I figure when you hit your mid-40s, you have enough life experience to share your sage advice with others. As you age, you form a fondness for younger generations and hope that by sharing your wisdom, they don’t make the same mistakes that you did.
I will say . . . we hear you, younger generation. We are all scrambling to learn how to motivate you and help you build loyalty with our companies.
Here is my advice, broken down into ten tips:
#1—Cut the cord.
Your boss is not your parent and has no desire to be. When you get to be my age, your peers are in executive management positions. The biggest frustration that I hear from them is that their staff can’t make decisions. This generation has become so accustomed to having their mom and dad make decisions for them that they have lost the capacity to do so.
STOP IT (and stop it, parents, if you have fallen into this trap). You are crippling your child and not giving them any coping mechanisms. You have to learn how to make decisions for yourself if you ever want to be a successful adult.
#2—Take responsibility for yourself.
I interviewed a man today who was frantically looking for a job. In theory, he should be retired, but he felt compelled to pay for his grandchildren’s college education. This is unacceptable! I paid for my college 100% through grants, scholarships, loans, and working two or three jobs at a time. If I can do it, YOU can do it. Learn to cook a meal. Learn to do your own laundry. (And get out of your parents’ basement . . .)
#3—Find your “wolf pack.”
I was lucky enough to live with 45 amazing women in college and stay in touch with many of these ladies. I also have a “crew” of friends from high school and found yet another “crew” when I moved to Topeka five years ago. Your “wolf pack” will be there for you and help you get through life’s challenges. Open up the possibilities of making new friends. As the song goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old . . . one is silver and the other gold.”
#4—Don’t blow out someone else’s candle to make yours shine brighter.
Your time will come. This is a tough one, and we have all been there. Maybe you got passed over for a promotion. Maybe your peers seem to be advancing more quickly than you. I can assure you that when you hit 35 to 40 years of age, the playing field will be leveled. I promise that your time will come, and it will be much sweeter if you haven’t blown out someone else’s candle to make yours shine brighter.
#5—Respect your elders.
Right now there are four or five generations in the workplace. Each generation has their positive and negative traits. You can learn a TON from the older generations in your workplace. Listen to them. Respect their ideas and opinions. I know you feel like you know everything at age 25, but trust me . . . you don’t.
#6—Deepen your faith.
While you are on top of the world right now, bad times will come. I’m not sure what your dark time will be, but you will have one. I personally lost my husband at age 39 with three little kids. I have friends who went through horrible divorces, others lost children, and others suffered a major health crisis. It is heart breaking to me to witness people who have lost their faith. They are constantly angry and have a “victim’s mentality.”
Without some sort of faith, it will be very difficult to survive the storms that will strike. I know that many Millennials have fallen away from the church. Find one that fits you. There are a ton of churches that focus more on “thinking” than preaching.
#7—The world doesn’t revolve around you.
I think this is a rite of passage as a 20-something. Life is great—you have a great job, great career, loving spouse, etc. My world did not extend much further out of my bubble. It took getting my ass kicked at age 39 to figure out that the world didn’t revolve around me. Something unexpected will happen. I’m not sure what your story will be, but the earlier that you can learn the world doesn’t revolve around you, the easier it will be to cope with life’s challenges.
#8—Find your passion and make money doing it.
I can’t stress this enough. If you love art, go for it! Find a way to make money at it. Maybe you’re the only female in your IT/tech classes in college. Who cares? That just makes you that much more marketable. Be brave and follow your dreams.
#9—Pay it forward.
Mentor someone. Give back to your community. I know you’re making great money and it’s awesome. However, what are you doing to support your community and surroundings? Find a cause and support it with time, talents, AND treasure. At your funeral, no one is going to talk about how much money you made. But they will talk about the impact that you made in your community.
#10—Put down your cell phone.
There’s a new word called “NoSocializing,” whereby you are with someone but spending more time on your cell phone or smartphone than actually with that person. Really be present in the lives of your loved ones. Smartphones are an amazing technology, but they’ve created an environment (social media) where we can hide behind our words. Live in the real world with real people. People only post the 5% of the good things in their lives. If you spend too much time on your smartphone, you’ll end up comparing yourself to your “friends” on Facebook. Get out there and form real friendships. Get outside and enjoy life!