Young Adult Self-Sabotage

Why are so many young people willing to self-sabotage every aspect of their potential future?
Young adult self-sabotage is everywhere. Not participating in class, not doing the required studying, staying up late, sleeping most of the day away and missing more and more school. For quite a few, video gaming and/or substance abuse is another big factor.

The most frustrating part of this is that these same people are very often gifted in some way and yet here they are ….. off the tracks.

Many young people today are able to thrive or at least get by in a nuclear or single parent family, learning from their caregivers and finding other elders to learn from at school, sports, dance, music, etc. These young people grow through the ritual of daily tasks of homework, tests and projects. Graduation becomes their rite of passage. But what if your child does not connect to such a system? This creates young adult self-sabotage.

You’ve tried it all — traditional therapy, behavioral therapy, conditioned response, pharmaceuticals, begging, pleading, tough love — and some of it worked for a while and some didn’t work at all.

Young adults sabotage can leave all concerned feeling hopeless sometimes.
Feeling that your child will never grow up and take responsibility, but it has been my experience that some alternative approaches can make a world of difference. Once your troubled teen or young adult goes beyond their regular world filled with all the trappings that keep him/her where they are and finds a support system with a mentor / life- coach who is non-judgmental, on their side and open to thinking “outside the box”, that child will become motivated to start the process of getting back on track.

Four ways to create success for a troubled teen or young adult.

  1. 1. Find a mentor to work with your child.
    Someone not from the immediate family, preferably through Skype. Skype sessions allow the client to learn positive new habits at the place where they usually get in trouble: their computers.

Have the mentor ask the student these pertinent questions:
a) Name three goals you would like to work on.
b) What are the challenges to those goals?
c) What would be the first sign-posts of success?

2. The mentor and the student can put together a daily routine based on the student’s goals and interests
(e.g. meditation, yoga, tai chi, weight lifting, biking, jogging, playing an instrument, singing and reading). Basically all the things we were told that have no real financial benefit. Start with two 5 – 15 minute routines to be attempted five to six days a week. Then slowly build up to as many routines that the client feels they can comfortably handle. (Five is a good final number.) Make a weekly worksheet that divides the tasks into columns. Make room for the student to write the duration of each daily exercise (0-20). The goal of these exercises is to empower the student. These exercises are self-motivated without help from the family.

3. Hold bi-weekly meetings discussing progress.
Looking at existing obstacles and exploring solutions to these obstacles in a non-judgmental way. Therapy works well in once-a-week sessions. Mentoring / life coaching young adults requires two times a week. We are building whole new structures to succeed. This requires six to nine months of twice-a-week support until the client has internalized the habits.

4. During these sessions the mentor asks: 
“If you could do anything at all with your life, without concern of how you would make it happen, what would you choose?”
With this answered, the mentor and the student can go about finding ways to put their toes into the pond of these life purpose quests. Whittling away at young adult self-sabotage. It could be a 12-week workshop, a college class, a volunteer position or starting a small business. This time is used to help the student bring his “daily work” training into these new situations. To enhance his successful patterns accordingly. For so many young people, their home has been their box of safety and joy. Something they find wonderful and yet limiting . . . not a good long-term strategy.

Mentoring young adults is an important goal is to help these newly empowered youth create the tools they need. Allowing them  to feel safe going out into the world successfully. To eradicate young adult self-sabotage, you need to create mini-boxes of safety for them to thrive in. Places where they can learn to be self-empowered. Without exception, students who go through the entire process choose self-empowerment over self-sabotage. They not only succeed but most often become examples of leadership in their chosen vocation.

Help your child find their inspiration and get on track for a successful life!

Know a teen or young adult in need of mentoring? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com

Interested in Mentoring Millennials? Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com

Young Adult Depression and Life Coaching Young Adults

What is young adult depression? One of the things I hear more often than anything else as a mentor for young adults is parents asking for help with their child’s school failures, depression, low self-esteem and video game (and/or pot) addiction.

Often the depression seems most prevalent on both the parent’s and the potential client’s (the young adult in question) mind. What I often say to this is: “Most of us tend to see things in reverse order”.

Reverse Memory Syndrome with Young Adult Depression:
When a client has a “discussion” with his or her parent for the bazillionth time about why they stay up so late, the parents tell the young person why they are doing it and why it’s wrong. The client tries to explain what is really going on. Neither side listens. Voices raise and finally the client tells the parents to do something that is anatomically impossible. That’s when the parents say: “We just tell you how you need to be more responsible about going to sleep at a good time and all you do is shout and scream and curse at us”. That is reverse memory syndrome. The escalation and the accusing gets lost as a factor in the final result.

Reverse memory syndrome is often the reason why the depression is foremost on the minds of the people who contact me with the issues stated above. Let’s deconstruct the actual order of events for these clients and parents contacting me.

When Millennials were magic.
This generation is the first one that was told that actually everything they did was perfect. They were the best crayoners; the best howlers; the best poopers; and everybody got a medal when they “competed”… (you wonder why they think they’re magic).

For this particular group, they were able to pull off acceptable or really good marks out of their butts at the last minute at school and of course, Mumzy and Dadzy told them “they were magic”!!

Until they weren’t magic anymore.
Fast forward to the time when pulling marks out your butt (beside being non-hygienic) no longer works for our magic client. What comes next? False epiphanies.

Most of the people I meet have at some time come up to “issues” that blocked them in their lives. When natural talent wasn’t enough anymore. At that point, if they come up with “gee, I better learn some new study habits and work harder” I never get to see them. However, if they go for the false epiphanies: “My magic is gone”, “I am stupid”, “The world is not safe” or “If I choose to fail and I do… then I’ve won”, that’s when they are getting into choosing bad coping mechanisms.

What are those coping mechanisms? Self-medication (Video games or pot), anxiety, negative self-speak (low self-esteem) or depression.

Being careful with issues such as young adult depression.
There are thee kinds of depression that one comes across as a mentor for young adults.

1) Situation-based depression where the client’s constant failures and inability to find a way out lead to depression.

