Launch your life, Teen Success Coaching
Launch your life, Teen Success Coaching
27.09.2017
Steve Simons
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As the new school year gains speed, I’d encourage you to encourage your student(s) to KNOW what their grades are, often and NOW.  Once in a while, I have some great thoughts.  Here’s one: it is impossible to improve anything without a number - golf, bowling, weight loss, etc.   I am currently in the early stages of collaborating on an initiative called Grade$Count.  One of the foundational elements is encouraging kids – and working with their school – to have easy access and knowledge of their grades.  Far too often, I’ve been working with a teen – and ask him/her how their grades are – and a disturbingly high percentage of time, they don’t know. Set the stage now – work with their teachers to let them know you want your teen/ their student to know what their grades are, so that they can intervene as quickly as possible, if and when needed.  And frankly, ‘knowing the score’ almost always inspires anyone to want to do a little bit better!  So maybe, when you and they see those grades, take a minute or two to ask – “How do you feel about that?”  - PAUSE, WAIT FOR REPLY – then, as it may fit – say “is there anything I can help with to help you build it?”  It’s a subtle way to show that you’re paying attention, want to help, and encourage their focus and attention. Oh, one more thing – do this REGULARLY.  The more and earlier you know and can guide your student – the less harsh you will ever need to be. Keep score – and succeed! On another note: Harshness breeds the same There’s one on-line post I see frequently regarding dealing with teenagers in which the writer (“expert”) is constantly advising parents in applying harsh, overpowering techniques to address bad behaviors – refusal to do homework, disrespect, etc. – but his approach is ALWAYS very harsh.  While I can’t disagree with most of what he says, it just seems to me that most young people are inherently pretty good kids – they’re just searching and exploring alternate behavioral choices – and need just a little re-direction, guidance and reinforcement.
29.08.2017
Steve Simons
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“Most people lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau To avoid a school year of quiet desperation, why not make this your student’s most successful year ever?  To accomplish that, some change – maybe a little, maybe a lot – is necessary:   ·        What will be different about school this year for your teenager? ·        Will they study more? ·        Will they manage their time better? ·        Does your student have a vision for success that motivates them every day? If you answered no to any of the above, there are several ways you can help your teenager make this year their best year.  Homework does not have to be a daily battle, but you should enforce a few rules. ·        Turn off the TV, but music is fine.  Background music may help keep your child more focused. ·        Texting and homework do not mix.  Push alerts on your child’s cell phone will pull their focus away, so have them put their phone out of ear shot during homework hours. ·        Define a study space that works for your child and the rest of the family.  Maybe it’s your teenagers’ room, or the kitchen table. Good study habits are created, not born. ·        Maintaining a regular schedule serves all family members best.   It helps to build good study and lifelong successful habits. ·        Study in intervals.  It’s hard to focus on any one thing for hours at a time.  Depending on your teen, a 5-minute break every half hour will increase performance. ·        Avoid cramming.  Most students know well in advance when tests are scheduled.  Reading chapters, taking notes, or rewriting notes taken during class, over a few days, will help with retention.  How do you handle a student who constantly avoids doing school work?  There’s a reason they avoid it –and it’s valuable for you to explore and discuss that with them.  Could be a bad past experience – either with the subject or a teacher. Could be that’s it just hard for them! Could be distraction by the need/desire to talk with friends, get on line, etc.  Address and resolve these issues, amicably and consensually.  A word of caution: DO NOT LECTURE or “TELL” them what to do or how they should see things.  Be assured – this will ‘shut them down’ attitudinally.  Discuss issues and help enlighten them.  Use QUESTIONS and questioning, and a few dramatic pauses.  [in other words, when you ask a question and receive a negative, even hostile response – or no response or “I don’t know” – sit quietly with no facial expression. One popular teen response is “I don’t know.”  Don’t let them get away with it.  Remain on the subject and or target.  Wait for an answer.  If none is coming, ask another question.  One of the best questions, asked in various forms, is “what did you learn from that?”  Every defeat or failure or setback has a learning lesson inside it.  Ask, explore and identify it!     While I’m not a huge fan of his, one of Dr. Phil’s best questions is “how’s that working for you?”  HOWEVER – that’s actually somewhat sarcastic – so AVOID it.  Ask gentler questions like “what results have you gotten in the past?” – or similar. Finally – maintain regular follow-up – weekly, may every other day – and strive to support and maintain that regular schedule referenced above. MAKE IT A GREAT YEAR! 
