Decreasing Teen’s Anxiety About Their Plans After High School

Career Coach & Team Builder
Sarah-Jane VandenBerg, a published author and popular facilitator, with over 25 years experience with individuals in difficult and transitioning circumstances, has empowered thousands of people to make successful life changing career decisions. Her strengths of seeing possibilities, being intrigued by the unique qualities of individuals, and of communicating enable her to focus on you having a fun, enlightening and effective experience. She is known for her humorous and realistic approach in sharing her knowledge and wisdom.
October 23, 2020

We are in an Environmental Crisis.

Robots are going to take over the world.

Narcissistic liars are leading our countries.

Headlines like these can propel anyone to feel anxious about our future, but teens are especially vulnerable as they come to the conclusion, “What is the point?” For anyone of us who comes in contact with teens or their parents or grandparents, youth leaders, teachers, aunts and uncles, our opportunity is to give them information of hope. And there is lots.

Today, I am focussing on three key messages that we can all share:

  1. While the above messages may be true, the other side of those statements is that opportunity exists.
  2. We need teens; they are the key to solving these problems.
  3. They will figure out their paths.

In all the situations mentioned, the environment, artificial intelligence and leadership, opportunities to positively impact our worlds are present.  In researching for this article, I came across some amazing information.  Some opportunities combine all three!  Did you know that there are Artificial Intelligence guided tree-planting drones which, guided by a pilot, can: map an area to identify prime planting locations and fire seed pods tucked inside of biodegradable missiles into the ground?  Did you know that “A single pilot can fly six drones at once, planting a staggering 100,000 trees a day. A global army of ten thousand drones, which is what BioCarbon intends to build, could replant a billion trees a year.”?

While at a national career conference in January 2020, I attended a presentation on The Challenge Mindset which suggests a revolutionary and fresh and practical way of career decision making and is based on one simple statement the creator, JP Michel, makes about teens: “We need them”. Why?  We need them to solve the problems that currently exist.  We need their energy, their ingenuity, their passion and their boldness.  In her book, Earth Is Hiring, Peta Kelly describes a new way to “live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t”.  When is the last time you told a teen: “We need you!”?

As a career coach, I know that humans do figure out their career paths.  As a parent and as a human, I am constantly reassuring young people and their parents that they will figure a path out – in their own time.  The world is changing faster than ever before, so what we think we will be doing to earn a living in five years, might be different than what will actually be happening, which means that five year plans might no longer make the most sense.  The key is to encourage our teens to take a step.  This step might be towards what they think they want.  It might also be a step towards clarifying or uncovering what they want.  Our teens don’t have to have all the answers for the entire path right now – like the gps or maps we use every day to get us from point A to point B – they simply get to take a next step.

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