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Filtering by Category: 20somethings

Time GenY ditches the EVERYONE GETS A STAR mentality

Rachel Estapa

As someone in their late 20s, I know how important it is to feel like you’re doing the “right thing.” Growing up, we all knew exactly what was expected of us to achieve success and get praise for it. In fact, that praise became a perpetual motion machine – many GenYer's feel the incessant need to be acknowledged, gratified and acclaimed in everything they do. It’s really a different world once you step from the "everyone gets a star" protective bubble and lots of young adults are finding instant gratification and praise in their personal & career pursuits hard to come by.

Career and calling are nearly synonymous to our generation. We really want to be accomplished and successful in a short time span, but that’s not always going to happen right outside the gates of college. Many get frustrated, feel stuck and disappointed that no one thinks they are as incredible as they’ve been told they are.

But instead of getting upset, what does a really ambitious, go-getter GenY’er have to do? Here are some tips that I personally implement for when I get impatient and compare myself to others:

You’re not a failure just because you have to wait. If life unfolded just as quickly as our Facebook feeds refresh, our civilization would probably be so advanced that the concept of works & career would be obsolete. Ok, you know what I mean – the pathway in life doesn’t appear overnight, so freaking out over things "not happening fast enough” will get you one place very quickly -- stress-town.

Whoever is telling you that you must figure your life out  right now is full of shit. And if this person DID figure it all out before 30, they’re probably the most dull, boring and predictable person EVER. Think about all the amazing adventures, stories and opportunities people have who didn't live life by some pre-destined play book. Their attitude toward being open and curious brought about variety to explore, play and figure things out as it comes. I know, I know – that uncertainty feeling is really uncomfortable, but life is full of unknowable situations. The only thing you can master is how you handled life’s ebb & flow as you progress onward.

Sorry, but you’re not going to be Mark Zuckerberg or the guy that invented Instgram. And there’s nothing wrong with you because of that.There’s a fine balance between seeking advice and inspiration from what others experienced, but comparing yourself to their path is a one-way ticket to let down. You are NOT them. You’re going to have a very difference experience, one that will shape what your imprint in the world is. Own your unique story now, because it’s impossible to ever live out someone else’s.

Ease up, but don't give up. We all see the news reports --- the economic & career outlook for GenY looks grim. I know first-hand how difficult it is to find work, let alone, work that makes your heart sing. That’s why letting go of the expectation of what you thought you’d be doing may ease the stress. In no way am I saying “give up” – never ever – more like “ease up” and allow for your life to unfold as it may. Follow what your interests are, do what you can to align yourself in the direction towards a worthy goal, and be a nice person along the way. Really – being nice helps!

I’m a firm believer that little victories towards a worthy goal are what make for an enjoyable life.

Am I crazy? Why nearing 30 doesn't freak me out

Rachel Estapa

Yesterday, I was sitting next to a high school student who was getting tutored in math. His tutor casually mentioned something about being in his mid-30's but didn't feel old and the student said "Well, to me -- anything over 25 is really old."  I could only laugh, because face it -- we all felt that way at one point. In one month, I'll be turning 28 years old.  I'm actually really excited about it - the number has a nice ring to it, but more so, it's one step closer to 30 which in my eyes is something to look forward to. Why? Because it means I've got 30 years of experience and that's pretty awesome. Also, I hear many people say 30 is when their life REALLY takes off --- so I can only image how much more fun I'll have.

But I know I'm of a small minority who doesn't seem to mind (yet) the cold truth of life ---- YOU GET OLDER.

If you've not seen it, there's a really funny parody called "We're Not Young" stemmed from that insanely catchy "We are Young" song. It's mocking the 30-somethings waking up to a life they didn't ever think they'd have -- full of nothing and going nowhere.

Sometimes when I speak with those in their later 20's, they have this really worried look on their face when they realize they are growing older. Many feel like life just landed in their laps, outside of their control -- they woke up one day and found themselves in the place they are. Some are fine with it -- other, errr..not so much.

