What if your teen is
only average? Shocking? Depressing?
Fact is, most of them are! [by
definition, 84% of all of us are ‘average’]
But who BECOME the
real stars?? - the real champions in almost any field? Research data collected
in a wide array of fields - from sports to academics to professions, business
achievements, etc. - ALL point to the fact that it's NOT innate talent but instead
targeted, directed effort toward a goal – AND the ability to focus, change,
improve, grow and become better – making small micro-changes over time – that’s
what makes top performers!!!
There's been much research
in recent years by Angela Duckworth at Penn in the field of GRIT – and that’s
exactly what she’s found!! Her research, including a fair amount with cadets at
West Point (US Military Academy] shows that those top, TOP performers in
virtually every field did so through a long-term commitment - usually over a
period of years, toward their goal.
So how can you help
your teen to accomplish ‘great things’ – maybe not world-changing – but still pretty
Start from a basic
premise: we're all driven by habit. So
our habits are going to define, even decide what we do on a daily basis. Second, any new habits will only occur over a
period of time in small micro- bites.
Please erase the idea
that it takes 21 days to change a habit! It is simply not true. The most current research indicates that it
takes about 66 consistent days
to change - or instill a new habit [even that varies based on a number of other
elements and factors.]
So as you guide or coach your teenager toward new success habits,
here’s a 3-step process:
or identify a specific idea of the new, desired goal – [NOT the goal you’re
trying to shed]
The next time you see your teen come close to or APPROXIMATE
that action or behavior you'd like to see, compliment him/her – specifically – “that was really good – the way you ___________!
3. [next time] Catch
him or her “being good” or executing that behavior – and compliment again
* Remember – 66 days, approx.
to instill a new habit. You probably won’t
or can’t maintain that – but keep at it
* This reinforcing process
requires varying and different compliments or wording over time – the same
words over and over become lost or invisible.
If I can be of assistance in any teen development area, just PM
me or email at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
Of the abundance of gifts
you can offer your teenager - the absolute number 1, first, above-all-else is
the two-part gift of (1) empathizing and (2) teaching - when they make a
mistake or ‘fail.’.
By taking the time to
empathize, you share and convey that feelings of anger or frustration – or defeat
- are perfectly fine to express or experience.
And also – by taking
the time to teach, to guide, to coach, to reveal new learnings conveys multiple
messages - (o) you care, (o) you want them to perform better and (o) you
empathize with them as fallible human beings. Far too often - when a teenager fails,
they feel as if they’ve let us down – and believe they are diminished IN OUR
EYES! At that moment, we need to intervene
and interject that (o) we don’t love them any less and (o) failure is OKAY –
that’s how we learn. But also, too
often, we don't take the time to guide them to improve. We either (o) malign them
- inferring that they are “dumb” or (o) we don't take the time to guide them in
learning what they obviously didn't know!
I find it painful and aggravating to see a sports coach degrade an athlete
who just made a mistake – when that athlete KNOWS they ‘did it wrong’– already
feels bad. That’s the most fertile time
to TEACH, not malign or degrade. Same thing
with your teen!!
into ‘life’ - other than school and teachers, too often, no one gives our teens
constructive feedback regarding their performance or efforts – other than to
say “you didn’t try hard enough.” In almost
all cases, THEY DON’T KNOW what to do differently or better – it’s just too
global and thence, meaningless. This presents
a great opportunity to walk them through – or talk them through – the specifics
of how to do it better the next time. As I learned from my son when he was three,
it’s very easy to say “Yes, Daddy” – and have NO CLUE what I said – it’s just
easier to agree… Be patient, be sure your voice conveys support and understanding
– NOT frustration
And remember to
enjoy them – even when they fail!
Give them –
YOUR GREATEST GIFT!!
That’s a funny line at first – but think
about it – first, yourself, then – apply it to your teen… And remember – your teenager is only JUST beginning
to recognize and understand their own emotions…
What can you do to help, to ease, to
facilitate that fear or apprehension??
Start with patience, no anger, no intense
reaction – follow that by a comforting phrase like – “I think I can understand how
you feel, up to a point.” [do NOT say “I
know just how you feel” – they hate that!! [then, pause…]. Then maybe a casual, conversational follow-up
like – ‘what’s your day looking like?’
Just that simple, casual conversation
can break the ice, even ignite their motivational fire… Give it time – and patience!
