I propose that we can help our “adulting challenged” young people — individually and collectively — by using language that would mitigate the embarrassment and shame that can accompany a young person’s difficulties. If we do that, we can encourage them to attend to their problems directly, and find their way more quickly and effectively, by engaging with people who might be helpful to them. And we will ease their emotional pain as well.
My objective in this content is to call attention to this problem with negative language and introduce the expression “lost in place” with the recommending that we adopt it broadly as more compassionate and constructive language that can help us to young people to find their way.
I genuinely sympathize with young people who are feeling discouraged, but I propose that there are LOTS of ways young people can improve their success when job hunting.”Early career” job hunters can significantly improve their chances of finding satisfying employment that will give them financial and career security if they consider and do the following…
People ask if my coaching approach is comparable to therapy. My response is — for sure not. I am super respectful of therapists and therapy practices. But I am happy to compare and contrast between my coaching approach and the work of a licensed therapist.
Let’s help young adults to not be embarrassed about their story, and to be ready to introduce themselves with their entire life truth on display without apology. With practice, they can turn their life stories into powerful assets that help them along their way rather than holding them back.
Sometimes young people have a REALLY hard time figuring out what they want to do for a living. This “what to do with my life?” dilemma is not necessarily associated with deep-seated adulting challenges, neuroses, or negative behaviors. Often these are well-adjusted young people, raised with a good work ethic and role models, who just struggle with making decisions or taking actions in this regard.
Every time a young person steps up to do something that makes them anxious – whether it goes well and they celebrate the win, or it goes badly and they fail but don’t die — it gets easier to step up the next time with increased confidence and even optimism.
One of the most important lessons I learned (and then taught) as a manager is that holding up a mirror for someone is not an act of hostility. If it is done with thoughtfulness and constructive intent, it is actually a gift-giving exercise. Sometimes it can be an uncomfortable experience for both parties, that takes courage on behalf of the one holding the mirror and composure on behalf of the one encountering it. For the recipient of the “gift,” it can go down like medicine in the moment. But it can be a life-changing moment.
Young people can get hooked on the comfort and safety of an overextended adolescent existence, and their dependence increases over time. They become practiced at chasing off parents or others who might drive them out to find their way in the scary, tiresome adult world. (I am no longer shocked to encounter people who are still in a state of “totally dependent, pre-adult living” in their mid- and even later twenties.) Parents indulge these situations mostly due to some combination of love, uncertainty and fear.
A trusted (non-parent) adult is positioned to extend a hand with compassion and candor, to engage a young person in dialogue over an outing, a bite or a beverage. The opportunity exists then to blow a little fresh air into the situation, plant seeds of possibility and demonstrate that earnest conversations like these can be helpful, non-judgmental, interesting and even enjoyable.
I feel strongly that it is too easy – and not useful at all – for any third party to assign a young adult’s struggles to laziness, immaturity, or other negative characterizations. I have found that these challenges can correlate strongly with young people having high degrees of intelligence, thoughtfulness, humility, sensitivity, and big picture thinking. That a person in this generation is struggling is not at all a condemnation of their character or capability.