27.07.2017
Steve Simons
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Have you ever had a coach?  A life coach, an executive or leadership coach?  If you have, you know that the good ones can have a profound and positive impact on your life – business or personal.  Fact is, according to the people who track such figures, business and life coaching is one of the fastest growing professions throughout the US!  My expectation and belief is that’s because it works!  Bill Gates has said “everyone should have a coach.”  Ever seen any sports teams go onto the field without a coach? Actors have directors, singers have voice coaches, etc. Here’s the bad news: despite the best and most dedicated parenting, many (!) incoming college students, despite stellar academic performance, have weak self-management skills and habits.  And when the first big challenge hits them in college, they collapse ("mentally"/ behaviorally) ! As the fall school semester approaches, it might be worth your considering a success coach for your teen – not because s/he is failing or stumbling – but because you want the best for them – and a coach would accelerate and assure their success [and happiness!] – now, into college and into life! If you’d like to learn about success coaching for teens, contact us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com – or visit our website, Launch-Your-Life.com , complete the Success Snapshot on the Teens Programs page – and decide for yourself.  
13.07.2017
Steve Simons
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High schoolers and young adults are maturing toward adulthood, no matter how you slice it.  Let’s make it easier for them by using a learning and growth process for something they like to do but wrapped or hidden inside a sports or leisure activity.  This will also increase and strengthen the bond between parent and teen – in a positive way, and embed an approach to improving AT ANYTHING – transferable to any area of life. Have you ever tried to sit still and do nothing for more than 20 minutes?  Not reading, sleeping, singing, writing, watching TV or surfing the ‘net.  Almost no one can, including your teen!  So the challenge becomes – how to gently guide your young person during these long leisurely summer days – and make it enjoyable and worth THEIR motivated action! There’s almost nothing we don’t want to improve at (even teenagers): golf, bowling, lacrosse, tennis, cross-country running, baseball, video games, gpa, body structure [weight loss, working out, getting in shape], etc., etc. Suggestions for Motivating Your Teen Gently inquire as to something they like to do or become better at.  [if you don’t know what they like to do, THAT’S your starting point!] Ask them what “level” or score they’d like to move up to or achieve. Key point: it’s impossible to become better at anything without a number – a score, a measurement of some kind.  If anyone you tells you “it can’t be measured” – don’t believe them.  They simply haven’t thought about it long enough.  And “I’ll just know” is similarly a hollow answer. Find a number – a score or measurement One gentle challenge you could use: “I’ll bet you can’t …” - [beat your last score…] Basic process for Motivating Your Teen ·         After finding that score or measurement, ask “HOW do you think can boost your score, or do better, or beat your best”, etc. ·         This is critical – because MOST people don’t really even know how to improve at anything- they just believe if they keep practicing, it’ll just happen. ·         Powerful insight: practice does not necessarily make perfect, it makes permanent.  This is where your guidance comes in. You may get a little push-back here – don’t let it dissuade you.  Go into the conversation with some possible actions or steps.  If they avoid or deny, offer your thoughts as possibilities.  Even if they reject yours, you’ve begun a dialog!    Avoid “WORK HARDER!” as a solution or strategy.  