I remember my very first vision board. In April of that year, my son was admitted to the hospital at only 7 months old, and I was having my own health problems that would just have to wait. Thankfully we were at the hospital for only 3 days. By the time we got home I was exhausted. I had just spent three sleepless nights in a hospital so worried about my son.
As I stood there taking it all in my eyes landed on my vision board. Nothing on my vision board was in motion. How could it with everything happening in my life? I decided to forget about the vision board. I’m not sure why I didn’t take it down. I think maybe it’s because I was so done with it I didn’t even bother to move it.
Cut to October...
That text came from the mom of a client of mine. She was so surprised to get a seemingly random text from her daughter asking to start a retirement account, but it wasn’t random. Her daughter was in our coaching session when she sent it.
She had gone through the first two modules of Life Quest® which helped her name her values and solidify her priorities. Just before the career exploration module comes the money module. Ava learned that week about how compound interest works and what it looks like in a retirement account. She learned that the earlier you start the better. Taking just a fraction of what she makes with a high school job and putting it into an account can have a big impact later on.
You might have heard that teens don’t have the same capacity for future-thinking as adults do. However, delivering knowledge in just the right way, a teen can think about their future more than we might give them credit for.
My client, a senior, knew what she wanted to do, but when this pandemic hit, she started questioning everything. Will she even be able to go to college after she graduates? Should she continue with her chosen major or is it changing too much leaving no jobs for her? What will her future look like?
She went from excited about her life to anxious and unsure. She was so at a loss, so overwhelmed, she would barely talk to her parents.
That is until her parents found the Life Quest® program. Rather than being stuck not knowing what life would look like after high school, she now has multiple paths that she is excited about. With the program and our coaching, she has thoroughly explored how to monetize her passions even during or after a pandemic. She even has things she can start doing right away to get things in motion. And she has a game plan for her next steps in spite of how crazy the world is right now. She said:
"What am I going to do??"
I was crying on my husband’s shoulder as he held me, standing in the kitchen. I was so scared.
I finally admitted to myself that I just couldn’t continue the career I had been pursuing. It was the career I wanted ever since I was a child, but after almost a decade I was miserable. Leaving it, however, was so scary to me. I didn’t know what else I could do. I didn’t know what other value I could bring to the world.
Did you know that there are 7 ways to continue your education after high school?? Most people think there are two options: college or nothing. The 7 options I cover with my clients are all ways to continue education, so this does include university but it does not include going straight away into work. Working is a choice, of course, but I want to focus on the fact that there are 6 other ways of educating yourself after high school. Before we jump in, there are a few things I want you to know.
1. Let’s start with the most well known:
I often tell my clients to imagine themselves 10 years from now. Then I ask them, "what does your life look like?" Typically, I get canned responses, which, of course, we dissect to get to real answers. A common canned response is “to be successful.” … what does that mean?
Actually think about that for a moment; what does it mean to you to be successful? Why is that your definition? Do you think your teen has the same definition?
When it comes to helping young people reach success I’ve heard all kinds of advice including:
“Go to college and get a job.” This suggests that if you go to college you are essentially guaranteed a well-paying job that will provide financial freedom.
I’ve also heard “Follow your dreams and pursue your passions.” This suggests that those seeking only financial success are living unfulfilled lives; only in making a job of your passions will you be happy.
While these two pieces of advice may seem like opposites, they do have something in common. They both suggest that what you do for a living is the main measure of success. Whether what you do brings you money or passion, it tends to be our professions that define us.
Here's the thing...
“How can kids prepare for jobs that don’t exist yet?”
I was stumped.
After working in admissions at a university and then conducting college and career workshops in high schools all across my state, I thought I could answer anything.
But when a teacher asked me that one, I admit I was taken aback. How had I not considered this? Especially when you think about how rapidly jobs are changing. For example, if 15 years ago someone told you that students would grow up to become Social Media Marketing Managers would you have known what they were talking about?
So, I went home and immediately began researching the answer to that question. Not only did it become a chapter in my book, but it was also the seed that sparked my entire book.
What I concluded is this: we need to cultivate skills and character traits that allow for adaptability.
Did you know that...
Can you imagine your teen pursuing their future with drive and excitement? Can you imagine knowing that the path they chose will not only lead to a thriving life of financial security but also a life of fulfillment? For so many young people this isn’t the case.
Many teens get to graduation and just pick a school or a major because it’s what they are “supposed to” do, it’ll make them good money, or it’s what everyone else is doing. But there’s no purpose other than that and there’s no excitement for their future. Some get to graduation without making any decision at all.
This can lead to them feeling aimless in life, wandering through it hoping they will stumble upon their passion. These young people can often feel purposeless which can lead to depression or negative habits. They are often unmotivated, anxious, and sometimes angry. Or maybe it will lead to changing majors, which will cost time and lots of money for both them and you.
What can you do?
The good news is, all of this can be avoided! It is possible for your teen to craft their own unique definition of success that they are excited about. They can find occupations that are uniquely suited to who they are and what they value and then start taking the steps towards them with direction and purpose.
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Emma B Perez