Posted on March 18, 2014 by James Singleton
College graduation commencement speeches still ringing in your ears, the perfect career, perfect spouse, perfect family, perfect friends and perfect home – yes, the perfect life, manifested in your mind as you accepted your diploma.
That was then. Life in your early 20’s has quickly transitioned into a dilemma. You use your small check from working a high-stress, low-pay and sometimes thankless job to cover rent, food, clothes and lack of parental financial help makes you feel isolated. Friendships are now debatable and the future you once believed in seems confusing and not achievable anymore.
Take a breath. It’s time to hear what those experts at your college graduation should have said to you: get real, welcome failure, embrace crisis and take your time.
Instead of cowering every time there is a bump in the road, these tools help you navigate through and beyond this first chapter of your life and get you to where you most want to go. As you well know, the only thing more important than who you are today is who you are intent on becoming.
1. Get Real
Pretending to be something you’re not may seem like the easiest way to get what you want. But basing who you are on what other people think you should be dismisses all of the things you have already come to be.
It’s not easy, but you have to believe that you are enough. When you do, walking into both personal or professional experiences, you won’t overcompensate to prove your worth. You, even in your quarter life crisis, arrived where you are because of all the work that you have done.
Accept what you can and cannot do – and to be clear: what you cannot do does not equate worthlessness.
2. Welcome Failure
Do better, tap into your passion, and get a clearer sense of self by welcoming failure. Challenge yourself to see failure as an aspiration, and you’ll get closer to where you are actually meant to be.
Start pursuing opportunities considering: “What do I have to gain?” instead of, “What do I have to lose?” Take a step back and be encouraged by your own courage.
While failure might yield a longer journey to success, you’ll gain life-long lessons every step of the way that will help you stay on target with who you are and what you are meant to do.
3. Embrace Crisis
There are moments when your life seems to have fallen apart. Perhaps this is on the dramatic side, but don’t play your experiences down. You will feel loss, loneliness, confusion and want to shout “Why me?!”
In crisis, you can decide to do one of two things:
1. Live in a lie and deny that the crisis exists
2. Show the crisis who you really are and move forward
Spiritual teacher and author Gary Zukav says, “If you do not bring forth the truth of your heart, how can you give the gifts that you were born to give? Potential that cannot break through encrusted fear becomes frustration, resentment, hopelessness, anger and rage. Self-hatred is self-destruction.”
A crisis does not end you, it leads you to a breakthrough where a deeper meaning begins.
4. Take Your Time
Dwelling in the process is the most important key to navigating through your 20’s.
First Lady, Michelle Obama said, “The only thing that happens in an instant is destruction. Build something…earthquake, it’s gone. But everything else requires time: raising children, building a family, having a career. All of it takes time.”
Make the decision to slow down and realize, in itself, slowness is not a reason to stop or to be impatient. Taking your time gives you the energy and focus to keep moving toward the highest expression of your life, in your own time, and at your own pace.
Listen, no one will tell you being in your 20’s is going to be easy and it’s up to you to roll with the punches while celebrating the times you get back up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
Get real, welcome failure, embrace crisis and take your time and you will start living real 20-something solutions.