It means almost nothing. Try converting it to “practice longer” or “spend more time learning with my coach” or “spend more time throwing with my teammate” or “concentrate on hitting the upper right corner of the net”, or “hit 40 of 50 free throws” etc., etc. ·        Identify  and collaborate on steps/ actions your teenager can take to improve: planned time, go to gym, go to field, etc. ·        If you don’t know, and your teen doesn’t know – EXPLORE TOGETHER! ·         Think ‘finer and finer levels of detail’ ·         Compliment OFTEN, no matter how small the change ·         Make this a recurring event or occurrence without being intrusive or annoying The key points are (1) measuring and (2) small, sequential growth and progress steps.  AND reflecting on progress.  And if there was or is no progress, that’s further basis for growth – maybe finding someone who knows and can help.  In any field of endeavor – sports, academia, etc. – the secret is almost always breaking it down into finer and finer steps or actions [“finer levels of detail”]. And the MOST important point for Motivating Your Teen The LEARNING that occurs is easily and directly transferred to life and the pursuit of success.  Try a Sample CASUAL CONVERSATION: (1)                       “how’re you doing at _____?” [whatever they like to do] (2)                       “How much better do you want to be or get to? (3)                       “HOW do you improve at this?”  [“I don’t know” is often the easy/lazy answer – don’t allow it to drop there, or, if it’s your preference, come back later and re-start] (4)                       “When do you do that?  For how long, etc.” (5)                       Ask “When will you be going after that?”  “Can I watch?”  OR – “Can I check back afterward to see how you did?” (6)                       Expect that, if this a whole new approach for you, s/he may be suspicious: what’s Mom/ Dad up to now?  Did they read another ‘Grow Your Teen book’ or something?”  Weather the storm – persevere! (7)                       Maintain YOUR focus and attention on these steps – because far too many people – not just teens – drop the ball, lose focus, ‘forget,’ become distracted, etc. (8)                       Reap the rewards of a more success-powerful teen! And from a test I gave when I was a school psychologist: “Success makes people happy!”  
 We have BAD news and Good news - - - First, THE BAD ·         As we hear almost daily, there’s an ever-increasing number of teenage drug addiction cases, deaths, etc. ·         Addiction SUCCESS is VERY LOW – ·         90% (!!!) of drug rehab clients FAIL or FALL BACK ·         Success rate is approximately 10% - nationally! ·         The HUGE cost is not just $$$$ – it’s HUGE and long-term ·         Stress, family strife, aggravation and worry for the family as well as the teen ·         The effects are ALWAYS long-term – for life!! ·         Parents – it’s time to pay attention ·         Stop telling yourself – “maybe others, but not my kid” ·         PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pay attention ·         Please go to this link for signs and indicators:    http://drugfree.org/article/look-for-warning-signs/#.WRRZyjHQDr8.email But there’s GOOD NEWS!! A positive and preventative strategy! This is the process we use at Launch-Your-Life.com - you can use it too: Coach Steve’s Success Tips of the Week [follow these in sequence] 1.     Brainstorm Dreams 2.     Select 1 or 2 as Goals 3.     Work toward them DAILY 4.     Learn from setbacks 5.     Be Persistent– DON’T GIVE UP And if the goal changes, THAT’S OK! [it’s the goal-pursuit PROCESS that’s the power] And we are available to speak to parents and other groups – on this and other teenage success-related topics. 
15.05.2017
Steve Simons
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Addressing, PREVENTING teenage drug addiction - News Challenge 13, WNYT-TV.  PLEASE WATCH – IMPORTANT INFORMATION for parents of teens. //wnyt.com/news/addiction-awareness-launch-your-life/4482313/?cat=12168
12.05.2017
Steve Simons
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Tomorrow morning, May 13, at 8:15am, we will be discussing teenage drug addiction and recovery on News Challenge 13, WNYT-TV.  Please watch or record it – important information for parents of teens.
