Success is NOT what most people believe: simple, quick, fast, easy, done… - so I can go sit down, chill out, play video games, watch movies or TV, etc. That’s actually almost avoidance – or giving in to that advertising lie – that life is about sitting around relaxing – WRONG!!! Success IS LIFE – it’s the struggles, the challenges, the victories and the setbacks we all go through every single day – whether it’s traffic jams, forgotten homework, boy-girl relationships, “teacher, I don’t get it,” ‘I didn’t have the time.’  And every single setback we don’t LEARN FROM was a waste of that life, that day, that time.  The best parent will ALWAYS pause, guide, ‘teach’ and help enlighten their teen regarding what SHOULD or COULD have been learned from that setback.  It’s been said that a failure is a defeat you didn’t learn from.  It’s my opinion that any parent who doesn’t pursue this process is a failed parent.  Will they reject you from time to time? YES, probably just like you did, to your parents – but we soldier on, just like a soldier – defeats along the way, onward and onward into battle, on to success.  Stay the course!  
05.06.2018
Steve Simons
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We are bombarded with How-To messages, lessons, sermonettes, advice.  Let’s whittle them down to The Three ABSOLUTES for SUCCESS for Your Teenager, drawn from 25+ years in the success trenches - coaching, observing, advising, failing, rebounding… These are THE THREE key, top, critical components: Without them, your student is committed to a life of mediocrity!  And WITH THEM, even if they’re average in all other areas, they are essentially guaranteed success. Here’s why:  we’ve been told repeatedly that knowledge is power.  IT IS NOT! Like a battery, knowledge is potential power – but it’s useless until and unless it’s connected to something – to life, as it were! To connect that battery, the three attributes below are the ‘connecting cables’ to success! And as reported by college officials, far too many college students are significantly lacking in these three traits. They are: 1.      The stamina and willingness to rebound after a defeat. No one has ever achieved anything of significance without failing along the road to success. And if you’ve shielded them from failures or defeats, they have probably not developed this capacity. [hopefully, not your teenager.] 2.      After suffering a defeat, it’s crucial to LEARN from that setback. REMEMBER - a failure is a mistake you didn’t learn from. If they keep repeating the same mistake over and over, success is getting no closer! As a parent, it’s OK for you to ‘comfort them’ - “oh, it’ll be OK” – but then move quickly on to “what did you learn?” This can take time, effort and exploration. Recognize that it’s overly simplistic and virtually worthless to say “work harder.” Your student needs specifics: do more of WHAT? Do LESS of what? Focus on what specific area or element? And if they were ‘lazy’ – there’s A REASON they were lazy: didn’t really care, didn’t really know what or how to it. This is where you explore, ask, ask, and ask, deeper and deeper. 3.      The final prerequisite building block is true and real goal-setting. If your student/ teen/ young adult can’t convert a wish or a dream or a hope into a real goal, they don’t yet have it.’ Real goals are specific and measurable.  If that hope or dream isn’t either of those, they aren’t goals. And if they’re not specific and measurable, you’ll never know if or when you arrived. The pursuit of goals IS LIFE – whether family and relationships, business or professional success or physical health, etc. Goals need to continue THROUGHOUT life! As we said at the top, if your teenager possesses and APPLIES these attributes, they WILL SUCCEED – even if their “potential” is only average.  And if they don’t, you can pretty well bet they will fall short of their true potential throughout all of life. And your key role as a parent is to check, assure or help them obtain these traits and habit patterns. DO NOT ASSUME they know and do these things!!  If you’d like an assessment tool please contact us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com for further information or guidance! SUCCESS!!