2) Negative self-speak depression. Where the mind has stopped being a motivational force and has become the worst in-your-head parent constantly leading to you towards self-defeat. This requires learning to retrain the mind through mindfulness-based exercises (meditation, visualization or things like yoga).

3) True clinical depression; a chemical imbalance requiring mental health professionals to do what they do best and help find the best way to get back that proper balance.

When it comes to clinical young adult depression, a Mentor’s job is make sure that a good mental health specialist is onboard, chosen by the family and that we help make sure that this label is not all that the client becomes but is a new starting point to help that client find their personal powers.

For situation-based and negative self-speak based depression, we begin with choosing goals, the challenges to those goals and the first indicators of success, creating micro-successes through daily routines chosen by the client and with the client in charge. The Mentor’s job is to let the client walk every step of that journey and simply help them out of dead ends in a way that speaks to the client.

We teach the client organization skills that makes sense to them in incremental stages. How to pick the best times to succeed in adding studying into their lives when it seemed impossible before. The learn how to advocate for themselves with teachers, school staff and parents (seeing both sides of the equation).

We work on finding the mindfulness-bases system that best works for them
Deep Breathing, Visualization, Mediation or, for some Prayer. The client starts in five or ten minute increments. Beginning by doing the work first with their mentors and slowly being able to do it on their own over time. This is the beginning of self-motivated empowerment.

The big take away.
Everyone tends to see things in reverse. Become a detective, free of judgment and go back and look for false epiphanies, coping mechanisms and most importantly, seek out people outside the family to help Mentor the child and the family to find that person’s true magic. It is there, waiting to be found.

Interested in mentoring Millennials? Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com

Know a Millennial in need of mentoring? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com

Young Adults Failing at University

Young adults failing at university. This is the time of year where old habits get in the way of troubled teens and young adults in school.
The Just-in-Time habits from high school have not helped in mentoring young adults to succeed in college/university. This is where life coaching young adults in new ways to succeed is desperately needed.

In fact, these just-in-time habits have raised a lot of university student’s anxiety levels about whether they will or will not succeed to the point of the inevitability of failure in their minds. Most young people’s response: Ignore it and maybe it will go away… it doesn’t.

I have good news and bad news.

Bad news:  Dealing with young adults failing at University; The likelihood of them sharing these troubles with their parents is between zero and not-a-chance-in-hell. Not because they don’t care. Because they often care too much and don’t want to disappoint and unfortunately, the internet has trained them to one great Millennial truth: if life is overwhelming there are unlimited ways to get quick gratification through gaming; facebooking; youtubing and many other wonderful diversions.

Good news: Chances are your Millennials really does care and just doesn’t know how to move forward. Let us share with you some tips that really help the young adults we life coach.

Here are five simple steps to help your Young Adults Failing at University:

1) Your calendar is your friend. Write down in your calendar all of your classes (one color) all of your tutorials (another color) papers (a third color) and exams (you guessed it). Put in reminders for the first class of the day and any classes that are after more than a one-hour break.
2) Pick your reading times in each day. Once you have your outline of the stuff you have to show up for, it is easier to figure out what days and times are best to do the required readings.
3) Reading requirements: Go through all reading requirements and keep notes about when you do what and how you are required to do it.
4) Gravitate to the kids-who-care. There is usually an area in classes where students are who actually care about their work. Get in that area. Make connections with the ones that seem like they might be good to create study groups with.
5) Your teachers and T.A’s are your best resource. When s**t hits the fan and you are having problems, teachers and T.A’s are a great resource to get on track.

Parents
To get these things working requires an outside person; a Mentor. Someone who does not have all the history of issues in the past. Someone who can say things you may have suggested in a way that your child will actually do! That is why it is so helpful to seek out life coaching for young adults.

I train Life Coaches and Mentors to work with troubled teens and young adults struggling with these issues and what we find is that families the invest in a Mentor for the children are helping the whole family succeed.

Success in school: success in family communication; success in organization and so much more. Consider getting a Life Coach / Mentor for young adults as one of the best investments you could ever choose!

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Ken

Interested in mentoring young adults? Click here.

If your child is in serious mental health crisis, please look into it immediately. This link is a good staring place. Click here. When things are more settled, life coaching can be a great addition to a complete program.

Top 10 Tips for Successful Homework Habits

Why bother? I won’t need it in “real life”. This is the question heard over and over again in bedrooms, school hallways and principals waiting rooms for as long as there has been chalk.

No one can tell you what will help you subject-wise in the future but the one thing I can guarantee you is that if you can master self-discipline in learning new things and being able to talk intelligently on the subject afterwards, you will do well in whatever you do.

It’s the process – not the subject

The tips below have been worked on by many of my students who have gone from average or failing grades to 80’s and higher. More importantly, the skills will be helpful in growing in this every-changing world.

Successful homework tips:

1. Those who do not learn from it are doomed to repeat it; they were talking about history but it could be pretty much anything. There is a big difference between beating yourself up about past mistakes and learning from them and moving on. There’s a whole other way to go and that’s denial. Don’t go there. It may feel good at the time but it doesn’t help. Learn from your mistakes and move on. We only get better by embracing our failures, dusting ourselves off and getting back on that exam bronco.

2. Sleep helps. Guarantee yourself an easier time to succeed (isn’t this what it’s all about?) by making sure you are well rested on school days. I know you’ve heard it before but make it be something that you choose to do for yourself. You’ll feel empowered.

3. Divide and conquer. It’s all about the notes. Good notes depend on how much of the important notes are in handouts, how much is in the texts and how much is in the class notes. Getting someone who has taken the class to give you the right blend of the three will go along way to having the right notes.

4. Keep your eyes on the prize. Your job is to figure out how to take good notes and to make sure that you can stay focused for the length of any given class. Too many smart students received less marks then they should have because they would tune out 30 minutes into the class. If your class is 45 minutes, find some interesting extra-curricular hobby that gets you to focus for that amount of time; meditation, martial art, discussion groups, debate clubs, chess… anything that gets you to push your concentration once or twice a week to the length of your regular school class. You’ll be amazed at how much better your note taking will be.

5. Teachers can help! The vast majority of teachers really want you to do well. Booking a time to meet with them and to understand what is important to them about their class will save you tons of guess-work and let you focus on what is really important in the class.

