Many of the Millennials who come to us for assistance are fighting battles with a very familiar common enemy: anxiety and economic instability.
The young people seeking our coaching tend to fall into two camps. The majority, perhaps 60%, feel lost and untethered. They are crushed under college debt, they want but don’t yet have a house or a family, and they work hard jobs but haven’t broken into their careers. The other group has means with a job at a great salary, who can buy a home and start a family if they choose, but it comes with the high price of NEVER being able to take a breath. These people are going 24/7, and they are full of chaos and overwhelmed with anxiety. Some of them are amassing huge amounts of credit card debt to keep up with the Joneses and live the life they were told they should achieve in order to be considered complete.
Both of these people have something in common, and in fact they have it in common with many people across different generations as well: they are being held hostage to what the world has told them is important and worthwhile, and their internal measures of worth are being stifled in the process.
Homeownership is a common thread among Millennials right now, who have largely graduated college and been in the workforce for a while, and are looking to move to the next stages of their life. Many Millennials want to be homeowners, and yet an unprecedentedly large number of them are not compared to their parent’s generation. There are many interconnected reasons for this, but a big one is this:
Millennials were born into a very, very different economic reality than their parents were. Both the economy and the housing market have drastically changed in a few short decades.
Not all that long ago, it was common to afford a college degree as a middle class student with no debt, to easily find some kind of job immediately upon graduation, and to retire with a pension. People born into those circumstances were indeed buying houses by the time they were 30 years old. But as many of you know, those are not the circumstances of today. Mix in a poor job market with little opportunity for new workers, vanishing benefits, and an unfavorable housing market, and it is little wonder that fewer 30 year olds are buying houses than ever. It would be astonishing if they were. The situation may sometimes feel grim, but it is far from hopeless–here’s why.
Once while in Maine, we had a very interesting conversation with some French Canadians on vacation. They were sharing their surprise at the American emphasis on homeownership. They were very confused about why so many people would want to take on the cost and responsibility of managing a piece of property. According to them, they preferred to rent, and have the freedom to go on vacations and have nice dinners. For them, renting was a lifestyle choice that they were happy to make, not a great failure or proof of a hopeless financial situation.
This conversation was fascinating because it reminded us once again about a very basic truth — you can find happiness, success, and self-actualization in any circumstance. To do so, you must first let go of the outside expectations and assumptions that have been holding you back.
We’re often told by Millennial clients that “I should have a house by now” and “they say I should have $x dollars in the bank by the time I’m 30.” Who is “they”? Why is it “should”?
It may be a helpful exercise for some frustrated Millennials to contemplate why they truly want to buy a house; is it because there is truly something intrinsic to homeownership that can provide peace and meaning? Or do you want it because you have been told that you are worthless without it?
You are going to experience pain if you’re looking for a similar outcome with someone that has a different life. Millennials face different challenges and obstacles than the ones their parents faced, and there is no shame or failure in that. In fact, there are some circumstances that are unique to Millennials that hold great opportunity. For one, Millennials have helped build a more progressive and open minded society than existed before. People that were once shut out from society completely are now being acknowledged, valued, and invited to take part.
Millennials also place more emphasis on wellness and the mind-body connection than their predecessors did, and as a result, they are living healthier and more balanced lives for it.
Another recent opportunity is that the path to entrepreneurship is more available now than ever before–tools like Skype and Zoom that have only existed for about a decade make it possible to work from anywhere, and to start a business from home. Many Millennials are taking full advantage of their unique connectedness and adventurous spirit to build thriving online businesses. In our experience, this generation is very grounded, socially compassionate, and interested in caring for and protecting other human beings. They are more connected to the environment, and they want the political policy to care about all people. This makes them incredible agents for change.
Far from being the generation with the least opportunities, Millennials have some incredible gifts and opportune circumstances that they can use to build meaningful, complete lives. To do this, each person must decide for themselves what is important to them. Put another way, a quote from Albert Einstein states: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question we have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?”
What, indeed, is your genius? What are your talents and natural gifts that are not currently being tapped into? What are your interests? What are your passions? What change do you want to see in the world? You want to decide what’s important to you, not what the world tells you is important.
Sometimes, the way to move forward is by accepting what “is” right now. Accepting a circumstance is a very different thing from being resigned to that circumstance. When you resign yourself to a bad situation, you pull in anger and resentment. As a result, you close yourself off and aren’t capable of seeing the solutions that may already be available to you. When you accept a situation, you grant yourself the inner peace you need to work on changing it. When you are motivated by anger and fear, you don’t get the results you want. If you’re willing to accept what is, you begin to be motivated by optimism and the belief that things can change and we can solve problems. Whatever you focus on tends to expand. When we focus on the problems in our life, we get more problems. When we focus on solutions, we teach ourselves to find them.
What outside expectations have been holding you back? And what dreams are waiting to pull you forward? Contact us for a no obligation no cost coaching session and we will assist you to uncover the answers to these two questions.
We also invite you to download Eight Tools for Creating Success and Happiness in Your Life as our free gift to you.
Jon Satin and Chris Pattay – The Possibility Coaches™
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