Every generation sees the world from their own unique perspective. I was born in 1955 and am considered to be smack dab in the middle of the Baby Boomer generation. Raised by parents who were defined by the Depression and World War II, fear and uncertainty of the future was ingrained in me from an early age. It’s only been in the past decade or so that I have finally understood the advice I was given when I was a younger by those older than myself. This included getting a college degree; working for a corporation; buying a home; and saving and then investing for my future from a young age.
Though today’s advice may be similar, the path chosen by those in the age eighteen to thirty category is quite different. They are thinking and acting in a way that reminds me of myself, once I reinvented my life at age fifty. If you are a late millennial (born ’89 to ’96) or an early post-millennial (born ’97 to ’01) this is for you. If you know someone in this age range, give or take a few years on either side, please share this article with them for both your sakes.
“Too many choices” is a common theme and I did some research on this. In an article by “millennial psychotherapist” and life coach Tess Brigham, she states:
On any given day, a handful of millennials will come into my office and express their most pressing concerns: “I’m worried I’ll never make enough money to retire.” “I feel like a failure.” “I don’t know if I’m setting up my adult life the right way.”
But the complaint they bring up the most? “I have too many choices and I can’t decide what to do. What if I make the wrong choice?”
Yes, decision fatigue is a real thing, especially in today’s world, where we are overloaded with information and have an immense pressure to succeed. There are so many big life decisions to make — who to marry, what career path to take, where to live, how to manage our money — and so many options.
While having an abundance of choices might sound appealing, studies have found that it often causes us to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
To My Young Entrepreneurial Readers:
You experienced and comprehended 9/11 and are finding your way through and past the recession of 2008. An early career you were sure would be right for you may have been impacted and your college education was most likely influenced by prohibitive tuition costs or the necessity to change majors to a field with better job possibilities. Instead of allowing any of these issues to define you, forge your own path to a life that will serve you.
As your summer unfolds in front of you, what are your plans and goals? Will you sleep late, laze about, hang with friends, and basically enjoy your time away from the demands and rigors of the real world? Is this time merely a “pause” as you collect your thoughts and move forward in the fall? Have you considered starting a business around an area you are passionate about?
You are important to our future. As a young entrepreneur, your greatest asset is your age. The manner in which you are experiencing the world socially, technologically, politically, and economically is age dependent and the world is waiting for you to make sense of it all and interpret it back to us through your vision.
We trust you to make good choices for yourself and those around you. And you already know who you are by the regularity with which you contrast what you love with what you don’t. Give this some thought and come up with an idea for a product, invention, book, business, or artistic endeavor. Give thought to the hobbies, interests, skills, talents, and more that could be turned into a business. Enlist your closest friends and family members to help validate what you believe to be true about yourself. Listen to your intuition and take massive action today, not some day.
Five or so years ago I needed to rent a car and was picked up at the dealership by a young man of about twenty. He was open to conversation and shared that he had just finished his first year of college and wasn’t sure what career path to pursue. When I asked him why he was working at the car rental company he shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
Upon further discussion it turned out that computers and technology were his passion. I asked if he knew how to install and set up a WordPress website and he said “of course” as though everyone did. Two weeks later he had given notice and started his own business, setting up these sites first for his father’s friends and later for my clients. He quadrupled his income overnight and loved the work (he would call it play) he was doing. And yes, he did return to college to earn his degree.
When he and I spoke months later I shared that the creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg was nineteen when he did this and changed the world of technology and content management for millions of people like myself. He found it interesting that his path was initiated by a Millennial like himself.
You and you alone have the responsibility to chart the course for your life. Please don’t allow anyone else to do this for you or to suggest your ideas and beliefs do not have merit. Every great person in history had strong feelings about how they perceived the world around them and took action even if others doubted, ridiculed, or ignored them.
And higher education most definitely has a place in your life experience. These days there are more options for completing college and graduate level programs than there were when I was your age. Just do not depend on a college degree to pave the way for a career and financial security. Thinking in this way could limit your future opportunities and goals and possibly hinder you reaching your full potential.
Choose wisely and the world will be your oyster. Embrace the struggle, never give up on your dreams, and reach your full potential more quickly and easily than anyone else you know. I can hardly wait to see how you will leave your mark on the planet we share and call home. Stay and course and do not allow anyone or anything to deter you. Think of the fish in a lake who danced with danger and was caught. A simple hook on a line took him away from his path forever more.
There are many people who want to support you right here in your home town, or wherever you are hanging your hat at this point in time. Reach out to service organizations like Rotary and tell us who you are and how we may serve you. Instead of thinking about how to spend summer vacation this year, I challenge you to instead earn your summer vacation in a way that will make a difference for a lifetime.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I am here to serve you with my experience, knowledge, and ideas. Learn how to sell yourself to the world with your message and how to sell your products and services based on what you know with my new online training course, How to Sell Yourself and Your Stuff. You’ll be more than glad you decided to come aboard!