I have been in lots of conversations with my adult children, with Sonya and my friends and their adult children about launching.
One thing I find is that our kids get a lot of bad and outdated advice. They have well meaning, but ignorant people telling them to stay on the rails, fit in, be like everyone else and to be a good boy or girl.
The advice from mentors is not malicious. It’s just disconnected from who our kids are and how the world works today. It’s safe and conventional. But, the problem is that these advisors don’t live their lives or have any downside when they are wrong. They don’t pay the cost of bad strategies. They just sound like everyone else, validate their own lives and escape any downside consequences.
I like helping my friends and my family think for themselves and pursue freedom. I like seeing people win. I like watching people take risk and overcome their limiting beliefs.
I am in a lot of launching conversations lately and I want to put some of my launching beliefs and advice out there.
- You are an individual. Know who you are and spend time thinking about the few things you are world class at. Forget the other mediocre things you do. There’s 300 million people in this country. You can’t compete on your weaknesses. Compete on the few God-given strengths you have.
- Think about the end first. Many kids are simply turning off their brains and going to college to procrastinate. Many parents foot the bill because they don’t know what to do next and are afraid of not sending kids to college. What if you don’t like working in a cubicle? What if you can’t stand the smell of a hospital all day? What if you hate looking at spreadsheets, legal documents and reports all day to get pissed on by an old guy all day? Is that why you work so hard so you can grind like an animal in a factory? Seriously, shadow someone to see what your safe degree path gets you. It might be years of hell before you get the courage to step out of the madness. Most work and work situations truly suck.
- Pick where you want to live first. The details will follow later. It’s hard to move later because you get sunk cost bias. You think of any move as a big deal. It’s very hard to move. And you become a dreamer that is thinking woulda shoulda coulda. I hate hearing people lose their dreams and sell me with their sob stories. They built their own prisons. Boohoo. You picked a crappy strategy and have to live with it. Winning means you get clear on what you want first and do what it takes to get it. Better to learn that process early.
- Don’t live someone else’s life. That was Steve Jobs’ exhortation. Your parents, teachers, friends and even mentors don’t live your life. You do. Turn off the sound. Step outside the clamor. You live with your own decisions and consequences. It’s hard to have personal responsibility, but you cannot blame everyone else after you make choices that other people do not have skin in the game on.
- Love people. That means caring about people deeply, paying attention and always helping. Sonya models this for me so deeply and almost perfectly. She has helped our kids see what loving and going the extra mile looks like in tangible ways. I try to slow down and give my heart and hands where I can. Helping people win is something that is a favorite of mine. But also mourning with others, encouraging people in their awesomeness and sharing some friendship connections. You can always start this life habit anytime.
I hope all those you are mentoring or launching can get clear and change the world in this next generation. God knows we need it. I think a lot of that can happen when we, as mentors, engage and drown out the stupid groupthink that is merely about social validation rather than individual freedom and liberty.