Dr. Robert Kornfeld
Are you an adult between the ages of 25 and 40? Are you still living with your parents? Do you feel ashamed of the fact that you are not living independently? Are your childhood and college friends all doing “better” than you? These are questions that may make you bristle, but know that you are not alone. You have nothing to feel ashamed of. There is an enormous population of adult children who find themselves stuck at home with their parents because of limiting beliefs or financial restrictions. But you can change your situation and find your way to a happier and successful independent life!
Before we get to how you can accomplish this, it’s important to take a look, a deep look, at yourself and work hard to understand why you are in the situation you are in. Understanding what holds you back is the first step to moving forward. In my experience as a life coach, I have been enlightened as to what goes on for so many young adults. Here is a short list of reasons why many of your contemporaries feel stuck: 1) low self-esteem that causes shyness and a desire to hide from society. 2) your parents do not approve of the path you have chosen 3) fear of failure 4) shortage of jobs in your chosen field 5) feelings of not being good enough or deserving of success.
I list these because everyone has at least one reason. Some have many. Yours may be different. Yet, focusing on the reason you are stuck is often the very thing that keeps you stuck. Even if there is truth and validity to how you feel (and there always is), these “reasons” turn into excuses to remain stuck. What is important about understanding those feelings is that you need a game plan to get “unstuck” and the game plan is often based on the reasons you believe you are stuck. For example, fear of failure is a huge reason why people stay stuck. It seems better to not try at all than to try and fail in the process. Why is that? Simply because we humans fear humiliation. It causes shame and shame strips us of any self-confidence we may need to function successfully in the world. Yet, when we look at successful people in the world, the greater majority of them failed before they succeeded. Some many times over. So why is it that these people didn’t succumb to shame and humiliation? It is because they did not personalize the failure. Instead of seeing themselves as the failure, they saw the path they chose as the failure. They then regrouped, made a new plan and went for it again. It is not only okay to fail, it is sometimes necessary for you to experience failure so you can crystallize your vision and take more successful steps to your goal. Rather than see failure as shameful, you can see it as part of the path to success. It’s all about mindset.
What if you suffer from low self-esteem? The question that needs to be answered is why do you have low self-esteem? The answer isn’t that you were hard wired that way. The answer is that you became programmed to certain beliefs about yourself before the age of consciousness. As children, we are small, at the mercy of bigger people and we have not developed the critical thinking skills that could help us analyze the information coming into our brains. Instead, we are victims of our experiences and those experiences program our subconscious mind. Well, if you can be programmed subconsciously as a small child, you can certainly be re-programmed subconsciously as an adult. And with certain exercises in the realm of NLP and CBT, repeated over time, we get to see ourselves in a totally different light. Remember, your brain believes everything you tell it. When you learn to tell it positive things, it functions from a completely different set of parameters. A positive thinking mind can out-perform a negative thinking mind, in the very same person! You can google experiments with positive thinking, positive affirmations and see the results for yourself.
What if there is a shortage of jobs in your field? Do you know when the market will change? Does it mean that you have no other option now but to stay home with no income until the job market opens up? I am not asking you that as a way of scolding you. I understand the devotion and commitment to your desire completely. Yet, is it helpful, healthy or stimulating to stay home and wait? There have been thousands and thousands of people who have faced the same dilemma as you. What have they done? Some did nothing and waited. Some decided that it would be better to do anything than to do nothing and found a fill-in job that could keep them from remaining idle and bored and provide some income. More importantly, the longer you stay idle, the more likely it is that you will become negative and depressed and then when the job market opens, you are not in the state of mind to be your best. Some people, rather than find a temporary fill-in job, look for a change. And this is an important point. Your choices are not etched in stone. Anything, everything, is changeable. Many people look at trends to see what businesses are currently doing well because the chances of being hired in a field experiencing success and growth is much higher. Pursuing those options can deliver them into a completely different experience. And some people delve more deeply into their own passions during this time and come up with ideas for a new path that allows them to work in a field that they are passionate about. It’s all about options. Looking outside of your limiting beliefs opens up far greater opportunities for success than staying stuck in a holding pattern.
Do you see what I am communicating? For every reason you have to feel and be stuck, there are proven methods to overcome those beliefs. It is not so much the why as it is the how. In order to get to the how, you must first find the desire, the motivation to change your circumstance. Once you have identified your limiting beliefs, setting a plan in motion to get you to your goal is now possible. Choosing the goal is your next step. You need to be motivated to achieve your end goal, but it is important to create a path to get you there made up of mini-goals. Why do I say this? If your plan consists of mini-goals, you will have an experience with success many times over on your way to your ultimate goal. Going for what you want in “small bites” makes it so much easier and less daunting than constantly looking at the enormity of what you wish to achieve. You can think of it in terms of a football team that wants to score a touchdown. They are certainly not going to score a touchdown on every play. But if they can gain just 10 yards and get a first down, they are given many more chances to score a touchdown. Each first down gets them closer and closer to the goal line. The closer they get to the goal line, the higher the likelihood of scoring a touchdown. Your plan is to make many first downs on the way to scoring a touchdown! Got it?
It is very common and very easy to play the blame game when you find yourself stuck. “It’s my parents’ fault, it’s my brother’s or sister’s fault, it’s my teacher’s fault, it’s my friends’ fault, it’s my ex-boss’s fault, it’s the bully’s fault, it’s the fault of a weak job market”, etc. It really doesn’t matter whose “fault” it is. What is important is that YOU are now an adult. Here you are. Now, what are YOU going to do about it? Blaming will not change your circumstances. Looking at the past will not catapult you into the future as quickly as starting from today and working toward a better tomorrow. You can do it! There is help out there for you. As a motivational life coach, I have seen transformation occur in people who felt defeated from the start. By identifying limiting beliefs, reframing things, creating a plan made of mini-goals and having accountability, it is only a matter of time before what once was holding you back is no longer a part of your life, your thinking, your experience. A coach will help you call the plays in the huddle. It is then up to you to be motivated to score the touchdown. If this resonates with you, you may want to reach out to a life coach and find your way to the dream life you so deserve.
Dr. Robert Kornfeld is a life coach and holistic podiatrist based in NYC and Long Island. He is the Founder of Change Your Story Coaching (www.changeyourstorycoaching.com) and assists people on their journey to making their dream life happen. Sign up for his email list and get all of his timely and informative articles in your inbox. Are you ready to change your story? Change your life? Contact him today. For coaching, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also practices functional medicine for chronic foot and ankle pain at The Chronic Foot Pain Center in NYC and Port Washington, L.I. (www.drrobertkornfeld.com). For foot and ankle medical problems, he can be contacted at email@example.com.