Fall can be a beautiful time of year but it’s not the easiest season for everyone. Take recent graduates for example. This Fall will signify a period of change, uncertainty, and struggle for many who are transitioning from academia to ‘real life’.
Are you a recent grad feeling the pressure? Nationally acclaimed life coach and owner of the Say Life! Coaching Institute, Elyssa Lassiter encourages you to be hopeful despite the challenges ahead. As someone who helps high school and college grads find their passion, operate in their purpose and set themselves up for success post-grad, she can tell you the up and the downs are all just part of the journey.
Elyssa’s own path to where she is today was filled with trials and tribulations too. “We might not set out to do particular things, but it’s the seemingly ‘out of the way’ detours that often take us exactly where we want to go,” she says.
Elyssa’s background is actually in the television news business, however, amid a difficult work experience coupled with big family life changes, she found herself sitting on the edge of her bed in tears many days. It was through those troubled times that she realized her knack for helping others and today, she feels nothing but gratitude for the work she gets to do now.
“Even though I did step away from my previous role in the news business, I have still been granted opportunities to share the message of personal development through various forms of media–including television. As I shared in a 2019 TEDx talk, your pathway to your definition of success may not be a straight line, but that’s okay!”
If your transition is feeling a little rocky right now, here are Elyssa’s 4 tips for turning it around.
Dream a little
Not everyone has a ‘perfect’ plan for what comes after that commencement stage. If you’re reading this and you don’t have it ‘all figured out’ know that it’s okay.
“That does not mean that your future isn’t as bright or promising. Everyone moves through the world in different ways. While some may have a more direct path to their passion, others may need to try several things, see what they like, and see what they don’t! So, whether your plan is crystal clear or a bit fuzzy, try your best to develop some ideas, goals, or a vision about what you would like your next step, or overall outcome, to look like. [And] write that baby down! Dr Gail Matthews conducted research and found that we are over 40% more likely to achieve our goals if we just write them down. You may decide to do this through journaling, creating a vision board, or even a digital vision board and keeping it on your lock screen on your phone. I do this!”
We may not understand now how certain experiences will play a role in the bigger picture of our lives, but Elyssa notes that the bigger picture can only unfold with momentum. “As we start taking steps, [things]become clearer. So, take those steps. Whether it looks like making a new connection on LinkedIn, sending out some resumes, or leveraging contacts that you met at a previous internship/job, networking event, or conference, try it. You never know how you can reap the harvest planted by those seeds.”
Create your own definition of success
Elyssa cannot stress enough the importance of defining success for yourself, especially when we live in a culture where we constantly feel the need to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. “Just because your roommate’s goal is to land a six-figure job within the next five years, or your girlfriend aspires to start her own business and scale it to seven figures–that might not be your definition of success…and that is alright! Get clear about what YOU want for YOUR life. Not what friends, family members, teachers, the culture, or strangers want for you.”
Don’t do it alone
“We are not an island!” Elyssa says. If you’re dealing with a challenge she advises not to struggle through it alone. “Get support! Talk to people who have a career like the one you want to pursue. I talk with aspiring life coaches frequently and I love sharing my perspective with them! Email those individuals with whom you’ve worked on internships or work-study. Talk with a family member or a friend, or you can even get support from a life coach!”
Elyssa sees so many recent graduates struggle with this need or pressure to have life all figured out. But the truth is, she says, people are still figuring out life in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. She advises young people to show themselves some grace.
“Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. said, Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” And so that’s what she encourages you to do. If you’d like support in your transition Elyssa invites you to connect with her on social media or send her an email at: [email protected]