6. HTWFAIP – Anyone who knows me knows I rave about this book and for good reason. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a fantastic book that helps you understand how to appreciate people and benefit in your dealings with them. This may sound weird as a homework tip but there are times when stuff doesn’t go right. If you use the principles in that book when meeting with your teacher, you will find the best ways to succeed in any sticky situation. Remember, your parents will gladly stick up for you but you learn the most (for your entire life) by representing yourself.

7. Timing is everything:
Paper training. How often have you waited to just before the deadline of one or more projects, only to realize that you also had to start getting ready for your exams.

Simple solution:
a) Take the date you receive your project and the end date,
b) Divide those date in half and make that your new due-date.
c) Organize the time from your start date to your new due-date by dividing the tasks that have to happen (research, notes, first drafts, editing, etc.,). This gives you more time to organize your exams.

8. Exam prep.
If you have followed tips one to six, you have the basic prep for a successful exam schedule. Remember, we want you walking out of each of those exams knowing you kicked butt! If it is the only exam in that time period, give yourself three to five days to review and test yourself.

If it is one of a series of tests, do the following:

1) Look over all the exams you have to take,
2) Rate them on difficulty and amount of study time needed,
3) Make a time chart of when you need to focus on the upcoming exam and how much time you need to keep prepping for the tougher exams.

Burnt Brains may be a delicacy in some Indiana Jones flick but they have no place in your weekly note-taking world. If you are fuzzy, you cannot study. Save it for a time that won’t compromise learning: Friday nights, Saturday nights and summers. You may get to the point that many of my students get to that realize it really is never worth not “being there”.

9. Reward yourself!
Pick something you really like; a video game, a movie, a great album – and give yourself a 50/50 treat. X minutes of homework gives you x minutes of your treat. Guess what! I’m using that system right now to write this article.

10. Don’t Panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had it right. Of course they were talking about the Earth being made into an intergalactic parking lot and we are talking about your exams. They’re pretty close… except for the end of the world part.

The biggest enemies to good grades are bad prep and needless fears

Go back in your mind to a great exam that you felt good in and remember how you thought and felt. Let’s call this your “success place”. Whenever you are studying or going into and exam and fears come, recall your “success place”. Especially how it felt.

You are tying your future successes to positive feelings. It works for golfers, boxers, musicians and it will work for you.

There you have it. The keys are in your hands. It has helped many of my students to succeed at their very best. Remember, reward yourself for the good stuff and don’t get too hung up on the bumps along the way.

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Mentoring Millennials – The Difference Between Heaven and Hell

How do we Mentor Millennials and get them where they need to go? Start with where you are… So here we are. A new year has begun. Your Millennial is back in university and you are hoping that last year’s effort (best described as crap-tabulous) will not be repeated. Horrible marks. Terrible self-talk/self-image. Massive anxiety.
Here’s the worst part… who can you talk to about your child? Especially if you believe (as so many of the parents who talk to me about this feel) that every other person’s child is doing fine and it is just your child who cannot cope.

I will give you the answer to the parent/Mentor issue at the end of this article but let’s start first with helping your Millennial:

The Three Challenges

1. Just-in-Timers. for lots of students, it was easy in High School to wait to the last minute, binge study and pull off some nifty grades. The harsh reality is that this doesn’t work in University/College and the student does not have the resources or experience to try another way.

2. The Deliciousness of Indulgence. Being away from home and having no external controls, mixed with a massive amount of booze, weed and fellow video-gamers with unlimited internet access is a recipe for badness. The uninformed will say “just say no”… good luck with that.

3. The Scourge of Social Anxiety.
This is at epidemic proportions in North America. This anxiety can make it practically impossible to reach out for help in school. Making it difficult to get back on track when they fall behind, it can push them to make self-destructive choices when the inevitability of their situation is shoved in their face by mid-terms.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/millennials-stress_b_2718986.html

The Three Solutions


1. Just-in-timers meet the Daily Routine.
By starting with the simplest tasks inserted in one’s day-to-day life, the Millennial learns to use a scheduler (why does this generation prefer to keep notes on loose slips of paper?!?) to take control of their daily lives. It may seem like a small step but simply being able to do one five minute task a day instills in them what they didn’t get by obligation or just-in-timing High School

2. Indulgence meet Observation: Remember what I said about “just say no”? Well double that on this one. We are not talking about people doing serious stuff in a way that is self-endangering. Those people need immediate action but for those indulging just enough to keep them from doing anything in life; here is the solution; observe it. Yes. Notice when you are doing your indulgence. Think about why you are doing it. Is it to self-medicate (i.e. deal with your anxiety)? Is it to alleviate boredom? Is it for social sharing? Is it ‘just ‘cuz? This may seems nuts but all of those are valid. The trick is to figure out which one, when, offer better things to do that you would enjoy more for some and leave the others (at the beginning). This is the start of conscious use and helps make different choices in the future.

3. Calming Social Anxiety. This can seem so formidable. It requires a Mentor who conveys non-judgmental trust. It requires the Mentee/Millennial looking at their challenge with kindness instead of harsh self-judgment and then to implement the following over six months; deep breathing (versus shallow breathing); visualization/meditation; learning positive self-talk; patience and relaxation.

Why Mentoring Millennials May Not Work (at first)

OK. It will work. (Deep breaths please). The three solutions I mention above work for 90% of the Millenials I encounter, just please don’t try this at home folks at least until you finish this article: Let’s start with a story:

The Long Spoons.

So… true story. I wanted to understand Heaven and Hell. So first, I travelled to Hell (Insert Donald Trump joke here…)
There were rows of tables piled high with platters of the most delicious food. Each platter was more aromatic and more beautiful to behold than the last. Every person held a full spoon but both arms were splinted with wooden slats making it impossible to bend their elbows to bring the food to their mouths. The people were emaciated, suffering and bereft of hope.

So I went to Heaven (Insert Wayne Dyer tribute here…)
Everything was the same. Same tables, same platters of food, same splints on the arms making it impossible to bend elbows but the people were satiated, happy and fulfilled. The big difference: In Heaven as a person picked up their spoon and dug into the nourishment availed to them, they stretched across the table and fed the person across from them. That person thanked them and then leaned across the table to feed their neighbor.

