Have you ever felt like you don’t really know who you are?
In terms of identity, many young people have it tough. Tougher than any generation before us.
If you are not already in their shoes, just for a minute, put yourself there.
When you think of the world Gen Ys and Zs have been born into and grown up in, it is not too hard to imagine how immense the pressures are, to be the “expectation of others”.
Born to Baby Boomer or Gen X parents, who for the most part are generations who have strived, worked hard, and struggled to “do, do and do” in their quest for success. Our youth have parental role models who have been very focused on competition, comparison, accumulation and climbing the ladder of success, often just to keep up with the Joneses. Many believed and still believe that the value of their assets, the car they drive, the suburb they live in, the job/career they have and the clothes they wear, define their success.
So just imagine how a young person would feel, to be brought up in this environment. Added to the pressures from the lives their parents are modelling, is the real and immense pressure of social media. Whether they like it or not, our youth live and breathe in – it has become a part of their existence, an extension of their right arm. The world dictates to them through many a social media platform, how to think and act, what to believe and how to be. And is there one way? No, there are millions of ways from one extreme to the next about how they are “supposed” to be.
There is no wonder the confusion, indecision, lack of focus is becoming more and more widespread. Parents, teachers, carers, youth workers are witnessing an epidemic. This has become a reality for many young people. They have no idea who they are, what their core values are and what is important to them. Their awareness of self is almost non-existent. Their foundation is shaky.
They are struggling to belong. And they will keep struggling until they stop trying to “fit in” and become empowered to “stand out”.
The tide is changing for young and old. Many are realising that to “do, do, and do” is not bringing them happiness. Smelling the roses, rediscovering self, having the courage to be authentic and show the real self to the world is a whole new concept. Young people care about family values, friendships, connections, the community, the world.
Let us help inspire and empower our young ones to be “on purpose”, to make a real and positive difference to our world.
So blue frog or green frog?
Well hopefully neither. Hopefully you are whatever you want to be, maybe a speckled green, blue and yellow frog with wings. Have the courage to be the YOU that YOU want to be. Send out your unique ripples. The world will be grateful to receive your gift. When we each put our unique ripple in the ocean, the tide will change and together we will make a difference.
Michelle Lee is a Transformational Youth Coach who is passionate about inspiring youth to harness the values of Courage, Passion and Contribution in order to be “on purpose”.
5 inspirational young people who are “on purpose” will share their ripples with other young people at her event Youth “On Purpose” in Newcastle Australia. Book your ticket here