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.