Millennials often get a bashing for being narcissistic, snowflakes who expect success and opportunities to be handed to them. Wow, how harsh and judgemental is that. Now they aren’t saying about themselves, so I am guessing it’s their older peers who pass on these negative judgements. Yet these same peers can also be the people to encourage, support and mentor them. And X-Gen (born 1985-1970) are just the people to do it.
Why are they feeling like under achievers and how to help them?
Lack of autonomy #1
- A character trait well developed and respected by GenX and the Boomers who are able to make decisions independently. The Millennials often struggle to make decisions by themselves because of the over involvement of their parents in their lives. Helicopter parenting meant that this generation were prevented from failing, always had someone else to fight their battles and stopped them from grappling with life’s big challenges. The parents probably had distant parents (emotionally and mentally) so they overcompensated with their children by getting overly involved in navigating their children’s and young adults’ lives. So much so that the millennials seek collaboration in all decisions. So now, as adults, when they are being asked to step up, make decisions about their lives or to take responsibility, they feel like failures. I read in the wall street journal how some parents even accompany their offspring to job interviews, still make their lunch or take them to work each day. No wonder they feel like underachievers when adulthood doesn’t start until they hit their 30’s.
- So, we need to coach them to make decisions and develop autonomy – and if they fail, celebrate the fact that they tried. Confidence comes by trying new things and mastering them. Help develop their sense of autonomy and competence by encouraging them to take responsibility and supporting them. When they don’t know how to do something, rather than swooping in to fix, ask, “what could your try?” or “what have you considered doing but haven’t yet?”. Help them to discover that they actually have all the answers and resources if they tap into them.