Yes You Can! 4 Steps to Empowerment

Photo by stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net
Photo by stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net

Feeling stuck? Still living at home? Can’t get the job you want? Not getting ahead at work? Lacking control over your life? Millennials, this post is especially for you. It’s time to take things into your own hands.

These four steps to empowerment are straightforward, but not necessarily easy. You’ll need to gather your courage and tenacity to get through them.

  1. Take Responsibility

The first step is to think of moving forward, not backward. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is that you haven’t done something. Blaming won’t get you anywhere. To empower yourself, you need to admit you haven’t done it and take responsibility for doing it. No excuses.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ― Anne Frank

  1. Take a Step Back

If you haven’t taken action because you don’t know how to, now is the time take a deep breath, be humble, and step backward to learn a skill that you may have missed. It’s far better to pause and learn than to offer yourself and others false expectations for success.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ― Ernest Hemingway

  1. Take the Risk

Empowering yourself is taking charge and facing the consequences. That can be scary and there’s a good chance you’ll make mistakes along the way. Let me tell you a secret: we’ve all been there. Even if you grew up in a seemingly “perfect” household with “perfect” grades, parents, teachers, and bosses alike have all made numerous mistakes. It’s how we’ve gotten to where we are today.

“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.” ― Albert Einstein

  1. Try Again, and Again

Brace yourself to be resilient as you take risks and make mistakes. You’ll need to pick yourself back up from setbacks and keep a positive attitude as you do it over with the information you learned. It may take several, if not many tries to get it right. Remember Alexander Graham Bell’s 10,000 light bulbs that didn’t work.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill

Tough Love for Millennials

tough loveDear Millennials,

You’re not the only ones who’ve tried to get jobs in a recession. You’re not the only ones who’ve had college loans to pay off. You’re not the only ones to want to live in a fancier apartment than you can afford and have a better job than you can get.

The difference is you’re blaming your problems on everyone else instead of taking responsibility to fix them.

So what if it’s not your fault. People are born and raised with all sorts of disadvantages. Being privileged is hardly heartrending.

Stop whining and work. No more excuses. Just do it.

Find a job and take it. Even if it’s not the job you dreamed of. Even if it’s boring. Get out there and earn some money and start paying off your college loans. And while you’re at it, live an affordable lifestyle. Budget yourself so you can pay for your expenses and make loan payments at the same time.

Don’t live above your means. You can’t eat caviar on a beef jerky budget. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

I really do love you!

Mom

Independence Day: Pass It On!

4th of JulyThe United States of America was founded on the principle of independence. So why are we depriving our children of it? We build walls and fences to protect them, structure recreation to channel them, and make decisions for them to keep them from making mistakes. All the while, we’re taking away from our kids what we Americans value most—freedom.

The Fourth of July reminds us of how important our freedom really is. Instead of enjoying our freedom, we spend most of our time tied up trying to make money. While a certain amount of money is required for basic life needs, we don’t stop there. We wrestle for bigger houses, fancier cars, better toys, and the highest rated colleges for our kids so they can make more money to buy more stuff. We get so entrenched in the competitive warfare at home that we forget about the actual wars we’ve fought and won to keep our freedom.

My grandfather was a veteran and he fought in WWII. My uncle is a veteran and he fought in Vietnam during the Cold War. More friends and colleagues than I can count are veterans of more recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. I salute the veterans and all the active military personnel as I celebrate Independence Day and relish in the freedom that I have as an American.

I encourage fellow Americans to appreciate independence, pure and simple, and pass it on to the next generation. Our children will one day be the ones fighting for our freedom, whether in the military, business or in politics. They will need to be strong leaders who are resilient, confident, and able to take care of themselves, their families, and their countrymen. It is up to us to help them develop these qualities by giving them independence now.

Let the kids outside. Let them take risks and learn from their mistakes. Let them have downtime to invent their own games and reflect on who they are and want to become. Let them be who they are and not who you want them to be.

When I was 21, my grandfather—the WWII veteran—wrote me a letter recognizing my coming of age. He said that job satisfaction comes first. He reminded me of my freedom to choose a career that fit my skills and interests and not to become a slave to money. That is some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten and I share it with you. Relish your independence and encourage others to do the same.