17.01.2017
Steve Simons
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Pride of achievement is THE most powerful motivator influencing human performance.  [for dogs, it’s probably treats or affection.]  Pride of performance is especially important for teens as they and their self-perception grow.  They waver between [believing] they know everything – against doubting and questioning themselves, their parents and the world. So building a resilient self-image at this age can only strengthen their future.  How does a parent begin to build or strengthen their teen’s self-pride? We usually think of three kinds of motivation: FEAR, INCENTIVE, and PRIDE of ACHIEVEMENT.  Experience and even empirical evidence shows that Pride of Performance is THE most powerful!!  So – let’s use it!  [FYI - There are spiritual or Biblical references to pride as one of seven deadly sins.  This is NOT that kind of pride.] One approach we find that begins influence motivational initiative is to invite teens to identify one thing they would take pride in achieving “tomorrow or this week.”  “Billy/ Joey/ Bobbi, what ONE thing could you accomplish this week that you would feel really good about?”  Sometimes, you’ll receive a sarcastic reply… Pause, wait them out – say nothing but don’t walk away.  Make it obvious “we’re not done.”   When you get an answer - DO NOT JUDGE.  If it’s important or meaningful to the person, that’s sufficient.  What also can happen – if or in a group – is that someone else – a peer – may say “oh, c’mon, Joey, that’s lame, who are you kidding?”  And if Joey is sincere, he’ll defend his goal.  And if it IS a weak, limp, ‘minor-league’ goal – he’ll replace it.  For a parent, let it go.  DO NOT critique or judge.  They’ll come around soon enough.  Now on to the keys: 1.      As days and weeks continue, invite and request that they progressively increase what they’re pursuing.  As this progression continues, the achiever’s self-expectation AND self-image strengthens.  And self-image is THE single-most influential, guiding and defining factor in all human performance. 2.      KEEP SCORE!  Put up a chart on the wall in which your teen is asked to WRITE “Yes or No,” achieved or not, or a mark or number – whatever makes sense.  Be absolutely assured that this is a very effective mode of drawing attention.  Basic rule of business which directly applies here: What gets measured - gets attention! Can you imagine how motivating it is for someone to FAIL to achieve the goal they said they were proud of pursuing and achieving?  INEVITABLY, if it truly was important to them, they will re-commit the next week – and probably the week after, and so on - and that’s what we’re after!!  And here’s where you’ll know you hit a home run – when they say to you – “I’m gonna bump it up higher this week!” Try it out, keep score of achievements and progression – and watch them grow!
29.09.2016
Steve Simons
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Several years ago, driving to the Outer Banks for vacation, on a Pennsylvania country road, I stopped at a “four-way stop” intersection [I thought], I saw a car coming on my right and assumed they would also stop.  I proceeded into the intersection – BAMM!! My mistake – that road did NOT have a stop sign! L Afterward, I got to thinking of the definition of “accident.”  It’s something you simply did not expect, it ‘came out of nowhere’ – you thought you had it covered. That’s EXACTLY what’s happening to many of today’s incoming college students.  They have the best academic preparation ever – and yet a disturbing and increasing proportion ARE FAILING.  WHY?  [and how about yours?] Parents today give their kids the best schools, the best parenting, the best mentoring, the best tutors – and they still fail!  [certainly not all, but the numbers increase every year: drop-outs or taking 5 or 6 years to complete (a very expensive) 4-year degree, etc.  But wait, IT GETS WORSE: very often, these students haven’t developed the skills and habits to succeed at a job AFTER graduation!  They don’t know how to undertake and complete projects and tasks, plan, prioritize, allocate their time - and that’s what employers WANT and NEED! The critical issue is that, you, the parent, have very little way to KNOW if they’ll succeed in college until they’re there! Take the quick survey below for immediate feedback!  And if you’d like to strengthen your teen’s success, even if they’re already strong, consider this: Coaching and developing success skills – goal-setting, self-discipline, self-motivation, planning, time management, rebounding from setbacks and defeats – are the core and habits built through the program and process of Launch-Your-Life.com.  