The "auto-pilot" feeling is what bothers people the most because it feels like life is happen to them, not through them. There's a big difference.

The reason I coach 20-somethings is because I know how valuable and important it is to get your act together NOW, so you're not waking up one day resenting the past and feeling hopeless about the future. There's enough stressful life-balance to come, so why not seize the opportunity to work on yourself today? If you can nip your quaterlife crisis sooner, your future self is really going to thank you.

So no -- I'm not afraid to hit 30 because I've done everything I possibly can in my life thus far given the resources and opportunities afforded to me.

I've gone through plenty of extremely stressful & difficult times; I've made mistakes and have learned valuable lessons from them; I've had some incredible adventures and honors bestowed; I've been in a loving, caring relationship for over four years now; my friendships are sources of great joy; my family (and extended)  is amazing; I'm in love with the neighborhood I live in; I take good care of myself and FINALLY, I'm not broke.  But most of all -- my personal & professional life is a direct reflection of my passions and values.

In short -- I'm HAPPY! And that feeling is ageless.

LIVING your worth

Rachel Estapa

Don't just settle for knowing your worth -- go out and LIVE your worth. There's a natural anxiety that comes about when you feel that you're being taken for granted or under appreciated. But did you know what you do with that realization foretells the future for you?

Most deal with feeling undervalued by being resentful, grumpy and bitter towards the perceived "oppressor."  Whether in a relationship, at work, school or even with yourself , how you react when feeling under-valued is an indicator of what you can expect in return.

So what does LIVING your worth really mean? I've come up with a few points to consider the next time you feel like you're being under-valued.

  • It's no one else's responsibility but your own to guarantee your success & happiness
  • Living your worth isn't based upon the external -- it's how balanced and confident you feel within, which then flows out into whatever you want
  • Don't ever demand anything -- instead, create the space for the other person to feel empowered and together, design a win/win solution
  • Your worth is the currency of opportunity you're able to present
  • Worth is synonymous with respect, admiration & desire from the others point of view.
  • Improve your own self-worth and it will ignite a chain reaction
  • If you don't ask for it, how will others be able to grant it?

Practice your self-worth day-to-day life; in how you treat yourself, how you treat others & the attitude you harbor about the world around you. Self-worth is the reflection of your inner relationship -- consciously or not, others can pick up on what type of message you're sending out and return in kind. This is a principal long used by those who live their worth and understand it all comes down to attitude -- you're either putting people off or pulling people in.

If your constantly upset and discouraged, that impacts how  well you're living your worth. If you find yourself blaming others for you feeling undermined, what's been your approach to the situation? Are you honoring your own worth? If not, why should anyone else?

Shake that ***!

Rachel Estapa

What’s over-inflated and makes you feel really self-conscious when others point it out? YOUR EGO. Confession time -- I’ve got one hell of an ego. This might sound strange coming from a coach but all that means is I’m more acutely aware of when my ego is running the show. But you know what? It's totally ok  -- that’s part of being human. You come with an ego & assembly not required.

But a majority of the time it’s your ego that hurts others AND yourself.

In coaching, the ego is closely connected to your inner critic -- that gnawing voice that pipes up when you’re under stress, pressure and feeling vulnerable. It pits the world against you, draws dividing lines and intensifies little situations into big deals. Thing is, the ego gets so wound up with your normal daily voice, it’s hard to even tell the difference. You confuse the critics voice for you own and things get even more nasty when you start to allow that critical voice to become your own.

A little confusing, sure -- so what’s a good way to know if your ego is running the show?

  • You start to judge...and judge more and more
  • You get defensive and feel personally insulted even by the most mundane things
  • Fear bubbles up and stops you from doing what you’d like
  • Anger, rage, frustration...towards people around you and yourself
  • When you think “right” “wrong” or in black or white terms

Uhhhh, yeah - we’ve ALL been there probably many times a day! Some might just consider that normal. Your ego also exhausts you pretty fast -- it’s draining to keep fueling the critics desire to label, categorize and scrutinize every single thing.

