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.
ADHD can become an unwelcome but convenient red herring that hides or excuses underlying adulting problems that should be addressed.
Many young people of this generation operate with an ever-shifting set of fragmented, muddled, and often misleading identity elements. This identity stew makes it hard for them to live with confidence or resilience.
“The Coddling of the American Mind” unpacks how / why it is that SO MANY young people coming of age in the last 20 years lack confidence and self-reliance, are disinclined to engage with things that challenge them, and are afraid to claim their own adulthood.
With just a bit of facilitation they can identify their own comfort zones and consider if / how those are holding them back.
When we know a younger adult who is feeling stalled in their life, let’s encourage them to have some ambition in how they use those open hours. Constructive activities, done in a structured way, can help build the foundations and fortitude they need to sort out their career and well-rounded adult life. And those activities may lead to new ideas and opportunities to get out of that rut.
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.
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.