Whether your teenage student is weak, average or strong, developing these skills, knowledge and habits can only IMPROVE their future!! Connect to Launch.Daily@gmail.com for further information, respond to this blog, or email us. Is your teenager poised for success? 1.      My teenager starts most days with clear, specific goals, directed toward some long-term dream goal 1.      Always 2.      Mostly 3.      Some 4.      Not often/ never 2.      When my teenager does not achieve a goal - fails’, they find out WHY – and begin strengthening for the next attempt 1.      Always 2.      Mostly 3.      Some 4.      Not often/ never 3.      When my teenager does not achieve a goal - ‘fails’, they interpret it as a challenge to perform better the next time 1.      Always 2.      Mostly 3.      Some 4.      Not often/ never SCORING If you scored your teenager as 1’s on all questions, they are solidly poised for success.  If you would like to strengthen, accelerate and assure their success in college and in life, Launch-Your-Life will still be a wise investment, to strengthen, assure and accelerate their future.  To learn more, go here… ____________.  [note to self: which page?] If you scored your teenager as a mix of 1’s and 2’s, there’s room for growth.  To learn more, go here… ____________.  [note to self: which page?] If you scored your teenager as a mix of 2’, 3’s and 4’s – they will need to strengthen their self-management skills to release their true potential and capacity.   Launch-Your-Life can definitely strengthen and prepare them for an even more successful college and life career.  To learn more, go here… ____________.  [note to self: which page?] NOTE to parents: if you scored them as all 2’s, it shows a need for growth and change – otherwise their real potential will remain partially dormant.
16.09.2016
Steve Simons
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We all hope for it, wish for it, would do anything to help our teenagers achieve it! And when we talk about success, many of us quickly become quite philosophical and say “It’s not just money.” And of course, that’s right.  SUCCESS surely includes family life, interpersonal relationships, good health - but be assured that a frustrated, unfulfilled career WILL reverberate, permeate and diminish one’s life. Let’s first recognize that career success is not simply from knowledge – but rather if and how that knowledge is USED.  If the most skilled surgeon in the world doesn’t USE those skills, s/he is as average as the rest of us. But wait - - average?  What was Garrison Keilor’s line about Lake Wobegon – “where all the men are handsome and all the children are above average.” Many times, average [or above or below] is defined by an IQ test score.  However, those tests measure and predict only ONE THING: school success.  As soon as a student leaves school, IQ scores become (relatively) meaningless. We all know countless stories of people who couldn’t read well – or didn’t possess some other school skill – but who achieved great things in business or science or entertainment, etc.   Henry Ford said he wanted to surround himself with people smarter than him – and he was clearly very successful. It’s UNTRUE that everyone’s created equal.  We’re not!  We each have differing strengths, weaknesses, talents, shortcomings, etc.  We’ve certainly seen MUCH unexpected talent on TV shows in recent years.  So – one key element is to discover what your child’s talent is. Young people (and others) are sometimes cautioned about pursuing a goal for which they aren’t “talented.”  I’d suggest - let’s let him/her pursue that goal, learn what’s needed to achieve it, see how dedicated or committed s/he is – and regardless of natural talent – go for it!  Worst case scenario is that they’ll learn about themselves.  BEST case?  They may become the world’s best musician OR teacher OR engineer OR coach OR heart surgeon, etc., unless they were guided away by someone’s well-intentioned advice not to pursue that goal. Fact is, Daniel Goleman in his seminal book EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE documented the fact that the greatest predictor and driver of success is how one handles defeats – it’s NOT intelligence, talent, level OR source of education nor genetics.  The deciding trait is whether s/he handles defeat or failure in a non-emotional, learn-from-this-experience and try again manner. In coming weeks, we will explore how to strengthen and accelerate your child’s success. And of course, please feel free to comment on these thoughts.
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