“But Rach, I get can I STOP it?”

Think of your ego as a whiny, brat of a child...ignore it, and it just gets worse. Your ego WANTS your attention -- so the best way to get it to calm down is to actually acknowledge that it’s showing up.  I often say [to myself] “I see you...” when my ego voice pops up. It’s not that it make it disappear totally, but for whatever reason, that noticing quickly puts me back into check so I can approach the situation at hand more clearly rather than getting caught up in the moment.

Once you flag that you ego is showing, you can then make a conscious choice to continue letting it lead, or shift to your authentic voice -- that is -- the voice that doesn’t need to judge but can accept and understand things at face value. Authentic voice has this wisdom about it. It never makes you feel like you've got to be on guard or threatened. Authentic voice is calm, composed and heightens your awareness of what's really going on apart from your reaction to it.

Like I said -- we all come in our original packaging with an ego, but it is up to us individually to recognize how it’s impairing us from seeing the truth of what’s happen and not solely our judgement of it.

"I Do!....someday, just not right now."

Rachel Estapa

What's your typical response when people ask you "So, when are YOU two getting married?" I've lived with my boyfriend for a little over two and a half years now, together over four and we have a legal domestic partnership.  But no, we're not married.  No, we're not engaged. No, I'm not upset about that. And while one day that's the plan, for today -- we're quite happy with where we're at.

We're not alone either -- many of my non-married, cohabitating friends own homes together with their significant others, have pets, and even children. Living in sin? I don't think so. Making love work for a new age? Absolutely!

Just last week, a great article from the Christian Science Monitor came out in defense of this Millennial trend to hold off on marriage. The reasons for waiting are many. Some want to develop their own careers first and others want to be more financially stable. Most 20-somethings just want to have their own sh*t together before they make any huge commitments and I think that's pretty responsible of us.

But let's not dispute the elephant in the room -- DIVORCE FREAKS US OUT.

Many of us grew up during the same time divorce rates skyrocketed. While my parents are still married, I knew many kids at school who had to go through their parent's divorce. There may be no such thing as the 'happily ever after' marriage, but we as a generation saw firsthand lots of unhappily wrecked marriages.

So, pls understand our reservations up front...but remember -- we're an optimistic generation too!

  • Fact: Majority of millennials totally want to get married [me included!]
  • Fact: They want to make sure they are certain of themselves before they commit to marriage
  • Fact: Relationships, legally binding or not, are EXTREMELY important to us --- just because we're not walking down the aisle doesn't mean we're not invested with all our heart.

My partner and I have been through hardships that would test marriage's strength and we're together still and stronger for it. No ceremony, ring, or signed paperwork can make-up for the lack of  trust, communication and genuine love required for a lasting relationship.

What I think is most interesting (and awesome) about committed millennials is that they don't see marriage as the only method to developing a meaningful, lasting and healthy relationship.  GenY's got a lot of faith in their partner and as a demographic, our ability to keep long-lasting social and romantic relationships is quite remarkable.

We're pioneers purposefully altering the long-held assumption that becoming married was the sign of adulthood and of being in a true romantic relationship. Some may end up getting married eventually (as the data shows) and some may not -- but what I think is important to note, our generation isn't jumping into something they feel they ought to - we're consciously making the choice to become married when we want to. 

And that's awesome.

5 Phases of a Quarter Life Crisis -- Are you in one RIGHT now?

Rachel Estapa

I'm on a mission to turn the term "Quarter Life Crisis" (QLC) into "Quarter Life Opportunity" because that's exactly what it is --- a turning point in your life where YOU'RE totally responsible for your self and the direction your life will take. Think of your QLC as an "update" button - keep pressing X and everything stays the UPDATE  and....

"But that's the scary part!"

For years, the course ahead was laid out very well, then after the initial high of post-college life (somewhere between the mid- to-late twenties) a crash occurs. You're not sure who you are, where you're heading, and doubt if you're equipped to even "get there" - where ever THERE is!  QLC is all about becoming yourself and re-examining who you REALLY are...because the old definitions just don't feel quite right.