A WEEK AGO, we posted
a blog about ‘reversing your paradigm:’ - that is, when your teen defies you, surprise
them by using a different approach. Today,
we have some suggested replies. Use them
as YOU prefer, or adapt to your family’s culture.
OF COURSE, these are
based around the premise that you’ve already had heart-to-heart conversations
and respected your teen’s time and issues – yet they still defy your requests.
“Please take the trash out”
REPLY or says “no.”
1. OK, I’ll do it [take only your own, not
2. Say nothing, do nothing.
3. Next request or issue from them: SAY
NOTHING, DO NOTHING, IGNORE.
4. [you could always dump the trash in
their room – but that would be tacky L ]
“Please get up, to get to school on time”
REPLY or says “no.”
1. OK, I’ll send a note to the principal
explaining that you’re now on your own – I take no responsibility – nor will I
feed you, you have no access to OUR food, you have no transportation – no
rides, no allowance…”
2. Do not reply at all – when they finally
arise, no breakfast nor food available, no ride to school, etc.
3. Say nothing, do nothing.
“Please empty the dishwasher”
REPLY or says “no.”
his/her dishes, leave – uncleaned –on counter or even back porch/ deck
select any one of the replies above – or be even more creative!]
“Please put the game controller away and start studying…”
REPLY or says “no.”
1. Cut off all cable or WI-FI or
electricity to the controller
2. [use, select any one of the replies
above – or be even more creative!]
OF COURSE all of
these rely on your strength and emotional capacity.
Please don’t retreat
to “I could never do that to my kid.” They respect strength – and if they
continue to ‘walk all over you’ – it will only get worse. L
Please feel free to
add, insert or modify your own – and post here!
One thing learned over many years in business,
education, learning and change: throwing out [or setting aside] your current
way of thinking VERY often reveals whole new worlds of problem-solving
possibilities. Replacing your paradigm [the
framework within which you interpret your world] can provide a totally new and
very often much more effective solution to the problem at hand.
On these blog pages are MANY instances
of parents expressing frustration with their teen’s behavior. Question to those parents: Did you NOT EXPECT your
teen might act that way? Really?
It's reasonable to assume that a good
many of those behaviors are consciously or unconsciously intended to arouse
their parents’ anger, frustration or eyebrows, maliciously or innocently.
Why not surprise ‘em completely? Imagine
replacing your USUAL response – they knew you were gonna say that – with a
complete reversal? Your teen will then
have a very different challenge as to what to say or do next!
This isn’t a WIN vs. LOSE proposition, just a way to level the playing
What do you commonly
“Please take the
trash out - NO REPLY
or says “no.”
“Please get up so you
get to school on time” -NO REPLY/"No.”
“Please empty the
dishwasher” - NO REPLY/ "No"
“Put the controller away, start studying” - NO
How would you respond? _________________.
Check back here tomorrow for suggested
Motivation is internal. Manipulating
someone into ‘becoming motivated’ is
Many, many parents report that their
teen is ‘completely unmotivated’ and they just want to do nothing or play video
games, etc. FACT, however is that years of
research tells us we are all inherently motivated. That teen may be backing away out of SELF-DOUBT,
SELF-PITY, FEAR, ETC. And it may even show itself as ANGER TOWARD YOU OR THE
So the question becomes: how to begin
to build that motivation? Let’s begin by recognizing that a teenager’s usual natural
reaction to anything from a parent is to laugh at it, walk away, reject even
considering it – because they already know it all – and Mom/Dad don’t know
squat! Don’t react or overreact. Keep
an easy, unemotional demeanor and proceed on.
With tactful gentleness and subtlety it’s not that difficult to overcome
In our experience every teenager with
whom we’ve worked has significantly increased their own motivation when we (1) first
help them to IDENTIFY their very personal and meaningful dream goals and (2) then
SET and (3) then MOVE AHEAD
PROGRESSIVELY, DAILY with small, micro-steps toward those dream goals. Once
they’ve set and are working toward them, surprisingly enough (!) their SELF-motivation
So the process is
(1) Brainstorm dream goals,
(2) Whittle them down to one or two to
(3) Guide them in daily MICRO-steps –
the smaller the better - actions toward their dreams.
BUT WAIT – there’s more: you CANNOT simply ask them what their dreams
and goals are. They will laugh or run from the room or ask “Why? What’s it to
you?” or similar. As a parent of a teen,
your greatest tool is subtlety.
So – approach it ‘sneakily’ – to evoke
or build a dream list [dreams, NOT goals] è
“I heard _[your teen’s
friend]_ was writing down their lofty, wild ’n crazy dream goals – just as an exercise. Do you have any?”
