Are you noticing increased stress levels in your teen? Are you aware of a change in their mood? Is their sleep interrupted? Are you getting anxious? Perhaps, your teen is distracted, not working enough or on the other hand working too much? It is the first of May and there are about seven weeks to the Leaving Cert.
This is the time of year that many adults are also thinking about re skilling, revisiting Higher Education or going to Higher Education for the first time.
Those adults who are aged, new horizons 23 by the first of February are considered as Mature Students for the purpose of CAO applications. These days it is very common for people to consider going to College or University later in life. Redundancies, disability, dissatisfaction in careers, a change of life circumstances or unfulfilled dreams may prompt people to think about going back to education.
In attending the Inspired Entrepreneur Programme in London with Nick Williams I picked up some of the following tips and adapted them:
1. Create a Vision of Where You Want to Be in Your Life
Imagine your ideal life, your ideal work. What do you want it to look like and feel like? What would you like to hear yourself saying about your ideal life situation? Transcend your current situation, worries and cares and think about where you want to be long term. Create a ‘vision board’ containing pictures, words and images of what you want, or write a paragraph on your dream life.
Author: Ken Robinson
Penguin Books 2009, 260 pages
This book is aimed at anyone interested exploring their own potential and the potential of those around them. It is about how passion, imagination, creativity, values and luck influence on career decision-making. Sir Ken Robinson is one of the world’s leading speakers on the development of education, creativity and innovation. In his book he shares a wide range of stories of how people such as Paul McCartney, Paolo Coelho, Meg Ryan, dancer Gillian Lynne and screenwriter, Matt Groening found their ‘element’. He describes ‘ the element ‘ as ‘the place where the things you love to do and the things you are good at come together’.
Ray was a construction worker who had been unemployed for four years. Understandably, when we met, he was feeling very low. He said that when he first arrived for Guidance he felt “tearful”. He said that he had expected his visit to Guidance to be a form-filling session, however, he found it like Counselling. After the session, Ray said “it was the best thing” he had done in years, “as I would still be in the town scratching my head, still trying to make up my mind about the future”.
I recently worked with a group of adults returning to learn I.T. Skills. They ranged in age from 20-67 years. On their first day, they were understandably both excited and scared. We teased out their concerns by using a format devised by Alan Richardson called ‘High Dream/Low Dream’.
I asked the group what their ‘high dream’ would be; what would the successful completion of this course mean for them? How would they feel afterwards? How might their lives be different?
An ‘attitude of gratitude’ can raise our happiness index and sense of well-being. A few months ago, I made a decision to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, to count my blessings and keep a written record of them. The act of gratitude allowed me to savour the present moment and things such as:
When meeting a group of adult learners on the first day of their return to education, I give them this piece of writing to read:
In the last few months many of the people I have met have had a close brush with death . . . heart attacks, strokes, cancer, traffic accidents. Meeting people who have stared death in the face brought to mind Buddha’s saying: “Of all mindfulness meditations, that on death is supreme”. Steve Jobs put it well when he said “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent….”
These days it is not unusual for people to be stressed and anxious about their future career prospects. Many of the people I meet on a daily basis feel trapped in unemployment and powerless to get ahead. Coupled with this, the media is constantly bombarding us with negative messages about recession, cutbacks, redundancies and a lack of jobs.