I love my generation. I respect the hell out of the fact that there are so many people doing so many amazing things. It’s like one big idea-crazed, brain-mash, collaborative orgy out there – and baby, I swing. I swing to the cows come home with the movers and shakers out there who have accomplished so much at such a young age. I don’t want to be them, or even be like them, but I do everything I can to learn from them – I want them (you) to push me to be better and try harder – I want to grow and learn TOGETHER.
I speak very highly about our generation (when a lot of folks think very negatively about us) because even through the drama, even after all of the nay-saying and “taking sides”, even with all of the competition, I genuinely believe in what our generation represents and what we’re going to do to change the world, just as every generation before us has – they laid the groundwork for us to succeed, and now it’s our turn to seize that opportunity and clear a path for our children, our children’s children, etc. That time to make things happen is right now.
I genuinely believe I’ve associated myself with people who are going to be the proverbial game changers in their respective fields – People who have already done so much more than I have that I LOVE talking to, learning from and sharing ideas with. Every day I go to bed with a nugget of knowledge that I didn’t wake up with that morning – and to say the least, it’s pretty damn exciting.
The problem, and only problem I see getting in the way of our success is ourselves – our ego – the mindset that we’ve already done so much – that we’ve already arrived and that we “deserve” to be recognized, praised, and admired. That somehow we’re owed something – and that at the age of 25, we’ve hit our peak.
I have no doubt every single one of you have done great things. I have no hesitation in saying that you’ve overcome adversity and accomplished (a lot) in the “first quarter” of your life. But if you think you’ve already “arrived” and you’re at your peak – if you think “this is it” and you’re at the top of you’re game…what comes next? What do you have to look forward to? Where could you possibly go? Are you already thinking that “it’s all downhill from here”?
Think about this, if you will: What have you really done up until this point (professionally)? What tangible things have you created for yourself and your future? Are you actually doing things, or just talking about doing things?
Me? I’ve built a thriving community of forward-thinking people here at Life Without Pants, I’ve gained solid “nine to five” experience in both agency and non-agency environments, and I’m in the (very) early embryonic stages of building my first business.
I’m proud as hell for accomplishing each of these things at the ripe old age of 24. I’ve surprised myself over and over again along the way. But I also know that in the grand scheme of things none of this gives me “status” – nothing there warrants me the “I’m Matt Cheuvront, don’t hate me ‘cause you ain’t me” badge. (For you Sara Davidson)
I’m a very small, tiny, microcosmic fish in a massive pond of movers, shakers, and opportunity. I know my place and I love it – and honestly, I’m thrilled just to be swimming with so many unique fish getting around in the deep blue sea. You should be too…it’s a pretty frickin’ exciting out there.
Don’t let your ego take over. Don’t be “that guy” who acts like he “deserves” to be where he’s at. Maybe you do, maybe (and more than likely) you are where you are because you’ve busted your ass and work hard. But it’s “that guy” who demands an unwarranted status that gives our demographic a bad rep to the “outside world”.
My advice is to stay humble and grounded – know where you’re going and never forget where you came from. Don’t sit there and tell me that you’ve reached your peak – because at twenty-something years old, you’re kidding yourself if you think it’s the truth.
You have a long way to go and a LOT to learn, my young Padawans, and I’m right there with you – learning the ways of the force every step of the way. Enjoy the journey, celebrate the success of others, learn, and hold on tight as we all roll on with this crazy momentum our generation possesses.
It’s fun – and it’s supposed to be enjoyable. Negativity isn’t sustainable, so don’t fall into that trap.
And don’t focus on “keeping up” – don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or how fast they’re moving – you go at the pace YOU are comfortable with and be content with that. Push yourself to do more, but don’t let anyone else dictate what you should or shouldn’t be doing – take ALL advice (both positive and negative) with a grain of salt. Make your own decisions.
Know your worth, value what you bring to the table, stand firm that you are a hell of a contribution to your business, community, etc – but stay grounded, remain humble, and stay classy. It’ll get you far.
(Image c/o C. Engelen)