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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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:
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
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.
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:
[I like to make
them ‘silly-small’ – so small you’d have to TRY
not to achieve
Set VERY short
deadlines – that creates a sense of urgency which is NOT overwhelming but
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!
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.
coaching high level business execs for 25 years – and that exact strategy
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
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
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!
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
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?
“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,
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
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:
poor study habits,
weak and poor motivation,
lack of focus,
UNDER-performing vs. their
Launch-Your-Life is a teen
success coaching program which can provide the decision-making skills for all these
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!
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.
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.
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?
very large measure, our kids will achieve very close to the level we did - that
same AVERAGE level!!
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.
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?
approach WORKS, based on 35-plus years of coaching success and 150 years of
advisory board input at Launch-Your-Life!
Dreams – brainstorm, set
them, the filter down to:
Goals – 1, 2 or 3, for
A plan – long-term,
monthly, daily, weekly [5-8 minutes/day]
– NEED a 3rd party, such as parent or coach.
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!
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%!
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.
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
Typical and common teen problems:
Frequently, easily distracted
Getting into Drugs and/or Alcohol
Behaviors and reactions are Unpredictable
Loss of focus - academics/school
Little or no desire FOR ANYTHING
Call or email: (518) 475-1538 or CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
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.
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
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.
one more thing – do this
more and earlier you know and can guide your student – the less harsh you will
ever need to be.
score – and succeed!
On another note: Harshness breeds
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.
people lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau
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?
you answered no to any of the above, there are several ways you can help your
teenager make this year their best year.
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
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
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.
study habits are created, not born.
regular schedule serves all family members best. It helps to build
good study and lifelong successful habits.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
– maintain regular follow-up – weekly, may every other day – and strive to
support and maintain that regular schedule referenced above.
IT A GREAT YEAR!
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,
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
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],
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
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 –
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
“how’re you doing at _____?” [whatever they like
“How much better do you want to be or get to?
“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
“When do you do that? For how long, etc.”
Ask “When will you be going after that?” “Can I watch?” OR – “Can I check back afterward to see how
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 –
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.
Reap the rewards of a more success-powerful
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,
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
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
yourself – “maybe others, but not my kid”
PLEASE pay attention
Please go to this
link for signs and indicators:
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:
Steve’s Success Tips of the Week
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
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.