WOW. That girl is going to do big things one day.
What if she doesn’t do big things?
My girl’s best friend is incredibly mature and smart for her age. Although she’s two years younger, you would never know it. She can’t stand the drama of girls her age and instead hangs with an older crowd. Believes in early-to-bed and early-to-rise and has her sights set on things bigger than herself. Everyone that really knows her is impressed by her. She’s going to do big things one day. We all see it.
What. If. She. Doesn’t?
For Young Adults, the Pressure Is On
As we near graduation season and I watch my step-daughter being forced to make life-altering decisions such as college, majors, and jobs at such a young age, I worry about the pressure that kids feel to get it right. Grades and scholarships will mean nothing if they are pushed into thinking that they must achieve great things when they are still kids.
It’s common knowledge that people don’t reach full maturity until their mid-twenties—you know, when college is over and they are several years into their first job. Sometimes they are married with 2.5 kids.
I myself changed colleges and majors multiple times. By the time I received my bachelor’s degree in business, I knew it was a mistake. I was seven years into the financial industry, married, and about to have my first child. How did I get so far on this path?
It’s okay. I promise.
Life isn’t as linear as the calendar suggests. As we grow and develop and assimilate new information from the world around us it displaces and changes our previous thinking. Our minds shift. Change. Refocus. As we mature and look backward, we think, “What was I thinking?!”
But it’s okay! Change is actually a good thing.
Celebrate Small Achievements — They’re the Big Things!
As an enneagram three, I know that I think positively about myself when I’m achieving. But what about when I’m not? Or, more likely, what about when I don’t realize that I am achieving every. Single. Day?
Maybe you were told you were going to do big things one day. That’s awesome. But we need to not neglect the things that we do each day that are as big as graduating college, landing a job, or becoming a doctor. What about when you are a good friend to someone that was on the edge? What about when you ended a relationship because it wasn’t healthy? What about when you comforted your little one in the middle of the night when they had a bad dream? What about when you supported your spouse so they could achieve something?
All of those are big things worth celebrating. Albeit, it might not sound as fancy as titles, salaries, or accomplishments that the world deems important, but those “little” things are far outweigh those other, “big” things.
A Message for Parents
Parents, remind your kids that they will do big things. But define “big things” for them. Remind them that while goals and aspirations are great, who they are as a person is so much greater. Especially as they try and fail, and try and fail again, they will need to know that they aren’t failing. They are learning. They are assimilating. They are maturing.
They do not need to have it all figured out just yet. They may change majors and colleges and stop and start along the way. Yes, it can be costly (ask me how I know). But the invaluable knowledge gained from the experiencing of failing and overcoming will give them more than a degree, a title, or a job ever will. Remind them that they are already doing great things every day.
Life isn’t as linear as the calendar suggests.
A Message for You
Maybe you look back and see what you perceive as potential and missed opportunities. I know many women who gave up careers, goals, and aspirations when they became wife and mother. They wonder who they could have been. Who they should have been. What happened to those big things they were supposed to do “one day”?
To the girl who is doing her best to figure out her next steps of her life while being a great daughter, a great sister, and a good person…. You are doing big things today.
To the girl who is a good friend but a not-so-good student and not sure what to do next…You are doing big things today.
To the girl who is in med school with dreams of curing cancer in children. I see you doing big things today.
To the girl who quit the fast-track life to birth a miracle…I see you doing big things today.
To the girl who took a break to refocus and recreate her path in life…I see you doing big things today.
Don’t discount those big things that happen every day. While the world may not weigh them as big as fill-in-the-blank, focus on each day. Because I’m pretty sure you are doing big things every day.
Maybe you feel like you don’t have things figured out yet—that’s okay! Here’s why: