Being a millennial means living with many social, political & environmental challenges, but also opportunities to create a vibrant, meaningful life
We have all read articles of varying points of view about the ‘Millennial Generation’. This is not one of those articles. Instead, this is an invitation to start making the most of the opportunities available to you.
Every generation has the potential to shape the future, but the millennial generation has been dealt some particularly big challenges: inflation, lower wages, and generalized stereotypes, such as entitled and lazy, to name a few. Despite these challenges, we have more possibilities available to us than any generation before us (apart from our younger siblings, but that’s another article) because we have the ability to harness the internet and disrupt industry standards, as we have with the doorbell and diamond industries, for example.
To all you millennials out there, it’s time to step up and decide what is next for our generation.
Gallup’s studies show the difference in values for many millennials than previous generations comes down to purpose, growth, and engagement. One of the biggest dangers in millennial growth is the comparison game. “Back in my day” type of sentences from judgmental older relatives with unbending views contributes to this unhealthy form of generational comparison.
Instead of Baby Boomers and Millennials comparing themselves and their circumstances, it’s important to find ways to work together since leadership choices are no longer up to just the older generation. If millennials desire to attain the future they want, we need to start making choices to act differently now.
Start by getting out of the comparison game by putting up a post-it note or a reminder on your phone that says: “It’s not my job to compare myself to everyone around me. What do I know?”
Sure, you’re tapped into the world around you… and that’s great. But…
When was the last time you examined what you personally bring to the table and what you do not?
We get so busy comparing ourselves and listening to others’ thoughts that we’re not thinking for ourselves or using our intuitive knowledge. But when you think about what you have to offer the world and ways to get more involved and engaged, you are taking a positive step to create an amazing future.
Leadership develops with each choice you’re willing to make and the actions you take, so do something about the things that you care about. It doesn’t have to be big giant leaps; baby steps count, like expressing a controversial opinion, asking a question you don’t have an answer for, or offering to contribute to a project you care about.
Everyone is busy, but the glorification of busy-ness and stress is making it hard for many of us to prioritize what really matters. We live in the age of instant — messages, notifications, emails, etc. — which means that priorities often become whatever screams the loudest. To avoid this, explore what is important to you and know where you’re heading so that you can then prioritize not according to the loudest voice, but what’s most effective on the path to your targets.
Ask yourself: “Who or what requires my attention today?”
Flexibility and the ability to follow an ever-changing list of priorities is a skill most great leaders have, and it’s easy to attain by learning to move your schedule around to suit the requirements of the day.
Once you know what’s important to you, start adding meaningful projects to your life and career. It’s okay to juggle many things at once, since the old adage “If you want something done, ask a busy person” still applies. You might find that once you have enough projects ongoing, the energy snowballs to a point where the projects seem to move along of their own volition rather than by hard work and effort.
If you know that your current job isn’t everything you desire it to be, there is no better time to start a side business, volunteer for additional projects, or simply do what you want to do. Not from a reactionary mindset of “Screw this, I’m going to do it my way”, but from a willingness to create the additions you want in your own life. Your life and your career are created by every choice, interaction, and action that you take. If the trajectory of your life and career are not heading where you want, now is the time to change tracks.
To do so, simply start. Start anything that you have wanted to do that you haven’t begun yet.
Take three steps to get yourself on the path you want, but don’t compare or review the actions you have taken until you have completed them. It’s much harder to sabotage yourself when you’re already three steps in.
Anyone of any age or circumstance can create a life and career they desire. So, stop comparing and start acting!