Each of my young adult clients is unique – but I start EVERY coaching workplan in the same place. We start with several weeks of facilitated self-assessment.
I find that many young people of this generation operate with a “self-image hall of funhouse mirrors” – an elusive, ever-shifting set of fragmented, muddled, and often misleading identity elements. And this identity stew makes it hard for them to live with confidence or resilience.
Self-knowledge is a common problem in our nutty human existence, and sorting out one’s identity has likely been a coming-of-age thing for generations. But I think young people now live with a rolling identity crisis because there are just so many… variables … and voices!!
Young peoples’ heads are packed with the voices of family, friends, educators, institutions, role models, influencers, opinionated news and entertainment industries, and the incessant flow of social media. They navigate a mix of influences that are all over the board, often inconsistent or even in conflict with each other. And not all of them are additive or aligned with life success principles.
Every day they sort doubtfully through their identity on like a dozen different life topics du jour…
Who they think they are.
Who they wish they were.
Who they think they should be.
Who other people think they are.
Who other people think they should be.
Who they want others to think they are.
Who they even believe or trust about all of the above.
And the self-image moments that lead to feelings of uncertainty, embarrassment and even guilt WAY dominate over those that lead to feelings of capability or confidence.
And NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT IT. Certainly no one grabs them lovingly by the face and helps them to think it through.
So my coaching program starts with several weeks of facilitated self-assessment. We drag all those conflicted, conflicting identity pieces out of the ether. We capture them in specific language, to be arranged, considered and compared. We talk about them at length, attempting to see them in perspective, give words to them and sort through them.
Every time I do this with a client, they quickly warm up to talking about these things with relief (sometimes tears) and gratitude, to GET IT OUT ON THE TABLE and have someone help them to see it and make sense of it all.
Once a young person gets some sense of mastery over who they are, who they want to be, and why, the rest of their journey flows much easier. If you know a young person who is struggling to find their way, consider offering to simply help them think through who they are and what they want. You might be surprised how that takes off.
Anyone who would like to connect with me or explore these topics more is invited to visit my website at www.otoolecoaching.com.