I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.
I know you. You are my step-daughter, my nieces and nephews, my neighbours, my friends’ children, my students and my clients. You are the generation who cares about community, who has taught me about social justice and who isn’t afraid to share your voice. You are creative and compassionate and you are determined and courageous. You have been striving to build your life in meaningful ways according to your values.
I admire you. I have listened to you, read your words, seen your photos and videos, heard your music, and witnessed you in action. I have learned from and admired you for many years, as you were growing up as children and teenagers, and now as you continue to make your mark on the world. And we are lucky that you’re here.
The world needs you.
I’m writing to urge you to continue to stick to your values and follow your curiosities, despite (and maybe because of) the upheaval and uncertainty that the pandemic brings. The world does need you. Know that the rest of us are here to support you as you continue to make choices about who you want to become. I agree with Dr. Tori Weiston-Serdan who says that as young people, “you deserve the best of us so that you can be better than us”.
Temporary setback and permanent shifts
The pandemic brings a temporary setback and some permanent shifts (hopefully many will be positive). Many of you have lost your job or are concerned about how you will complete your college degree. Some of you are on the front lines, in hospitals, nursing homes or grocery stores. Some may be wondering if the job you have/had/are pursuing is really where you want to spend your energies. No doubt all of you are wondering what the future will hold, and what you should do now to prepare both professionally and personally.
Even though I have never lived through anything like this myself, and certainly not in my twenties, I do have a few thoughts on what you might do to respond to the temporary setback and to anticipate the permanent shifts.
- Be kind to and patient with yourself. It’s okay and normal to have both good days and bad days. Accept your feelings as they are – they are real. Talk through them with trusted friends and family members, or a counsellor. It takes time to move through loss – you don’t have to have your whole life or even your next steps figured out right away.
- Attend to the essentials. Focusing on The Big Three (plus 3) will prepare you to be ready, energetic, strong and focused for whatever the future holds and when opportunities to act arise.
- Take stock of your strengths and skills – make a list of those you’ve developed and those you want to deepen. Go on a Strengths date with a friend or partner (I can help you set this up!).
- Continue to learn – there are so many opportunities to attend to your personal and professional growth – develop skills, deepen your knowledge on a topic, connect with experts – check out these sites and courses (and if you want, consider a 6 session career coaching program with yours truly!)
- Focus on your values – make a list of your top 5 values and a list of your non-negotiables when it comes to the career and life you want to live – they will help you stay true to yourself when you have choices to make.
- Follow your curiosities – curiosities often evolve into career paths. Ask yourself questions such as “What topics pique my interest most?” “What do I want more of in my life? Or be in touch with me and I’ll hook you up with some reflection activities, including the Challenge Cards – a unique way to explore possibilities.
- Start a blog or a scrapbook – include your written reflections and photos from this extraordinary time – it will serve as a venue for reflection as well as an artifact for the history books!
- Read about some of the permanent shifts that thought leaders are predicting. Reflect on how you might prepare for these. How might you pivot your career goals yet still optimize your strengths and stay true to your values?
- Practice your interview skills – helpful even if you’re not applying for a job right now, as interviewing is really about using your communication skills, valuable at anytime!
- Know that no one does it alone. It’s okay to be interdependent; in fact, it’s the beauty of being human and leads to a more harmonious society. Some of you may be wanting to show your independence and figure this out on your own. I applaud you for your determination. But know that even in the best of times, no one does it alone. Continue to connect with friends and expand your personal and professional networks in genuine ways. Know that individuals in your network and in your network’s network want to support you and that you have something to offer them too! All you have to do is reach out. And some people have extra time right now, so it’s definitely worth trying. Here’s a helpful article about networking in the time of Covid-19:
Please reach out to those around you – your family, friends and community supports. Of course, I’m also only a phone call away and would be happy to listen and help you design a quick action plan.
I have confidence in you. We will get through this – ça va bien aller.
Thinking of you,