What’s This Got to Do with Me?!?

Chances are there is nothing wrong with your mentoring skills (if you have been working on them) but imagine the mentor is the person with the spoon, the wisdom is the food and the person starving is your child. You cannot mentor your own child, the whole concept of tribe was designed to have you mentor your neighbor’s child and them mentor yours’.

This is why people come to Professional Mentors/Life Coaches like myself and the Mentors I train. This is why you should become a mentor but get a distant relative or friend from another city to study mentoring with you. Then, you mentor their child and they should mentor yours’.

Let’s start a movement and use the long spoons the way the were meant to be used. I believe the Millennials have the potential to be the greatest generation since the 1940’s but they need new mentoring paradigms.

Find someone you trust and believe in to train you and your mentoring partner and begin a tiny revolution! It shall grow.

4 Steps to a Successful School Year

The new school year is upon us and like Ebenezer Scrooge, we are not sure if it is the ghosts of past, present or future school years that shall be visited upon us. Here are four steps to guarantee a successful school year (guarantee void where prohibited by over-achieving siblings who make us look bad no-matter-what).

We are rarely taught how to succeed in life. Some people “have it” while for others, success seems elusive. Many of us have some things we do well but don’t always know how to transfer those successes to the things in our life that challenge us.

Here are some steps that will help you have a successful school year.
It can however be used for anything you choose to excel in.
P.L.A.Y Prepare, Listen, Assess, Your Rewards

1. Prepare.
Space. The final frontier…. either it helps you take care of business or makes a mushy brain.
a) Workspace:
Where do you do your reading and writing for school?
Is it at your computer work-desk or do you have a separate area for schoolwork.
(on or near the floor of your bed does not count) Wherever it is:
Decide to make this area clutter-free.
You don’t need to do it all at once unless you have a desire to.
Simply do five minutes of organizing every time you go to this area.
Within a week most of it will be done.
A proper workspace free of clutter frees the mind of a subtle constant stress.
b) Reference Finding your stuff when you need it is half the battle.
Set up proper shelving for any books or binders that will be required for your classes.
Make sure that the materials will be easily seen and accessible when you need it.
Organize some drawers for “stuff” that usually clutters your workspace.
c) Feng Sh-who?
Look at the images you have on your walls.
Make sure that they are ones that inspire you to success.
d) Time.
Once you know your schedule for the next term, write down your class, travel, homework, clean-up and kicking-around times into a weekly schedule.
Add to the last day of the week time to reorganize your work area throughout the school year. Consider it a weekly reset to being organized.
If you use a smartphone – start using either Google Calendar or iCal for writing in your weekly schedule. Use it on your computer as well. Your scheduler should always be up to date. If there is a change to one scheduled event do the change right away. Make it so that whatever is written in your schedule is always dependable. Being organized and showing up where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there is empowering.

2. Listen. Concentrate. Read. Engage!
Notes.
Note taking in class is an art. You have to figure out what is important and where to focus your work. Also, figure out the standard duration of the classes you are taking and do a concentration exercise at home (meditation is a great one) that is 5 minutes more than your standard class. If you can train yourself to focus for a whole class, you can make sure you are ready for whatever important notes need to be taken.
Do the reading! Then try to ask the occasional informed question. This helps you make sure that you are on track and it creates a good connection with the teacher. They really are there to help you.
Know yourself! If you are going to waste time if you have a computer in class, do hand written notes and then transcribe them at home. Don’t put stumbling blocks in your way.

3. Assess and Re-assess Projects, Tests. Re-tests?
Remember the kid who always did their book reports the day after they were given? They were on to something. Without being overzealous, try to get reports finished by the half-way mark from the day they are given to the day they are due. This is only good if you have all the information, of course.
Tests. Most first tests are there to help the teacher assess you and help you assess your strengths and challenges in a class. If one part or many parts are off the mark that you were shooting for, make an appointment to see the teacher and ask the teacher how you can prepare to get the marks you want. If you failed, see if there is something you can do as a make-up to improve that mark and still ask how you can study more efficiently for the class. Once more; teachers really do like to see people do well and are usually pleasant when you see them off-hours to improve. (Major note – take responsibility for your “mess-up” instead of making excuses. They will respect you for that)

4. Your Rewards. Enjoy life! Give yourself treats!
If you know where you are going with your future career, find out what marks are needed (and what courses are needed) and shoot for that grade point average. If you are not sure, you can never go wrong with low 80’s.
Working successfully means having a complete life. Do your work and then reward yourself with some video game play or anything that won’t affect you waking up clear for the next day (watching the ring trilogy at two in the morning is not recomended).
When you are making changes, let your parents know your plans.
Everyone benefits from good lines of communication.

There you have it. The four steps to a successful school year.
The whole world is a P.L.A.Y. Get out there and remember:
it is only through failures that we learn to succeed…

My Child is Failing! What Did I Do Wrong?

Hello. I’m Ken Rabow. I am a life coach for troubled teens, unmotivated young adults and their families. A great deal of my work is with students in jeopardy of completely failing their school year or Millenials now living at home, playing video games all day, who have dropped out. So maybe it’s best to say that I am a turn-your-life-around coach.

Each time I meet with their parents, the title of this article is the unspoken question in each of their minds, followed by what I imagine is even harsher versions of inner self-flagellation.

So, I am here to tell you parents that these particular types of students are simply highly gifted people whose talents do not catch on fire from the standard models. No therapy; micro-managing; freedom or meditative chanting: “go do your work!… go do your work!! …. go do your work!!!” will help.

In fact, what these young adults really need is someone outside their circle of friends and family to create a safe space for them to stop their whole world twice a week, help them take a deep breath, exhale their fears and self-doubts and look at where they are in their lives. Asking themselves if they are truly ready to make meaningful changes in their lives. It really isn’t supposed to work with someone too close to him or her. Think of all the people we have always had around us in tribes and families throughout all of time.