“I’m just curious –
what do you want to be doing and where do you want to be living – when you’re
35 years old?”
“If you could change
one thing in the world, what would it be?”
“Humor me – make me
laugh – list me the top 10 dreams you have in your life”
“If you had all the
money you needed, what would you do as a job, and where would you live, and
Do you remember that
movie that had a Bucket List? If you developed your own Bucket List, what would
you put on it?
[insert your own
[add another one
And the number one excellent FOLLOW-UP question to every one of these is
– Because the answer
to that question will reveal A LOT more than the starter question!!!
WHAT IF IT DOESN’T GO WELL? - Tune in next for Episode Three
If you’d like clarification or more
information or tools or guidance, please message us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
– and we’ll be back to you quickly!
Most all of us have an
achievement hurdle. And be assured, your teenager, [probably!] as well. Could be a learning or reading disability, avoidance,
denial, negativity, introversion, depression, anger, lost motivation, fighting self-discipline,
emotional or psychological impediments, procrastination or avoiding challenges,
ADHD or something no one is even aware of.
For many, there is probably no cure or
fix. However, experience has shown - one
of the most powerful strengthening tools in disarming or diminishing those issues
– even drugs, alcohol and even suicide - is MOTIVATION.
I instantly hear disagreement – I understand
- - but I didn’t say ‘cure.’ For the
hurdles I listed, there are virtually no ‘cures’ – only helping strategies. This is one of the best.
How frequently do we see stories of stars,
champions, leaders in so many fields: entertainment, sports, business, government
leadership and politics – how often they’ve overcome impediments from the list
above – with only one tool: MOTIVATION!!
Let’s not be deluded – motivation won’t
cure those issues – but it will strengthen and ignite your teen’s inner drive
to overpower those limitations and achieve far more of their true capacity!!
One valuable lesson learned from
Carol Dweck’s book MINDSET is the concept of “NOT YET.” If we accept the old paradigm of ‘HE JUST
CAN’T…’ that’s the Closed mindset – now research-documented to be ONLY A
MINDSET, NOT A FACT!!!!! If, after a
failure, we replace ‘failure’ with – NOT YET the whole equation changes.
Just FYI - most ADHD teens with whom
I’ve worked became aware that they will have to develop and build coping
mechanisms to succeed at life and THEY ARE DOING SO!
So the question becomes where does that
motivation come from?
We’ll discuss that in our next posting –
planned for tomorrow. STAY TUNED…
In the meantime, if you have other
issues or questions or challenges with your teen, please message me –and we‘ll
NO ONE I know LIKES DISCIPLINE – and yet, it’s acknowledged as one of the most crucial, core elements of ALL success – whether it’s basketball, gymnastics [love that Simone Biles? Imagine the hours she’s spent in the gym practicing over and over and over.!] – or business and professional.
In business and in sales – the best performers and achievers spend many hours thinking, prepping and practicing/ rehearsing. I had a surgery a few years ago – I asked the dr. how many times he’d done this kind… he replied “about 800” That gave me even greater confidence and trust!
We all look up to champions – admire them – but when it comes to putting in the time and the repetitions in our chosen field, 92% of people drop out.
One of the most powerful traits you can build into your teen is the habit of self-discipline!! But then, you – and they – will soon and quickly hit the BOREDOM problem. Doing a million sit-ups just gets boring!! It’s been said that it takes 10,000 repetitions to master anything. NOT TRUE – although it’s probably close. The source who came up with this concept explains that it came from a less scientific and precise measurement. So 10,000 reps is not gospel – but you get the idea!
Want to know how to overcome the boredom factor and make discipline and repetition MORE ENJOYABLE and ENTERTAINING?
5 WAYS to STRENGTHEN, BUILD YOUR TEEN’S SELF-DISCIPLINE:
1. Visualize 2 things: (1) the end result benefit fulfilled; (2) performing the repetitions WITH A SMILE!
2. Remind yourself of the benefit gained through this discipline [also gets boring after the 15th time]
3. Refrigerator chart, tracking daily performance [even/ also good for parents!!]
4. A supportive partner [NOT a critical one]
5. Identify and focus on “Finer, finer levels of detail” - drawn from the work of FLOW, the Psychology of Optimal Experience
• getting a little bit better – measurably(!) each time
• – each set or each day or each week, etc.
