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What This Boomer Learned From Millennials

I've been privileged to coach people of different ages and I learn from them all. While my practice didn't set 22-37-year-olds as a target ("too complicated" , I thought. "They're the same age as my children...No") I have been privileged to have quite a few as clients. Yes, there's a freshness and openness and all the other things we cite about them but the most important thing I've learned from Millennials is to just "do it."

We could learn some important things from younger people.

Much of my work is with people who are ready to do something different, but don't know how to start. Others I work with may be afraid, not sure they're qualified, or concerned that the "conditions aren't right yet." In some cases these concerns are valid, but in others it can be the anxious pursuit of perfection that overlooks opportunities wrapped in the mundane.

There's a mindset I've observed in Gen Y that says, "teach me, coach me, and let me do it." I think we can all borrow a page from the Millennial Playbook if we are serious about making BOLD Moves. Here are three things that stand out the most to me when coaching clients "of a certain age":

Let your clients move at their own pace. While this is true for all clients you may be surprised at the speed some are willing to move. While planning is necessary, how much extra "tweaking" really is? Lesson: How quickly would I move if I didn't spend so much time thinking of the obstacles?

Know what you're talking about and get to the point. Your clients don't have time for the flowery words and phrases many of us have used to make ourselves sound smart. In the '80s and '90s when I was in corporate workplaces, it seems the people who could use a lot of words while saying very little were applauded. Some of us still hold on to that mindset. Lesson: What would happen if I stopped trying to impress or persuade people of my value, and simply lived the dream I am pursuing?

Listen for the wellspring that fuels the dream. In the case of some of my younger clients, it isn't the "thing to be done" that is the greatest challenge; Millennials can and will get it done in short order. The real prize is not the destination -- it is the journey and discovery of the greatness within you; the richness to have meaningful encounters without the pressure of performing to meet "generational criteria." Lesson: Am I to be merely a human "doing" or will I embrace becoming a human "being"?

Choose. Today.

Michele Aikens is a transitional life coach. You can reach her at

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