There are many reasons why people may choose to work with us 1:1 and sometimes it’s because they have come to a point in their life or their career where they are not happy or satisfied with where they are, what they’re doing and how they are doing it. Call it a crossroads, turning point or shift, they are seeking change in some way.
The challenge that many have at that stage is that they don’t know what it is they really want to do, what direction to head in or what choices to make and they become confused about what to focus on. Some attach so much importance and value to what they do, that they have lost sight of who they are or might be without it.
There are those who are very clear early on in life that they want to follow a certain path or career, perhaps influenced by a loved one or someone they look up to. Others may take longer and only start to think about their future when asked what they want to do when they leave school; university, technical college or apprenticeship and then choose subjects that will support that.
Some never really know or decide what they want to do or be and instead randomly accept opportunities or suggestions along the way and train or study if and when they need to, depending on what is required … I can certainly relate to this last category and it can work!
My sense of all of this is that many people may end up following a certain path which they haven’t necessarily chosen for themselves but felt pressured into, end up being unhappy in what they are doing at some point and seeking options. I have certainly worked with individuals who have spent years studying to get a certain qualification and realise that it’s not what they expected or they are unable to use it and it can feel like a waste of time, money and energy.
I can only imagine how overwhelming it must feel for a 14/15 year old to know what future options are possible, many of which don’t actually exist at the moment, understand whether they are capable of achieving any of them and then having to make a subject choice based on what’s available rather than what they might truly want to do.
Around the same time, their brain is under construction to prepare for adulthood and lacks the ability to understand consequences particularly in relation to decisions they may make, it’s almost like the perfect storm for making a wrong or ill-informed choice about their future and may lead to disappointment or regret later.
I would love things to work differently at some point in the future where there is less pressure on children to pass exams and a different way to identify and measure their interests, skills, motivation and influences instead.
I believe that most people want to contribute to life in some way and make a positive difference in the world through doing something they feel is meaningful and important, a purpose if you like, particularly some of the younger generation. What if we were to ask them ‘what difference would you like to make in the world?’ We could provide examples of what others of all ages are doing to make a difference and the positive impact of that.
This may sound naïve, but I feel we are doing our young people a disservice with the current system that can create high levels of stress and disengagement so why not take some pressure off and encourage them to get creative in their thinking, explore opportunities for their future and let them discover what motivates them? It could lead to better choices and much more long-term satisfaction.
I guess we don’t know unless we try and if you are one of those who is at a crossroads, maybe you could ask yourself the same question and see what comes.