It is proved over and over without a shadow of a doubt that the parents have done great parenting when these young people show that they are now ready to consider empowering themselves in some positive, but alternative way. Just by considering it, their lives are put on a better path.

You have done your work. Loved them, nurtured them and allowed them the space to find their own path and guess what? Many of our most inspirational leaders were exactly these kinds of people; Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and many more. I wonder how their parents felt in the rocky school years.

The psychologist Rollo May explained that there were certain stages of development:
Innocence: the pre-self-conscious stage of the infant.
Rebellion: wanting freedom without understanding the ramifications that go along with it.
Decision: Deciding what to do with their lives and fulfilling the rebellion stage’s needs.
Ordinary: Conformity and traditional values (What? Your kid missed this one?)
Creative: Self-actualized, authentic and caring.

Not everything is supposed to be done inside the family unit. Its OK.
I shall leave you with a Rollo May quote:
Tell the child,
Look, I love you, I believe in you.
I know you are going through a lot of upset the only thing that counts
is that in the long run, you find out who you are and you live it
.”

The Slacker’s Guide to Success – Introduction

The Slacker’s Guide to Success is Ken Rabow’s method based on his work Life Coaching Troubled Teens, Young Adults and their Families over the past 13 years. Here is an excerpt. Enjoy!

An Introduction to The Slackers Guide to Success By Ken Rabow
So, you know you’re brilliant. Your parents know you’re brilliant. Your dog thinks you’re amazing, then why are so many things not working out in your life?

Hi, My name is Ken Rabow and I work with young adults struggling to find their place in the world. The ones I take on as clients are those who really want to make changes in their lives. Many of the clients I work with come to me when they have…
a) Been stuck in part-time jobs without a future
b) Become addicted to video games; or pot; or magic cards or something else.
c) Failed a course, a term or a whole school year
d) Major sleep or anger “issues”
e) All of the above.
Don’t you just love multiple choice?!?

As one of my clients once said to me:
“I really like staying at home, playing video games all day in my bathrobe…..
but I’m beginning to think that it’s not a great long-term plan”.
Let us call that client Skeeter. At the writing of this blog Skeeter is back in school working on a science degree. In his first semester, he caught the attention of an amazing professor doing ground-breaking research who has hired Skeeter in the lab.
So how did Skeeter go from being a stay-in-his room slacker to an up-and-coming science guy? And why should you care if you are into something else or don’t even want to go to school but have dreams of starting your own business or killer app?
Because! 🙂

Okay, that’s a parent-y answer. The real answer is that what worked for Skeeter can work for you in any field, in any format, in any situation. Your success will come from:
• finding your power
• learning to believe in yourself
• determining how to build habits that guarantee success and
• discovering the secret to success through messing up.

Yes, I’m here to tell you that you can’t really be great at anything until you can get past…. perfectionism.
That’s what this system is all about and it works! Each time. Every time.
I’ve seen so many young people change their lives around. There are a lot of people out there who deserve to learn how to be their very best and do great things in their lives.
I’ve written these articles so you can benefit from this “out of the box” approach that I have refined in my private practice over the years. This process that will enable you to succeed on your own terms. If you follow this method, you will find yourself growing in character and soon enough you will discover yourself achieving successes you didn’t dare dream of. You will find that it’s great to get out of bed every morning, feeling good about
An Introduction to The Slackers Guide to Success By Ken Rabow
doing things that earns people’s respect. More importantly, you will feel good about yourself for your personal achievements
.
You will need to do these exercises with a coach/mentor, preferably someone who is not a close relative or who sees you on a day-to-day basis. You need someone you can talk to, someone who will keep your secrets, someone who will respect you and let you grow at your own pace.
There are three sections in these articles and each section is one full stage of development. The first stage is personal development, the second stage, professional develpment is bringing your personal development out into the world with your new strengths and the third stage, inner development is giving back to the world and growing as a person.
Here is a brief outline of the 13 steps in three stages. Enjoy!
Stage One – Personal Development
1) Investigation: Looking at our strengths; challenges, past patterns; coping strategies and choosing role models and events or ideas as inspirations.
2) Opportunity: Searching for a mentor. Choosing three goals, defining the challenges to those goals and indicators of success
3) Mindsets: Abundance, Poverty Mentality and False Epiphanies.
4) Generativity: Creating your daily routine of a personal meaningful practice.
Finding the blocks that stop you from succeeding and creating remedies.
5) Out Into The World (and back again) Bringing your new skills in to practice in the outside world in a safe and limited way.
6) Setting limits: Learning to set limits gracefully on the time-stealers in your life.
7) Direction. (Following your bliss) Creating the groundwork for a successful, enjoyable life.
Stage Two – Professional Development
8) Out into the world: Putting into practice stage one in a more extended fashion and transforming all you have learned into new situations.
9) Forming new boxes of safety: Using mindfulness and success consciousness out there and seeing how they work in new situations while learning to feel safe.
10) Creating new generative structures. Schedules, coping and new friends.
11) Making your addictions work for you. Using your urges to indulge your addictions as a reward for doing the work you need to get done.
Stage Three – Inner Development
12) A complete life. Learning a sustainable daily practice of being mindful in
learning, work, relationships and even play.
13) Pay it forward: Once you’ve reached this point, your life is richer, you are happier and you will truly want to help others grow in their own way. This step will teach you how to do that.

Get the book; paperback or Kindle! Click here

Boomers! Millenials! Do These 7 Things to Survive Each Other

Baby-boomers. You thought you had it all together, man! Like, you were totally prepared! The right retirement savings plan, paid off the house early, avoided Bernie Madoff and even had time to live a healthy enough lifestyle to enjoy your retirement but…

The one thing you could never have planed for,
the one thing that makes Madoff look like a shmear at Carnegie deli reared it’s uncoiffed head… Millenials! If we were prone to metaphors, we might liken them to hurricanes on cyprolex… wiping out people’s savings, destroying homes (at least making them very messy), going into a rages or depressions without warning and sleeping really late while texting… so much for the metaphors.