• – gives the user something to target and go after,
• Engages his/her mindset more actively
And if they fall short, such as (o) only 8 of 10 reps or (o) 20 of 30 minutes homework or studying or similar, give them positive credit – don’t criticize. THEY KNOW when they fell short – you should emphasize the positive!
And if you’d like to know more about our teen success coaching programs to build improved discipline and other success traits, applicable for ALL teens, regardless of current level of achieving – or not – contact us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
"We really focused on
working together because we know that we don't have the size we did last
year." These are quotes from a high
school athlete and team leader. These are the lessons of high school sports –
worth learning, practicing and applying THROUGHOUT life.
Get your teen involved, if
s/he fits or desires. Of course you can’t force your teen into something they
dislike or disdain – but encourage or influence your teen – or find another/
different option or opportunity to learn these life skills – beyond the
I was on football and track
teams – and still have recollections and friendships from those days – and the
only things we remember were the good things!
One other excellent option is
With total respect for other
school activities, these two develop life-long skills and traits – while most
Both sports and theater require
try-outs, possible rejection, not being ‘the star,’ learning to be a supporting
character or role, persevering, advancing/ growing into a larger, more
important role – most of which are simply not available to be learned in the
Are there harsh, even
unwanted, unfair lessons they might learn?
Unfair coaches, policies, etc.
Yes – but that also is a life lesson, leading to the need to build
RESILIENCE – rebounding from and overcoming even unfair defeats.
If you’d like to discuss – or
even learn more about our success coaching programs for teens, email me at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com!
Pair-a-dime [20 cents]? Speak English, stop
with the fancy words!!
loved the word Paradigm since high school. We had a math teacher whom we learned to appreciate. He introduced us to the word paradigm LONG
before the rest of the world began using it [no, I won’t say how old I am]. But it’s been a recurring and enlightening word
and concept in my work and learning experience ’lo these many years. And here’s why that’s important to YOU!
paradigm is the framework within which we interpret and understand our world.
In math, we usually use base 10 as our paradigm for counting [1-10]. In computer programing, it’s two: ON/ OFF or
YES/ NO. In the US, we speak English –
in the UK, they speak English – but it’s different!
word Paradigm has so much explanatory meaning in so many areas. One of
the secrets of changing or improving ANYTHING is to look at it from a different
perspective - a new paradigm. For example, humor is funny because the comedian
changes the expected Paradigm - the punchline – against YOUR expectation.
exactly the same way, your teenager does things that make no sense to you - or
worse! And yet if you try, struggle, change your perspective, see it from their
paradigm - you will almost always walk away highly informed and illuminated!
the work of Carol Dweck [‘MINDSET’] – she moved us away from the belief that – “if
I didn’t learn it the first time, I can’t” toward a different paradigm - “I haven’t
learned it YET – but I will!”
One of the paradigms I see
referenced CONSTANTLY regarding teens is “I told him to do (something) - and he
didn’t do it – and now look where he is [or isn’t].”
Think about that paradigm for
a minute: “I TOLD him.” And it didn’t
work! How much longer are you going to TELL,
TELL, TELL – when it isn’t working – until YOU change your paradigm?
I’ve said it before – here it
Wouldn’t it be great to
UNDERSTAND their thinking? How do ya
think you might find that out? What if you
ASKED a QUESTION!?
To enhance, accelerate and strengthen
your understanding of your teen, ask a question or two – unbiased, not challenging
– just wondering – to better understand their thoughts and thinking!! You WILL be enlightened!!
If you want or hope to breed
a teenager who THINKS, why shut him/ her down when they DO think? ASK a question: “What do you mean? I don’t understand
– help me to see what you’re thinking – explain, please.”
Then, use one of the most powerful
communication skills we’ve got: LISTEN!
On a different paradigm-shift topic: CREATIVITY: as you consider the possibility of your teen
advancing up the ladder of success throughout life, be ASSURED that one of the
most fundamental and powerful traits is creativity. Doing something better, faster, more
efficiently - or inventing something new are the things that will speed his/her
trip ‘up the ladder’ - - and they’re ALL instances of creativity.
And what IS creativity? It’s establishing or opening a NEW PARADIGM. Creativity is defined as two or more ideas
not previously combined, connected, blended, considered together.
FYI – the classic creativity/
new paradigm question is “WHY NOT?”
Bottom line? Until life is perfect, Change is needed. And change necessitates new paradigms.
TEEN Success Simplified - Rockin’ Your Teen’s Success!
That’s our goal and we do it SIMPLY and easily