Global, inclusive, connected, digital, highly educated, curious, and socially responsible are a few words often used to describe Millennials. And, after spending a few evenings recently mentoring several small groups of our next gen workforce, I would add warm, cordial, respectful, and wonderful human beings with an insatiable appetite for learning and growth to the list. I always walk away from these sessions full of hope and inspiration; thinking about the possibilities of what is ahead for these young changemakers and their passion to leave the world better than they found it.
As a Boomer in the last quarter of my career, I am starting to feel the tug of time getting short and my focus shift from success to significance. Since Gen Y will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025, all I can seem to think about is our responsibility as leaders to cultivate the extraordinary potential that is innate in every single one of them.
Millennials, possibly more than any generation before them, crave high touch leaders; mentors and dare I say friends as bosses who are willing to have deep, meaningful conversations with them. They are sincerely interested in us sharing our wisdom and perspective, especially when we take the time to do so in a way that meets them where they are. In my conversations with them, I find myself focusing on three simple things to help them live a life of meaning and purpose:
Find Your Dance Floor
“Finding your dance floor” is about truly understanding who you are on the inside, what you value, what you believe in, and the difference you want to make in the world. It’s the extent to which you can wake up every day, and life and work are aligned with what’s most important to you. So spend as much time as you possibly can with and around people and in places that celebrate who you are (your authentic self) verses what others or society wish for you to be. When doing so, you’ll find those are your best days- full of energy, significance, and happiness.
Invest in You
We are all so incredibly busy that at times we forget that there are few things more important than investing in ourselves. Taking time to care for our mind, body, spirit, and emotions is essential to optimal living and much like finding your dance floor, an imperative to being the best version of you. So be curious and continue to learn – eat, sleep and move – give back and make a difference – love and be loved. And, for a little bit of extra energy, practice authentic happiness, or doing things for no other reason than to make you smile.
Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” And grace, an ethic of kindness, is quite possibly the greatest gift we can extend to others. We would all benefit greatly by extending it to ourselves as well, giving ourselves a break and embracing the belief that you are enough.
Millennials are the largest generation in American history, approximately 95 million strong. The potential of their impact truly is extraordinary which compels me to do all I can in support of their work. How about you, what messages are you sending the next gen workforce and are you willing to have those deep, meaningful conversations they so crave?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Switch and Shift, and has been republished with permission.