Let’s look at how an underachiever – UNDERACHIEVES – and how you can help your teen to overcome those possibilities or tendencies – and MAXIMIZE their untapped potential. A true story:   I’ve spent 25+ years exploring and understanding how an underachiever underachieves – by looking in the mirror! And here’s why that’s valuable to you: Richard Bach, in Illusions, writes “we teach best what we most need to learn.”  Therein lies the value to you.  I hereby divulge ways I’ve divined to sidestep and overcome achievement avoidance! As director of special education in a small school district, managing [not teaching] a gifted program, I saw a slice of me in some of our students: having been told repeatedly how “smart” I was when I was young, when difficult challenges came, I used the excuse “I didn’t have enough time – but if I did, I’d have done A LOT better.”  That allowed me to retain my (weak) fragile self-image.  Amazing how many years of my life I used that – AND saw it with some frequency in the gifted kids in our program. About that weak self-image: it may have come from several different sources, but the solution(s) remain the same.  Deep, deep inside my brain, I just didn’t believe I was “that good.”  Hence, that led me to further rev up the avoidance strategy I noted above. One more contributing impediment:  I didn’t know about nor use goal-setting and self-discipline.  I could blame my mother, my teachers, anyone else – but I didn’t have it and didn’t know about it – until I was 26 y.o. My point?  We [I] could spend hours and years in psychotherapy, etc., et al.  But here’s the answer, simple as it is: ·         Break things down smaller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! o   [I like to make them ‘silly-small’ – so small you’d have to TRY not to achieve them.] ·         Set VERY short deadlines – that creates a sense of urgency which is NOT overwhelming but breeds success!! Note about time estimates: When we start any project, we have a ballpark estimate of how long it will take.  Even when someone says “I don’t know how long…” – fact is, they really do have some general idea! Suggestion: guide your student into breaking it into no more than 15- to 30-minute chunks or bites or less!.  Hopefully, that will come close to that ‘silly-small’ I noted above.  If you still notice avoidance or procrastination, break them down even smaller. I’ve been coaching high level business execs for 25 years – and that exact strategy overcomes: Procrastination Poor self-image Poor planning Avoidance Weak self-discipline Self-denial and inadequacy Also – reward or compliment your student.  Example – they study for 25 minutes instead of the hour they agreed to – notice and compliment them on what they DID do, even reward them – a cookie or [something…] One more significant revelation: the REBEL syndrome.: by that, I mean there’s a part of my mental processing that says [to me!?] – ‘you can’t make me do that!’ In recent years, I’ve asked a number of professional colleagues and clients – and a significant number agreed - that they see this in themselves as well. When I start my day with a task list, my UNCONSCIOUS mind seems to wander [or revolt] and instead starts on Task Three or Six or something else, instead of Number One – which I’d planned to start with.  MUCH of the time, it’s something else on that list – so that’s a good thing.  So – the key is to be sure you START the day with a well-prioritized list – and just let your actions roll… When I ‘allow this’ to happen, without becoming upset with myself, the day is almost always quite productive! NOTE – that’s bothered me for years: the “just do it’ syndrome.  For many of us, that avoidance I’ve been talking about happens a lot.  So some guru or productivity wizard telling me to ‘just do it’ – has NO UNDERSTANDING of the avoidance and self-doubt going on inside my head.  It’s SO easy for “the experts” to explain so brilliantly how to overcome these issues – but, be assured, they didn’t start from that defeatist mindset.  As always, it’s easier to talk about it than to do it! At base, under-achievers will ALWAYS find a way out – avoiding achieving! L  It’s a deep-set psychological structure that’s probably there permanently – and hence requires DAILY diligence.  DON’T believe the urban myth that it takes 21 days to change a habit – that is COMPLETELY untrue. So if/when you see your teen/student avoiding or rationalizing or giving in to self-defeat, gently try these thoughts/ ideas – remain tactful yet persistent – and you WILL see growth over a period of days, weeks or months.  And, as always, the key is CONSISTENT PERSEVERANCE!  So if you’ve got an under-achieving student, try some of these ideas, gently, tactfully.  And, BTW – they WILL also work WONDERS for average and high achievers!! And if you’d like further discussion about these or other teen success issues, don’t hesitate to reach out – email CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com    Looking for a solution to a problem teen? What about STRENGTHENING an already successful teen? Email CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com    
10.04.2018
Steve Simons
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“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!” was the intro Mr. (Fred) Rogers [on Public Broadcasting] always used.  He lied!!  It’s actually true when you’re 4, 5, 6 years old, but by the time we get to 12 years old and beyond, life begins to present challenges, problems, crises!   Your teen WILL Face CRISES!? Are you prepared?  Are they prepared? Every teen faces crises – ·        what they think of themselves, ·        what their peers think of them, ·        what to wear today, ·        what to say today, ·        what to do when they’re offered drugs or other ‘bad choices’ ·        whether they prioritize and plan – time for homework, ·        ‘wrenching’ themselves away from a video game or Snapchat/ Twitter, etc. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew and had strategies to deal with your teen BEFORE they were forced to face them? And what about: ·        forgotten homework, ·        poor study habits, ·        disrespect, ·        weak and poor motivation, ·        lack of focus, ·        poor self-discipline, ·        UNDER-performing vs. their real potential? Launch-Your-Life is a teen success coaching program which can provide the decision-making skills for all these issues. And if you choose to enroll your teen, that’s great!  BUT FOR NOW, our staff can also provide YOU strategies and approaches FOR YOU to guide your teen or young adult in facing these INEVITABLE crises. Please reply here – let us know which area(s) are most challenging RIGHT NOW – and we will address them with next week’s post!
