Help your teens discover their life purpose and set the stage for success.
EXCITED LITTLE FACES lit up when I recently asked a class of five-year-olds the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Astronaut, ballerina, explorer, and mermaid were some of their enthusiastic answers. This is a beautiful age for little hearts to dream big.
Fast forward and ask the same question to teens making their subject choices for college or university, or forging a career path after leaving school and we see the spark disappear. Fears and worries cloud judgement. Limiting thoughts take over such as, “Will my exam results be good enough to take me into my subject of choice? Will I get one of the limited places? Will they like me? Should I choose my second or third favourite, but what feels like the safest option?”
Life could look very different for these teens if they learnt how to stay open to future possibilities without limiting beliefs. Here are some of the tips I share with all my teen classes for how to stay true to what your heart desires and follow the path you were destined to fulfill.
1. GET QUIET
Have you ever asked a class of teens, “What do you want to do when you leave school?” If you have, then you are well aware of the blank faces and the utters of, “I dunno.” In order to live a life of purpose, and choose the right path for you, first you must know what that path could look like. And the only way to access this information is to be still, become very quiet, and listen. Because our inner voice is different to our outer voice, and we must use practices that help us to connect with it. Breathing exercises, such as belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing, work well. Teaching teens to quiet their minds and listen to their inner guidance will serve them now when making their career choices, as well as in all future life decisions.
2. DREAM BIG
Once the mind is quiet, it allows our inner knowing to surface. Ask your teen to take a piece of paper and journal all thoughts that spring up. If they have a blank, instruct them to answer these questions: If I could be anything, what would it be? If I could do anything, what would I do? Encourage them to dream big and not limit what thoughts come up, but to write down every possibility.
3. MANAGE YOUR MIND
Once you have a clear understanding of your direction, what it is you want to do or become, then comes the task of managing any limiting or negative beliefs that surface. My teen yoga classes love an exercise I call ‘chuck it’. Ask your teen to write down on a piece of paper any negative, limiting, or disempowering beliefs they have about their future direction, job or purpose. It could be something like, “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough”, or a worry or fear such as, “What if I don’t succeed?” Then have them tear it all up and throw it in the bin.
4. MANAGE YOUR NETWORK OF CONVERSATIONS
The conversations teens have with their friends, classmates, teachers and family are as important as the conversations they have with themselves. The conversations they hear become part of their conversations and then become their thoughts. Thoughts create their reality. If your teen is having positive conversations of hope, belief and success, that will lead to success.
If they are having conversations about failure, worry, fear and self-doubt, it will lead to stress and anxiety, which may limit their capacity for achieving their dreams. Ensure you speak in positive language around them, as well as have them uplift themselves by doing the same thing. Finally, have your teen write down their big dream or goal and place it by their bed, so they see it when they go to sleep and as soon as they wake up. At the end of the day, ask them, “What’s one thing you did today that’s moving you toward your dream, goal or purpose?”
5. TAKE BOLD ACTION
Achieving a dream job or living your purpose is a destination — destiny can only be achieved through taking action. As important as it is to dream big, so is taking big, bold actions. These actions must be translated into measurable goals. Be sure to set both destination and journey goals. Of course we have the end goal in mind, but it’s important to set milestones along the journey too. Encourage your teen to go for it, to fill in that application form to the university of their dreams, to take responsibility for the effort they are putting in, to study with 100% focus, make bold calls to companies they would love to work for. Those who sit on their dreams and procrastinate stay stuck. Teens who want success take action toward their dreams and goals.
6. CELEBRATE WINS
Each time a milestone is achieved, remember to celebrate, as this will help build confidence, enthusiasm and momentum. The best time of year to initiate this is right now. Take a step outside your door to see the power of intention and manifestation in action. Plant roses and they will grow, plant weeds and they will grow. Likewise, plant the seed of a job you want, a place you want to work or a university you want to get into, attend to that thought, take the right action and it will eventuate. Plant the seed that you are not good enough, that you won’t succeed and that will grow instead. Henry Ford said it best when he famously quoted, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” What seed will you plant today? What actions will you take? What conversations will you have? How persistent and focused will you be? The choice is yours — your future is determined by you.
Yoga Journal: NOV/DEC 2017 – Issue 63