Empowering Teens Is Not The Strangest Thing

I just got back from a week at the beach with my family. It was amazing. A week of sun and surf and bike rides and books. Life at the beach is pretty great.

While we were there, my teenage grandchildren were heavily invested in watching the latest season of Stranger Things, which came out on Netflix last week. And they weren’t alone. It was reported today that more than 26 million viewers watched the show in the first four days after its release.

I admit that I don’t share their obsession or interest in the show, but I did see and hear enough of it to notice something.

Stranger Things is a show that is surprisingly short on adults in general and the show contains very little problem-solving activity by these adults. In almost every scene, a group of teenagers find themselves in mortal danger and have to rely on their own wit, power, and teamwork in order to survive. The teenagers portrayed in the show are required to solve their own problems by repeatedly demonstrating courage, resourcefulness, and loyalty.

Even though they face terrifying monsters at every turn, these teens are not victims!

Now obviously, Stranger Things is a fictional show and, though I personally don’t see the appeal, I can see why my grandchildren enjoy it so much. It shows empowered teens solving problems and bravely taking action to create the life they want.

This is in fact what every teen wants–not to face terrible monsters from the Upside Down–but to have control over their life and their future and have the power to overcome any obstacle in their way. My young adult grandchildren want that same outcome in their own lives and see the embodiment of those desires in the characters they admire.

Many of our teens feel the exact opposite of these characters in their regular lives. They feel like they have very little control over the outcomes they are getting. They feel like they don’t have the power or the ability to make good decisions and keep the commitments they have made to themselves. They don’t know how to manage their fear and their anxiety and they worry that they don’t have the ability to handle the challenges ahead of them. Forget about a Demogorgon–just getting to college seems impossibly foreboding and threatening.

And why aren’t they better equipped? They live in a world that has not properly prepared them mentally or emotionally. They don’t have the skills or the resilience to overcome fears and challenges because they haven’t been taught how to manage their thoughts and experience their emotions, and then decide (on purpose) how they want to think and feel.

While we spend 12 years in school preparing for life as an adult, no one ever teaches us the important socio-emotional and mind management tools that allow us to “own” our personal responsibility for the results in our life. In fact, every day in my work, I talk to seasoned adults in corporate America that say, “No one ever taught me this.”

Which is exactly why we created Own It! We wanted teens and young adults at the very beginning of their adult lives to have this knowledge and gain these skills to help them as they embark on designing and creating the future they want.

We created this 10-module video-rich, online course to teach and apply the principles of personal responsibility, understand the power of thoughts to creating our feelings, and how to harness that same power to reach big goals. We focus on recognizing and resetting mental presets and limiting beliefs and how to overcome negative self-talk. The course also features practical exercises on managing emotions and creating connection by overcoming fear and anxiety. There really is no other course like it.

Even better, the course also includes an in-depth personal profile that will give teens valuable understanding into how they think, how they learn, and how they process the world around them. It will help identify their strengths, skills, personality traits, interests and future goals, to help them better understand who they are and the unique contributions that they can make in the world.

All of these tools are invaluable to help our teens recognize their own power to create the life they want, no matter what the future holds.

The kids in Stranger Things didn’t wait for other people to solve their problems. They didn’t let their fears get in the way. When it comes down to it, this is all we want for the young people in our lives as well. We want them to be undaunted by difficult circumstances no matter what they look like, because deep down they know how to believe in themselves and their own abilities to work hard, persist, and achieve their goals.

Share Own It! with the youth in your life today and empower them to create the lives they’ve always wanted—and take out a Demogorgon or two if the need arises!

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