Now here you are having to continue to work to pay for a 2nd or 3rd university education to prepare your 20-something to work as a Barista (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Millenials: You thought you had it all together, bro.
You had it totally planned. If by planned you mean buying into the ‘rents song and dance about education, hockey and
showing up for Christmas (and actually talking), avoiding the great recession by … oh wait… you didn’t ☹

The one thing you never planned for
, the one thing that makes the great recession look like a bad socio-economic hair day is the dreaded… Boomers! If we were prone to metaphors… OK, so I like metaphors, get over it! It would be like a big needy Kangaroo on Prozac, sucking up all the fun in life and sitting it’s big ass down on that place in line called “the gravy train”. Sucking up all that gravy, while letting some of it drop onto it’s gravy-stained golf shirt. Slowly, it turns back to the millennial stuck behind them in the next Kangaroo pouch and says “suck it up princess, its your fault I have to keep working”.

But wait! There is a way out of being stuck in the gravy-train line to nowhere-ville.
Here are the seven things Millenials and Boomers can do to survive each other.


1. Avoid really talking to each other!
Talking is vastly over-rated. All it does it force you to actually hear the other’s side of things and that can only lead to understanding. which makes resentment much more difficult.
2. Eschew finding things you have in common. It’s soo hard to mock someone when you have common ground. Stuff you both like can really challenge the best reasons why everything is the other person’s fault.
3. Circumvent occasions for pleasantries. Nothing good comes from giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. They have a better opportunity for “winning” and you have missed the best opportunity for a cheap shot.
4. Sidestep teaching moments. Your job is not to teach by example, your job is complain why they aren’t doing what they should be doing.
5. Circumnavigate the cesspool of “sentiments”. Hey if showing your vulnerabilities would help, Oprah would be a multi-millionaire by now.
And exactly how could showing your vulnerabilities ever help the other side to do anything but take advantage of you. Better to be a dork with a cork then take the chance of sharing your deepest feelings.
6. Duck danger with disbelief. Believing in them? What is this, the land of the lost boys? Nine out of ten scientists have proven that showing lack of faith for each other is a great way to enjoy the day… of course they also said that about cigarettes in the 50’s.
7. Unconditional Love? We don’t need no stinkin’ unconditional love! It’s so messy. It makes you feel things and let’s face it, most of the times in the past when you opened up your heart to them, they didn’t just step on it, they ground their heel in it, through in some chipotle mix, a can of refired beans and then made a meal out of it. Why would anyone take the chance of unconditionally loving someone when things have gone wrong in the past?

There you have it. The secrets to surviving each other in a challenging time.
Let me know how it worked for you. Did I mention I have some swampland for sale?

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Go to the Home Page of Ken’s website for helping Troubled Teens and UnMotivated Millenials, RealLifeCoaching.ca
Want more Ken Rabow articles? Click Real Life Coaching Blogs
To contact Ken for a Free 15 Minute Consultation Click Contact Ken
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Millenials, Save Yourselves With These Do’s and Don’ts

So, everything you were told was a lie.

You are not brilliant because you could play three strings on a guitar when you first picked it up. Your artwork really was just pieces of pasta, glue and paint… it wasn’t “just like Van Gogh”. It wasn’t the cutest thing when you first passed gas (or the last time in front of Grammie) and most importantly; doing what we did to get a job in 90’s now, will get you S.F.A unless being a barista and living in your parent’s basement is your idea of success. (Yes, I’m talking to you Bachelor in Social Anthropology)

Don’t you feel better now that all that is out of the way? And they wonder why you feel entitled, moody, depressed and full of anxiety.

I have some good news and some bad news

A lot of the Millenials really do act entitled and the amount of people in their 20’s who are barely coping with anxiety is friggin’ scary!

People in their 20’s tend to be “out of the box” thinkers. That means anything is possible if you look at life in different ways. Here are a list of 10 things that you should avoid and 10 things you should embrace. May the force be with you (I mean the Episode VII version, of course).

Don’t Do

10. Don’t settle for a job, waiting for your 76k a year position to fall in your lap… you’re not fooling anybody.
9. Don’t live with your parents. It’s soooo much easier but unless you are doing something to create your own future, you might as well make your own Spock ears and learn Klingon.
8. Don’t buy a crazy red BMW while living in said basement. You will have to bring whomever you pick up and date more than once to your basement, so unless you’ve done in your parents or they are working for Greenpeace with a long Russian layover, the car’s not fooling anybody.
7. Don’t sleep with everything that moves
. It really doesn’t help. Look at the Kardashians.
6. Don’t try to win friends and influence people by your bong-toking prowess
5. Don’t twerk. Just don’t.
4. Don’t measure yourself but how your successful friends live. They are doing the same thing and resenting the hell out of not being Justin Beiber. But seriously…
3. Don’t focus on your flaws. That’s your parent’s job.
2. Don’t make excuses. That’s Rob Ford’s job. (Remember him?)
1. Don’t give up, give in or run away.

Do do (Heh, I said “do do”.)

10. Do embrace your craziest inner passions. The things that you create that make you forget time when you are engaged in them. Yes, everyone will tell you that there is no money in it but money comes after all-consuming passion and mastery.
9. Do live with your parents! If you have a plan. If you do odd jobs to get the money to make your dreams come true. Just remember to act like a guest. Don’t make messes and show appreciation.
8. Do go after a crazy dream. Invest your time, your money and your heart in the thing you believe in with all of your heart and keep it to yourself until it is a done deal.
7. Do love everyone you meet. That’s easy if they are cool. But I also mean the loud ones, the rude ones, the annoying ones. Send them love (but keep a wide berth).
6. Do win friends and influence people. (Read the book)
5. Do not twerk. OK. I cheated, but it’s for your own good.
4. Do measure yourself in moment by moment micro-successes. Reading that extra article. Finishing that piece of music. Avoiding the extra treat. Cleaning one square foot of the floor in your room.
3. Do focus on your strengths. The ones you earn vs. your God-given talents.
2. Do own your mistakes. Admit them. Accept them. Embrace them. Frank Zappa and Miles Davis were geniuses partly because they weren’t afraid to mess up big.
1. Do not let your fears stop you. Take your passions, your talents, your earned accomplishments and make your dreams come true. Make them big. Make them crazy and don’t stop no matter what.

