Being a 20-something can feel like death by unmet expectations.
Disillusionment, the new norm.
I'd argue this sense of disillusionment often stems from the lies we've been told and have told ourselves. Too many 20-somethings are driving through the twists and turns of their 20s with windshields covered in mud, lies and half-truths. And then we wonder why so many of us have crashed.
We need to hose these lies off right now or spend our 20s stuck on the side of the road. If we're going to walk forward with the answers to the major questions we should be asking, successfully navigating our 20s, then we need to stop believing the following lies right now:
1. I'm the Only One Struggling
I would love to lock this lie away in a Siberian prison and give the key to a pack of Arctic wolves to defend. You are not alone in your struggle, questions, wondering "what's next," "now what" or "do I have what it takes?"
Our 20s are tough. That's the truth. Too many 20-somethings are struggling through a quarter-life crisis all alone.
We all need help. We all need support. We all need nudges, prompts, advice and encouragement.
No one has it all figured out. The 20-somethings who think they do are in for the biggest shock of all.
2. I Should Be Successful by Now! Like Right Now!
I fully expected to walk straight into a crazy successful 20-something life with accolades, salaries, bonuses, a big-old-fat book deal, and a plethora of people who wanted to learn my secrets to success, all by 23 years old. Maybe 25 if I really hit some serious setbacks.
I didn't realize that success takes time -- loads of time.
Success is not an Egg McMuffin delivered to us for a $3, three-minute investment.
No, success is the Sistine Chapel -- it takes years, pain, frustration, thousands of brushes, colors and crumpled up sketches before you have your masterpiece.
Countless famed figures we idolize -- such as Abraham Lincoln -- failed drastically in their 20s. Even Jesus, who never failed at anything, didn't begin his active, recorded ministry until he was in his 30s.
Success is not a sprint, it's an Ironman marathon, and our 20s aren't really about running the actual race. No, our 20s are simply about building our endurance so that we can run the race in the future.
If you take one step towards your dream today, you are a success.
Success happens in the details.
3. Life Is Not Turning Out Like It Was Supposed To
Well, kind of. Yes, life is not turning out like it was supposed to, but what the heck is supposed to?
As I write in my book 101 Secrets for your Twenties,
'Supposed to' is a lie, a fairy tale. It is the stealer of peace and productivity. It is the leading cause of Obsessive Comparison Disorder with everyone who 'has it better...' If we keep trying to live other people's lives, who is going to live ours?
Live your life right now exactly as it is, and do your best to keep moving forward into where you want to go. That's what you're supposed to do.
4. I Don't Have What It Takes
I100 percent guarantee you have what it takes. I triple-stamp a double-stamp, 100 percent money-back guarantee you have what it takes.
It's just going to take some time to figure out exactly what "it" is.
Our 20s are a process, not a surprise party.
You don't just walk into the door and all of the sudden your destiny jumps out from behind the couch.
You are extremely talented at something. We just need to start pulling off the layers to get a glimpse of what that something is.
5. I Am a Failure
The only failure of our 20s would be if we never had any.
The only failure of our 20s is if we fail and then call ourselves failures.
Our 20s are going to be riddled with failure. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar. But you don't have to define yourself by your failures.
Failure is not a period, it's a comma. And only if you stop trying will you really fail.
The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you're not willing to be embarrassed, you're not willing to be great.
There's only one way to be successful in our 20s -- fail, tweak, then try again.