28 Oct The Three P’s – Career Coaching for Teenagers
In my work, I carry out a lot of career coaching. It’s a topic that comes up regularly because young people can feel lost, not really knowing what career choice to make.
This is a very common challenge because the education system encourages students to choose subjects and extra-curricular activities relating to a future career at such an early age. No life experience has been lived through by this point and learning about something in the school classroom for 50 minutes each week is very different to spending 40+ hours per week in a job.
The disruption caused by the 2020-21 pandemic has resulted in many teenagers and young people having guesstimate exam results and grades issued. The outcome this brought about was even more uncertainty around career progress and job availability.
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot
Aligning your three Ps to embark on an incredible career
The main advice I give to people is not to listen to the scaremongering of the media and to focus instead on what you would love to do.
There will always be opportunities. It’s a matter of mindset and choosing a positive one around your career and going for it. What the media or education, or even your parents or friends think, is a good job might not be a good job for you personally.
With that in mind, I want to introduce you to the three Ps of:
Considering these three Ps when it comes to making decisions about a career will help you align your natural gifts, strengths and attributes with a role that you will find joyful and rewarding every single day. Choosing a career that feels more like going out to play because it’s what you truly desire to do will never feel like a dull job. It’ll never make you feel low or cause you to question your purpose in life.
What’s a great job anyway?
The way most people talk about a great job is one that looks good on paper:
• High wage
• Benefits, such as healthcare, holidays, a gym membership
• Conveniently located
Let’s disregard training on the job or part-time roles while studying because they may be a stopgap, or a way for you to gain specific industry knowledge. Imagine yourself in a career role. A full-time job that you visualise to be part of a future you will love. While the benefits listed above are great to have it doesn’t necessarily make the role right for you. Benefits or no benefits, you must love what you do.
If you don’t enjoy your work then you are in the role for the money or for the status you think it will bring. If this is the situation, I guarantee that eventually, you will resent the work. You may even feel resentment towards the company, your boss, your work colleagues – none of which will make you happy.
In this scenario you’re more likely to be stressed by the job and put up with it to pay the bills. You will be trapped simply trying to live – and this is no way to live.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Finding your flow
In previous blogs I’ve talked about finding your flow. When you are in your flow you cannot be stressed, depressed or anxious. Being in flow is a wonderful place to be, especially when searching for a career because it’ll help you make decisions that are aligned with your three Ps.
What’s your favourite radio station or type of music?
What song, singer or band makes you smile, sing, tap your feet and sway to the beat? What lights you up from inside? What tune could you listen to every day, all day? Notice how you feel now if you’re hearing the song. You feel incredible, right? And it was easy!
Imagine this … someone has been messing with your radio station and/or playlist. You pop your earphones in or your headphones on and crank up the volume. Urgh what’s this racket? You can’t bear to listen to it for more than a few seconds. You feel off, right? You’re not in flow anymore because you’ve been made to listen to something you don’t enjoy. Well, multiply that annoying few seconds by several hours, days, weeks, even years. Congratulations, you’ve landed a job that you hate and you’re living it day after day!
Think about the type of music you don’t like for a moment again. Think about how you would feel and react if I was to ask you to attend a concert with me to see a live band or singer of this music genre. Would you come? Even if it was for free?
Imagine further that you were given an assignment to research this type of music. To write an essay or dissertation that required you to listen to songs you couldn’t stand every day for several hours so that you could report on your findings.
Can you see how these examples are an analogy for working in a career that you are not aligned to? It would suck! You would be doing something because others told you to do it or because you believed that a few measly benefits would make it all worthwhile in the end. Wrong. It’s out of flow and it will make you miserable.
Career coaching for teenagers – finding your flow
When you are in flow you are doing what you love and loving what you do. Time disappears. You look at your watch and think only 10 minutes has passed but it’s more like an hour. This is because, by being in flow, you are immersed, engrossed, and loving every second of what you are doing. It’s like nothing else exists. It gives you energy and being in flow means no time for stress, anxiety, anger, frustration or depression.
Take some time right now and think about the subjects you love. What topics do you enjoy learning about, talking about and exploring? What gets you excited, curious and seems to eat away at your time. What’s your favourite class at school or college? These are the subjects that light you up and keep you in flow. Write everything down that you enjoy.
Once you’ve done this, make a note of the subjects and topics you don’t like. Don’t spend too much time doing this second part of the exercise because you’ll fall out of flow otherwise 🙂. Spend enough time making notes around what you dislike, what you find hard and what you struggle to understand.
Now you have a list of subjects that would make a great career choice and an absolute no-no list. Always pay attention to your emotions around topics. If you choose a career path or take a job and your heart isn’t in it, you’ll come to resent everything about it. You may even come to resent yourself for studying for it!
Find your passion and follow it.
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.”
Look around you for inspiration
If you’re still unsure about how to find a career of flow, look around you right now. What’s in your bedroom? What do you treasure, use the most, have on show? Think about your hobbies. What do you do in your spare time? What do you talk about with friends and family? Where do you hang out that gives you joy? What do you spend your money on?
Again, write these details down. It will be worthwhile when you come to make career choices.
I was chatting to a young lady recently who was a solicitor. She’d studied law for six years and had a great job, but her heart just wasn’t in it. She could ‘do’ her job, of course, but she had no passion for it. I asked her a few questions and found out that she loved photography and cats. I suggested that she combine her two loves and become a photographer specialising in cats. Why not? Just because it’s not a typical career and her parents didn’t think it was a ‘good job’ (who defines a good job anyway and in who’s eyes?) why should that stop her if she’s in flow? Not listening to other people’s opinions and beliefs is another piece of advice I always share. Just because other people wouldn’t do something or don’t see it in the same light as you, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be incredible for you.
Look around you. What lights you up? Notice where you spend your time because that’s your passion.
What’s your passion?
Try another noticing exercise and make notes. What are the things that you feel strongly about? What makes you get on your soapbox? What do you get angry about in the news or who and what do you stick up for? Is there a cause that you want to make a stand for – an injustice, unfairness, inequality, damage?
Are you passionate about the environment, animals, children, minority groups? Whatever you are passionate about in an emotional way is probably your purpose. Take some time to think about this.
Who are you really?
Are you naturally creative and innovative, coming up with lots of ideas and daydreaming?
Maybe you’re a people person and love to be in a team environment because this is where you feel energised.
Perhaps you are caring and thoughtful and love to help look after people or animals so that they feel valued and cared for.
Or do you love planning and have a great instinct, being in the right place at the right time to bag a bargain?
Do you love detail and processes, needing structure in your life to feel in flow? Maybe facts and figures light you up inside and that’s what you get excited about.
When you align your passion and purpose with your personality type it’s easy to find an industry that’s right for you – a career where you can play every day!
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
Choose the life you want to lead
Igniting your curiosity and vision will open new opportunities for your career. Think about the examples and exercises in this blog article and explore ideas around the three Ps.
If you have any questions about career coaching for teenagers, stay posted for the next blog articles where I’ll be digging deeper into personality and purpose. Please feel free to browse the Back on Track Teens Blog pages and connect with our socials:
Plot a path that has your name on it. Do what feels right for you and explore options until something clicks. If you lose time, you’re loving what you’re doing!