You are brilliant.
You are your own work of art.
But you must practice it.
Live it!
Be it!

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To check out Ken’s website for helping troubled teens and unmotivated millenials, click RealLifeCoaching.ca
Want more Ken Rabow articles? Click Real Life Coaching Blogs
To contact Ken for a Free 15 Minute Consultation Click Contact Ken
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University – What NOT to Do

All right. Check out the pic. Don’t you feel left out?
Isn’t this what your secret dreams were of being on your own and making your own choices in University?

Let’s go over imagining what these people are about and how they are doing. (fictionally, of course… I don’t really know any of them). Now, I’m really against making snap judgments but… it’s soooo much fun… and educational too! 🙂

Toga guy. Misses a few classes … like September to November. Got some great old exams for the classes he was taking the day before exams. Passed out reading them the night before exams. Exams? Oops. Is it too late to drop the classes?

Miss Queen in Green. Always did well in school… before. Anxiety? A thing of the past… except she’s wondering if Toga guy is really gonna call and she may just sit by the phone for a week or two…

Peace sign guy. Quiet student. Always went to class. Did really well. Straight A’s in high school (where he was watched over day and night). Some part of him believes that by getting waisted every night and going to parties, he will end up having many, many conquests. So far, 15 trips to the infirmary for throat infections (too much deep kissing) and a solid “D” average.

Most of the people in this picture were probably doing fairly well in high school and are destined to mess up their first year of school something fierce. Some will have tried every thing they can think of to get back on track (until the next evening’s party) and start to feel “What’s the point? Nothing works.”

Others will try the following:

Organizational Skills:
It sounds simple and it is. But doing it when the proverbial poop has already hit the fan is much more challenging than starting these skills in high school. Having said that, I’ve seen many people who have had a troubling start in University turn their academic lives around by following a few simple rules.

1. Use a scheduler! It can be on your iPhone, Google calendar, a bunch of pieces of papers together by an alligator clip, or one of those old style spiral bound appointment books.
Once you write down what you were going to do each day (and I would start with just your courses, study periods, and anything else that you must go to) you can add realistic study times and make notes about when exams are and when papers are due.

2. Choose your party time wisely! There’s no one to impress now and no one to bargain with. It’s really up to you to figure out what are the good days to “let yourself go” and how much you should indulge, based on what is expected of you and the following days requirements. 


3. Learn from your mess ups and don’t give up! Even when you know what you’re supposed to do, you’re id is going to mess you up, just to see if you’ll give up and say “what’s the point, I’ll never get it right anyway”. Ignore that voice and just allow yourself the opportunity to learn and make mistakes determined that the next time you’ll get it right. If not then, then the time after that 🙂

The work I do with my clients is based on these ideas but goes into a lot more in depth. Whether it is me or someone else, the idea of a mentor who is based on action and not just talk therapy is the way to find your place and your power in the world.

Make it so!

Using Our Child’s Strengths and Challenges To Succeed

We can change our lives for the better right now!
It starts with looking at the strengths and challenges in our daily life. Through our challenges, we can understand the patterns that keep repeating and the self-limiting tapes running in our sub-conscious. Our strengths can inspire us to rise over these repeating patterns and tapes, leading us to a richer life. I invite you to try these exercises:

Exercise One: C.O.S.
A) Challenges – Write down three things that are challenges in your daily life.
B) Obstacles – Think about what stops you from getting beyond each of these challenges.
C) Success – Choose something that would show you that had been successful in rising above that challenge.

Exercise Two – Strengths:
A) Talent – Write down something that you are good at.
It may be what you know you do well or it may be something that comes easily to you but dismiss because “anyone can do that”. They are both strengths.
B) Inspiration – Think of a person, past or present, who you find inspiring.
When you find yourself in a frustrating situation, ask yourself:
“What would they do?”
C) Power Place – Imagine a situation that makes you feel powerful.
It could be something you’ve seen or heard about.

It could be something you hope will one day happen.

Try to make it feel real through your strongest senses.
Imagine what it would feel like to be experiencing that right now.
Something very powerful happens when you write down your challenges and strengths.

By choosing an indicator for success, you are allowing your mind to consider success.

As you move forward in the 13 steps to success for young adults,
you may find that you end up modifying what you have written down in these first exercises. That is to be expected.

A great film director was once asked what the most important quality for a leader was.

He responded that it was the ability to make an immediate decision.
It didn’t matter if it was right or wrong, that could be corrected, but once the crew sensed that decisiveness, they could relax into their jobs, knowing there was direction.

The same is true of our sub-conscious.
It is that crew waiting to be led and our will becomes the director.

What will these exercises do for you? They will create a direction.

Will your answers change? Probably.
Are they the perfect choices? Time will tell but they are a great start.

Here are some things you can do starting today with these exercises:

Daily Practice:
1) Choose the challenge that you wish to work on first.
Reflect on the obstacle that is in your way.
Choose three things you can do to “soften” the obstacle.
Decide to work on one aspect of this a day until you begin to see your indicator for success emerging.

Then move on to the next challenge.
It sometimes help to have an outside person work on this with you.
A mentor can often be very helpful.

2) Each night just before falling asleep, imagine your power place.
Live it as if it was happening to you right now.
Take in every feeling of it.
Decide to let yourself be open to things that happen during your day which bring you closer to making your power place a reality.

3) When you wake up, take a moment to reflect on one quality that your inspirational person has.

It could be one you have used before or a new one. Decide to implement that quality today.

4) Keep a journal.

The longest journey begins with a single step ……Lao-tzu

Delayed Gratification in the Entitlement Generation

Being a teenager is about living in the now. This is a double-edged sword.
We spend our whole lives trying to live in the now and give our teens grief for doing it way too much.
The main difference is that we have the experience and they have the conviction.

In the late 1960’s, a psychologist named Walter Mischel invented the “marshmallow task”. A four year old child would be asked to pick between a treat of marshmallows, cookies, or pretzel sticks. They were told that they could either eat one treat right away or, they could have two treats after the researcher returned in a few minutes. If they felt they couldn’t wait, they could eat one treat but would lose the bonus treat. Then the examiner left the room.

kid and marshmallow ourkids.netSome kids ate the treat the moment the researcher closed the door, others struggled to resist and ended up eating it within three minutes and about a third of them successfully delayed gratification until the researcher returned 15 minutes later. They found a way to resist temptation.

