Life is difficult enough for the busy young professional, as we strive to prove ourselves in the workforce, make a mark on our respective cities and struggle to either find or maintain love. Nobody said it was easy. In conversations among our friends, we have identified three common trends in the YP mentality that are making our lives a little more difficult. If you recognize any of these in yourself, it may be time to consider making a change.
Stop lamenting about where you should be
So maybe by 30 you pictured yourself married, with at least one child and a successful salary that allows for luxuries and owning a home or fancy car. In reality, you're single, riding transit and those bonuses and generous salaries aren't as easy to obtain as you once envisioned. Or perhaps you've gone against the grain, left your stable job or relationship and are now pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavour and a search for something "more" in the love department (much to dismay of your grandchild-obsessed mother who loved your ex). Although it is one thing to set time-specific short and long term goals, remember that situations may arise that throw the plan off a little. Instead of a focus on what you don't quite have, remind yourself of the things you do have – your professional accomplishments, your supportive family and friends and your physically fit body that just ran a marathon. With "30 the new 20" (and 40 the new 30?), age is increasingly just a number and not a determinant of where you should be. After all, you don't look your age anyway.
Stop comparing yourself to others
As ambitious YPs, we like to surround ourselves with other successful, driven and otherwise like-minded individuals. The experiences and success of our peers inspire us to follow suit. But remember that the only person who matters is you. It can be easy to watch as your friends get married or achieve financial success and draw comparisons to your own life. Stop now. Everyone is different, with different circumstances, opportunities, luck and maybe even being in the right place at the right time. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down and could even result in subconscious jealousy or resentment to your friends – the very people who are supposed to offer an outlet from the stress of life. Friends are on your team, not your competition.
Don't settle; the world is still at your fingertips
Remember the sense of wonder you had upon graduating high school and college that the world was full of endless opportunities and that anything was possible with hard work and determination? Or the daydream of that perfect person to spend your life with in a perfect combination of passion and fate? After 5-10 years of pounding the pavement in our careers, many YPs may become burnt out and disgruntled. Instead of setting professional goals and striving for increased influence, they are merely doing their jobs. Or perhaps a few failed relationships and tedious first dates have resulted in a jaded heart instead of a mind full of possibilities in the love department. Even if sparks aren't flying, some YPs settle with someone because "it's time." Settling is an easy option, but it's not advised as it is only going to result in feelings of frustration down the road. As difficult as it may be, continue to look to the future with a sense of professional optimism and an open heart and mind. If you put it out there, it will happen.