A majority of my clients come to me because they've heard about the Quarter Life Crisis, are experiencing one now, and want to feel better. Having gone through my QLC,  I know how confusing and painful it is, but also know the other side of it is fantastic -- but that's not the point -- the point is to guide others through whatever they are experiencing, because this crisis really is a huge lesson in self and is a chance to finally become who we know we really want to be.

So - where are you in your QLC? Here's an excerpt from an article outlining common phases:

Phase 1 – A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot. Phase 2 – A rising sense of “I’ve got to get out” and the feeling that you can change your life. Phase 3 – Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making you feel trapped and embarking on a “time out” period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be. Phase 4 – Rebuilding your life. Phase 5 – Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.

Understanding which phase you're in can help you breathe a bit easier and explain why you're feeling the way to do. But like anything...a plan of action helps move things along [ahem, via coaching?] and makes the trek into 'You 2.0' more powerful and lasting.

Crisis's push you out of your comfort zone...that's how you grow. How we handle these challenges and what we learn through the process  is more telling of who we really are than the outcomes. The point of the QLC isn't to unravel everything you know about's an opportunity to upgrade in maturity and wisdom about who you really are so you can chart and walk along the path towards who you truly want to become.

Pass the gravy and the thanks around

Rachel Estapa

It's around this time of year we all pause for a sec and ask "Has it REALLY been a year...already?!" And my guess is that as you grow older, the stark realization becomes even more intense that time isn't going to slow down. All this makes it even more important to reflect back on where you've come so far this year -- and more importantly, recognize and appreciate who helped you along the way.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone -- and as awesome as turkey and mashed potatoes are, tell your fam & friends [and coaching supporters!] just how much they mean to you :)


I made the press & I want to thank you!

Rachel Estapa

Ohh yeah!!I wanted to share with you all that I was featured in the Boston Globe's online site, "A Three-Hour Cure for Your Quarter Life Crisis: My Life Coaching Experience."  The article was one of the most emailed article's on the whole site that day; shared now over 1,000 times from the article itself --- and hundreds more times via social networks.

A special thank-you to Rose Lincoln for the awesome photos, to The Next Great Generation, and writer Charlotte Glasser for putting herself out there to make this story possible. By sharing your life, you made others realize they too can grow, learn and find themselves in times of feeling lost and confused -- you lived the benefit of coaching. This time three years ago, I was laid-off and freaking out over what it was going to mean for my future -- financially, professionally and personally.

In that time I created a new approach to living -- undercurrent-- the idea that if you put your own personal growth first, follow and share what you love with the world around you, you'll become happier and more successful because you're living authentically to who you are.  That little idea pulled me though some rough times -- and today, that same idea, no longer little, is quickly becoming my life's work.

The lesson from this incredible opportunity? If you put yourself and what you love out there, it will always come back to you in ways that inspire, validate and encourage you that the risks are always worth taking -- that your authentic self is worth sharing and worth loving. 

Friends, family, readers, supporters, strangers-- thank you ALL for making this article spread and for making this coach one  humbled and inspired woman!

My very best to each of you,


Feeling left out? FOMO is to blame.

Rachel Estapa

There’s a disease on the rise among 20something's. It’s subtle at first with symptoms of minor jealousy, resentfulness, restlessness and frequent refreshing of an already updated Facebook feed. As it gains strength it turns once vibrant and confident optimists about the future into self-doubting, paranoid and unhappy worriers who feel left out of the crowd.

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Share your 20s in six words or less

Rachel Estapa

If you're currently a 20-something, or just a little beyond, let's play a game: sum up the experience of your 20s in six words or less.  Here's mine:  Found my path, now walking it

A link to a slide show from New York Magazine's article "The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright" does a blunt job of presenting the varied experiences of the typical American 20-something, entering what's now being called the "Post-Hope America" era.