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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Millennial Meltdown - Part 6...

January, 2007 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia I saw it happen on this very stage shortly after this picture was taken:
A crowd of about thirty-thousand had gathered, some of which were in overflow rooms at the Georgia World Congress Center once the Arena had reached capacity.  This was the moment my friend of about a year at the time took the main stage at the largest college conference in the world.
He was only twenty-two, which seems young in most professional industries other than entertainment.  The night he stepped on the main stage with his guitar in-hand was what he had spent hours pouring over everyday for most of his life.  What many people do not know is the magnitude of the conversations he and I had during that time.  

Where am I going with all of this?  Millennial goals and how we easily lose our way while trying to obtain them.

My friend in this situation had a goal of getting somewhere with his music and used every spare moment he had to promote it.  I saw others in similar shoes during the same time period who were very talented as well and claimed to have a passion for their work, yet did not give it every bit of their energy; they did not make it.  The great thing about my friend is that even through other jobs and making sure he had a secondary plan in case the music thing did not pan out, he never once lost focus of his ultimate goal.  Writing music all the time is one thing, but grabbing every gig and open mic you can find, recording every track possible so you can put it online, being incredibly active in every social media environment possible, collaborating with other musicians, and keeping tabs on the status of record labels was what really made him shine.  
After that night in 2007, after he took the main stage, he signed with the most prominent label in his genre and continues to be a best-selling artist within those parameters and on world tours to this very day.  Why?  He filled every spare moment of empty space in his life chasing his goal and made sure to promote every bit of it in every way imaginable.  

 Why did I use music as an example?  Within my own life and personal experiences, music goals are the most familiar to me.  I went from chasing music, to golf/country club management, so using the example of golf is not nearly as riveting.

As Millennials, we seem to have lost this dream somewhere. Actually, no, we have not lost the dream so much as we have lost the drive;  that makes more sense.  Someone, somewhere in our lives has told us before that we should set goals and follow our dreams to ultimate success, and some of us have tried even though we were not really taught or guided in how to do so effectively.  A few generations ago, teenagers were told to go out, get a job, stick with it, and move up in the world to find success.  However now, we are told to just go out and do whatever it is we do until we figure it out on our own, for the most part.  

Creating goals and following the dreams that have been set inside our heads for years is great, but the reality is sometimes we cannot put every ounce of trust we have into them;  many of us were never taught to think that far ahead.  There are too many of us floating around out there who say things like "I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life."  even before finding success in what it is we are doing.  I am not talking about money;  success does not always have a dollar sign with it.  Yet, some of us older Millennials have spent the larger part of a decade chasing down a full-time dream while applying part-time effort, or less.   

I have seen more than my fair share of people in my age demographic who have their families invest in their business or theoretical ventures of success and be very proactive at the start, only to let their commitment slip.  For some reason I cannot explain, we have the idea in our heads that we can start the ball rolling with most things and then just sit back and watch it all fall into place.  Who the heck taught us that?  The way I see things is that in order to get anywhere in life or to make a success of your ideas or yourself, you must have a never-faltering drive to constantly do better; to continually improve your skill within your business in whatever that may be.  I can name far too many people near my age (27) who still have some sort of financial support from their parents because they are sitting back, waiting for something big to happen in their ventures without being proactive enough to make it happen or even push it along with enough commitment.  This literally makes me ill in the pit of my stomach.  

Talking about our success is easy, just look at Facebook if you have any Millennials present on yours.  Anyone can be a "big deal" on the internet or talk up what they are doing to the point of making such believable at first glance because I see it everyday.  Take me for example:  My blog has been growing incredibly fast over just the past four months it has been active.  I could tout myself as a full-time blogger or writer and talk a big game about how I am doing one of my passions as a career...But I am not.   You do not see my analytic numbers or page views, so I could fudge any of that information to make me look bigger than I am, and unless you knew me personally, you would probably believe this.  

Millennials have been given this stigma of being too dependent and enabled, which I see myself much too often.  I have passions and I have goals in life but I have reached the age where it makes more sense for me to have and keep my realistic dreams close by as well.  Just because I do not write, build custom cars, or play music full-time does not mean that I should get a dead-end job and keep myself from growing in other aspects and trying out other industries because they were not my first loves.  When I was a kid, I hated being around my dad's shop and hated working with wood.  Actually, when I came back to the company, I still hated it, but I am growing and trying to apply my own experience and presence with the company and the potential for every facet of growth is boundless, which makes me happy to be there.  None of this means I am any less in love with my other passions.  You are reading my blog right now, are you not?  That means I am still writing.
Keep your goals and keep your dreams, invest everything you can in them, but do not let other opportunities pass you by which could allow you to grow in new experiences.  Nobody is telling you to give up, but keep one foot in the door of reality, always have a backup plan, and do not allow anyone to enable you.

Grace and Peace,
   -Drew 

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