with me. You'd be amazed at how willing some people are to share their experience with you. Not everyone will, but keep asking.
I've been unemployed a number of times, and I paid for all of my schooling out of my own pocket. Be thoughtful about your decisions and how they'll pay off. And make a point of learning about finance, it'll help a TON in both life and business!
I have ADD that's pretty severe. Meds can help, but building coping skills to help you organize is the best. For school, check out the book "Learning Outside the Lines".
I was a serious wild child in my teens and 20s. My lesson, the people you party with are not your friends. You need real friends and family to help you get through it. And you need to be willing to face the demons that made you an addict.