I have been thinking about writing a blog post about millennials for a few weeks, and it wasn’t until I saw the quote by Howard Thurman that I was fully pushed into action. I work with millennials everyday. They are passionate, interesting and want more from life than the basic 9 to 5. The older generations look at them and wonder why they don’t shut up and work harder. But the millennials understand that life is more than just working for forty years and then retiring.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
Whenever I work with millennials I find two truths to be evident. The first is that they want to grow and the second is that they want to contribute. Growth and contribution are two fundamental characteristics of living things. Think about it; a tree doesn’t grow to be forty feet and then stop. The tree doesn’t stop dropping seedlings and leaves after twenty-five years. Trees continue to grow and contribute for as long as they are alive. The same is true for people. If you want to see the people that are most fully alive, look at the ones that are growing and contributing.
The obstacle that the millennials I work with seem to face is how to grow keep contribute in a world that is increasingly busy and filled with noise. Below are some suggestions to helps those who want to be fully alive.
1. Read for at least ten minutes everyday
If I challenged your to read twenty books this year, you would probably say that you didn’t have time. But if you are willing to read ten minutes everyday, you can get to twenty books in the next year. Reading books is fundamental to growth. In the last few years I have come across some of the greatest writers and leaders in the world. I have learned from Matthew Kelly that I should strive to be the best version of myself. John Maxwell taught me that leadership is influence, and Tony Robbins laid out a system for financial freedom. I would not have any of that wisdom if I didn’t pick up a book.
2. Every night write down three wins
At the end of each night before I go to sleep, I write down three things that I am grateful for or as I like to call it, three wins. I usually write about my success at work, something great my children did, and something amazing my wife and I experienced. Doing so at the end of the day brings about joy and the realization that the life I have is pretty amazing. When I see gratitude it opens up my mind to new and creative ideas, and allows me to grow into a better version of yourself.
3. Find a mentor
Finding a mentor, or several mentors helps broaden your horizons and allows you to see the world through a different lens. I have several mentors who help me with business, teaching, fitness and faith. Your mentor does not have to be one person. If you don’t know where to start, find a person that you respect and admire and ask them for five minutes of their time. Start by asking them questions about how they became successful, or what you can do to get better at your job. I have found that mentors are plentiful and when you ask someone for advice, they are willing to do so because they love helping others. After all, they are seeking the same thing that you are which is growth and contribution.
4. Serve others
The best way to contribute to the world is to serve those around you. Even if you just sign up to help at a local 5K, your work will be greatly appreciated and you will begin to see that life is bigger than your own world. When you recognize that, it makes it easier to see the bigger picture and find clarity in what you want
Every person I know is seeking a richer and more abundant life experience. We are all striving to be significant and to be fully alive we must grow and contribute. I hope you spend some time choosing one or all four of the ideas listed above. And remember, it’s ok to want more. We were all put on this earth for a God given purpose and by growing and contributing we will more easily find our calling.