WOW Advice to Millennials from a Millennial, Part One
Posted In: Soft Skills
Posted On: 1/18/2016
I was so excited about starting the new year with a WOW (my What Obviously Works journal), that I asked one of my favorite millennials, Greer Van Dyck, to share thoughts on her WOW. I love Greer’s background because she has been brave enough to pursue her passions, taking on all the bumps along the way and learning from each one. She has a master's degree in counseling psychology and has been actively involved in the Boulder start-up community. When I asked her to riff on WOW, she offered to share her thoughts on that plus WOWW (What Obviously Won’t Work) plus some general advice to her contemporaries (and the rest of us, too!). Her voice is fresh and honest and I know you will love this three part series that begins with Greer’s WOW! - Jane
It is easy to reinforce the value of capturing WOW into your own life, but then it is quite another to actually integrate the principles. For myself, I have broken it down into eight principles that to me have made profound impact on the way that I view this world and live fully in it.
1. Active listening - This concept goes beyond paying attention to somebody. When you are actively listening, you develop an ear for meaning underneath someone’s words. You look for what is unsaid, and you pay delicate attention to body language to help provide a full picture of where someone is coming from.
2. Effective communication - Interacting and conversing in a way with another with the intention of deepening a connection. When you are participating in effective communication with another, you are listening deeply to them and in return giving your most authentic and honest responses. This dynamic produces a deeper exploration into each other and allows you to learn quite a lot about yourself in the process.
3. Compassion and empathy - Keep in mind that no matter who you meet or come into contact with has battled at life in ways that you don’t even know about. So coming into these interactions with a sense of humility and grace for others allows your heart to be open to their experiences and theirs as well. You are much more likely to gain access to someone’s truest feelings and emotions if you open yourself and provide space for them to show up. Compassion and empathy in my opinion are two of the greatest human emotions that allow for heart to heart connection.
4. Hard work and determination - Roll up your sleeves and run through the mud. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that when I work my hardest and keep focused on my goals, my level of regret is drastically reduced if not eliminated. Because I have the keen awareness that I gave it what I had. Rejection in life is inevitable, but to me it means I’m striving high enough.
5. A love and appreciation for my surroundings - Even when things are difficult and seem bleak, if you take a moment to look around you and open yourself to see beyond your situation, you will see that beauty is all around. When it seems difficult to harness this gratitude, start small and focus on a flower nearby, or simply lie down and look at the sky above you. There is so much beauty in the small things, but the focus outward helps put into perspective personal struggles.
6. Listening to what I truly want and love - It is 100% your responsibility to identify and do what you love. If you are struggling to figure out what that is, start small. What are the parts of your daily life that you purely enjoy? And move beyond, in work what roles/responsibilities have you found a passion for? There are always going to be elements that aren’t a perfect fit, for we don’t live in a perfect world. But it is up to us that harness and participate in those things that we truly love. Remember, life is so much about maximizing our inner selves, and minimizing regret.
7. Participating in the things that bring me joy - There are times in life where we can’t avoid doing things we don’t love. That’s life. But where we can, making time for the things that bring you joy impact you significantly as an individual. As you incorporate more of this into your day (writing on your own, taking walks in the park, visiting with friends, talking with family, painting), watch as your general mood and demeanor becomes more light. You start to radiate positive energy, and trust me, that energy is contagious.
8. The ability to have fun - If you aren’t having fun, you aren’t living. As children our capacity to have fun is boundless and we are always a YES to new adventures and exploration. But as we grow into adulthood, it is easy to lose sight of that. So if to you fun is running out in the rain, jumping on the trampoline, dressing up in costumes, then be that. Incorporate it into your life so that fun is always a part of your life and see how it positively impacts you.