Revisiting with these subjects a decade later, time had shown that the low delayers (who ate the marshmallow immediately) tended to have all sorts of problems, from behavioral, social to lower S.A.T scores, while those who waited did better across the board.

It was not “will power” but the “strategic allocation of attention” that made all the difference. Mischel commented: “The patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek, or singing songs to themselves.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place. If you can deal with hot emotions, then you can study for the S.A.T. instead of watching television, and you can save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.”

Studying people in grade 8, researchers found that the ability to delay gratification was a far better predictor of academic performance than I.Q. test. The study showed that “intelligence is really important, but it’s still not as important as self-control.”

Character matters for success. In the early years, parents should create rituals that help their children to delay on a daily basis. Encourage your child to wait and make waiting worthwhile. According to Mischel, even the simplest childhood routines such as not snacking before dinner, or saving up your allowance, or holding out until Christmas morning—are exercises in cognitive training: we’re teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires.

For teenagers, I have found that creating a daily routine which includes the following can be truly life-changing:

a) quieting the mind (meditation)

b) exercising (walking, yoga or playing a sport)

c) some sort of creative outlet (music, writing, dance, painting, etc.,)

d) keeping your workspace organized

Using these daily tasks as ways to give yourself rewards (video game time, texting with friends, some new internet site that has become the rage while I was writing this article) builds character. I have a client, let’s call him Ishmael and he has a dilemma. Ishmael, has an amazing new role playing video game (RPG) that will be coming out in December, during his end of term exams.

“The problem”, says Ishmael, “with an RPG is that it becomes difficult to take yourself back into the real world. It is good to have something immersive in your life but only if it’s done appropriately.

“I have some tools now that I put into place in my previous school term that I can call upon; (reward system vs procrastination) so I intend to do my schoolwork first and then get my video game reward breaks. To get to sleep at a reasonable time – I have a cut-off time”. There was a time when cut-off times were a hypothetical idea rather than a reality but now… Ishmael is able to honor his cut-off time by putting school “as my first priority”.

“You have to keep things in moderation. It’s ok for your thoughts to be of video games or magic cards as long as it doesn’t interfere with your daily stuff. You have to believe that finishing school is more important than finishing the game. I choose to find the middle path”.

I’ll leave you with Ishmael’s final thought which transcends the use of delayed gratification:
“Moderation in all things”. How very Zen!

Why Some Kids Derail Themselves and What We Can Do To Prevent It

Why are so many young people willing to self-sabotage every aspect of their potential future? Not participating in class, not doing the required studying, staying up late, sleeping most of the day away and missing more and more school. For quite a few, video gaming and/or substance abuse is another big factor.

The most frustrating part of this is that these same people are very often gifted in some way and yet here they are ….. off the tracks.

Many teachers are doing great work in classrooms, helping all sorts of `different learning styles but how can teachers know how to work with people who don’t show up to class, don’t submit their work completed and don’t seem to care?

Could it be, that the keys to these young people’s success are the same ones that have allowed mankind to thrive for millions of years? Through evolution, we have been hard-wired to work as social tribes, offering our children the opportunity to learn from a wide range of elders.

Most young people today are able to thrive or at least get by in a nuclear or single parent family, learning from their care-givers and finding other elders to learn from at school, sports, dance or music, etc. These young people grow through the ritual of daily tasks of homework, tests and projects. Graduation becomes their right of passage. But what if your child does not connect to such a system?

You’ve tried it all; traditional therapy, behavioral therapy, conditioned response, pharmaceuticals, begging, pleading, tough love and some of it worked for a while and some didn’t work at all.

It may seem hopeless sometimes, feeling that your child will never grow up and take responsibility but it has been my experience that some alternative approaches can make a world of difference. Once your child goes beyond their regular world filled with all the trappings that keep him/her where they are and finds a support system with a mentor who is non-judgmental, on their side and open to thinking “outside the box”, that child will become motivated to start the process of getting back on track.

Tips for creating success for your child

1) Find a mentor to work with your child, someone not from the immediate family, preferably at their office, on Skype or the phone and have the mentor ask the student these pertinent questions:
a) Are you happy with how things are going in your life?
b) Do you see your present way of being as a viable long term strategy?
c) If you could be doing anything with your life, what interests would you wish to take on?

2) The mentor and the student put together a daily routine based on the student’s interests i.e. Meditation; Yoga; Tai Chi; Weight Lifting; Biking; Jogging; Playing an Instrument (or singing); Reading; basically all the things we were told that have no real financial benefit. Start with two -twenty minute routines to be attempted 5 to 6 days a week. Slowly building up to as many routines that the student feels they can comfortably handle. (Five is a good final number) Make a weekly worksheet that divides the tasks into columns with room for the student to write the duration of each daily exercise (0-20). The goal of these exercises it to empower the student, these exercises are self-motivated without help from the family.

3) Bi-weekly meetings discussing progress, looking at existing obstacles and exploring solutions to these obstacles in a non-judgmental way. 

4) During these sessions the mentor asks: 
“If you could do anything at all with your life, without concern of how you would make it happen, what would you choose?”
With this answered (this can take some time) the mentor and the student go about finding ways to put their toes into the pond of these life purpose quests. It could be a 12 week workshop, a college class, a volunteer position or starting a small business. This time is used to help the student to bring his “daily work” training into these new situations and enhance his successful patterns accordingly.

I have heard many young people come to me stating that up until this time in their lives, their home has been their box of safety and joy, which they find wonderful and yet limiting… not a good long term strategy.
With this mentoring system, an important goal is to help these powerful people create the tools they need to feel safe going out into the world succesfully. Creating mini-boxes of safety for them to thrive in. Places where they can learn to be self-empowered. Without exception, students who go through the entire process choose self-empowerment over self-sabotage. They not only succeed but most often become examples of leadership in their chosen vocation.

Help your child find their inspiration and get on track for a successful life.