22.03.2018
Steve Simons
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I GUARANTEE that your teen is easily capable of improving their gpa by 10 points!  GUARANTEE it!!  As a former school psychologist and special ed director, I’ve seen, known and worked with kids – a lot like yours.  I’ve never met your son or daughter – but I stand by those words.  Did you know that 86% of people are committed to being average? It’s true!  Those figures are derived from the numbers of people who QUIT on their goals, as well as job performance and salary increments NOT earned.  From one angle, that’s to be expected – 90-95% of what we do is habit, coupled with that other strangling, restricting, paralyzing human tendency to RATIONALIZE – to explain away why we didn’t do what we said we would.  But the worst part?  In very large measure, our kids will achieve very close to the level we did - that same AVERAGE level!! NO ONE WANTS TO BE AVERAGE – but most people are.  Know why?  They set goals, fail after the first or second obstacle, lose motivation or faith in themselves – and go back to “sit on the bench.”  Recall all the empty explanations you’ve heard around people giving up on setting New Years’ resolutions. If you could find a way or system or approach to EASILY overcome AVERAGENESS, would you use it?  Or allow it to motivate and re-motivate your teen – daily, gently, tactfully, supportively? Our approach WORKS, based on 35-plus years of coaching success and 150 years of advisory board input at Launch-Your-Life! The approach is: Dreams – brainstorm, set them, the filter down to: Goals – 1, 2 or 3, for now A plan – long-term, monthly, daily, weekly [5-8 minutes/day] Implementation, follow-up – NEED a 3rd party, such as parent or coach. It sounds simple – and it is – yet 86% of people – teens or their parents – will drop the ball – for the exact reasons listed above.  In the last 25 years, one of the fastest growing professions is business coaching.  Know why?  Because it helps people with lofty aspirations but who succumb to those human foibles… - to move dramatically toward their beautiful, big goals.  We adapted what we’d learned and known from working with many, many clients across the US and Europe – to teen success.  And after 5-plus years, it WORKS!  Investing just 8 minutes a day in our process and program can elevate your student’s grade point average and life success by at least 10%! If you’d like to discuss and learn more about our process – YES, you can borrow it – and easily accelerate your student’s performance, happiness and reduced stress – please email us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com for a free, no commitment consult to identify and advance yours and your teen’s goals and dreams.
28.11.2017
Steve Simons
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EVERY teen has problems!  [you probably knew that!] Some of those problems will just go away, while some continue and grow.  If you’d like to discuss your teenager’s issues or challenges or problems, call Launch-Your-Life [(518) 475-1538 or CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com ].  Our team and advisory board has been in this field for a cumulative total of 150 years – WE CAN HELP.  The biggest issue is getting past the expectation that ‘it’ll just go away.’ Often times, no coaching is needed, just a little parental encouragement.  But sometimes, it WON’T! And too often, it’s been festering for a long time.  Sometimes, with a little well-directed coaching, your teenager will far exceed even what THEY thought they could do!  We’re in the happiness business – theirs and yours!  Call us!! Typical and common teen problems: Frequently, easily distracted Doesn’t care Rebellious Getting into Drugs and/or Alcohol and/or Sex Behaviors and reactions are Unpredictable Poor decision-making Loss of focus - academics/school Little or no desire FOR ANYTHING  Call or email: (518) 475-1538 or  CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
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!”  
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