Supporting Young Adults to Grow through Mistakes

One way we can guide our yadults is to help them face their personal reality without being defensive. None of us really want to face the truth and yet it is the fastest way to personal growth.

Before he came on Miomo, one of our students (19) lost his apprenticeship. He was absolutely devastated. He took it very personally and the dismissal was just another blow to his already fragile self-esteem.

I suggested that his mother support him by going with him to the exit interview and to ask WHY he lost his apprenticeship specifically around these criteria:

  1. Integrity | Character
  2. On the job technical skills
  3. Relationships | People skills

As it turned out he was coming to work stoned or hung over, which affected his character, his skills on the job and the way he dealt with people.

After completing Miomo, this young man took full responsibility for his failure. He saw that by changing his lifestyle he could pursue his career with a fresh outlook. He is now clean and looking for a job with his self-esteem in tact, knowing that it was the drugs and not his natural abilities that let him down.

The dismissal became a valuable tool in helping this Yadult grow, but he wouldn’t have had the maturity to go through this exercise alone. He would not have had the courage or the composure to ask these questions without his mother being present.

When we become bigger our problems seem smaller

We once had a group of graduates organise a reunion of their Miomo crew. They missed each other and thought that it would be a great idea to recreate their Miomo experience. They hadn’t counted on the fact that there would not be the same boundaries in place. They did not plan properly and consequently got into a bit of strife. They were devastated – they had let themselves down, their parents and me.

I quickly contained the situation and then wrote them an email that explained where they had gone wrong in the form of lessons to be learned. Then I outlined the steps to take to restore themselves and the relationships that had been put under stress. I also assured them that I valued them just the same as I had before the ‘episode’. Then I gave them clear strategies to implement so that it never happened again.

Many of them commented that they didn’t know how to recover after a mistake – that no one had ever helped them understand the process. This breaks my heart because if you don’t know how to grow from mistakes – then you are bound to repeat them and be damaged by the same behaviour.

Many young adults come to the conclusion that they are total losers with no chance of ever producing consistently good behaviour. I don’t like calling people losers – rather they are potential winners who have temporarily lost their way. And, when people lose their way – they need others to stand with them to help them fight for their future potential.

We must never stop asking, ‘Is there a better way?’ We can’t pray for progress and fight change. We try to resist it but it says, ‘Ready or not, here I come.’ In order to grow stronger through change we must give up, wise up and toughen up.

To have a better ‘self’ we must give up the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that no longer serve us. Saying that you want to ‘turn over a new leaf’ may be a noble statement but the hard work of actually remodeling the brain and heart to produce the change is another.

At 22 I met an amazing woman who for the next eight years mentored me in life and in business. I would complain about my seemingly insurmountable problems. She would say “Yvonne, don’t wish your problems were smaller, you must become bigger”. She said that a person was not to be measured by their outward appearance but by the capacity of their heart and the quality of their character. This character she said, is developed through facing challenges head on and learning to do what is right – not what’s convenient or what ‘saves face’.

She would constantly remind me that personal growth and making good decisions is a process that cannot not be learned in a day but rather on a daily basis. I took her advice. On an average of an hour a day, 6 days a week for the last 34 years I have read watched or listened to over 10,000 hours of good material.

Five years of good mental input and associating with good quality people will transform anyone- and young people have time on their side! Its mind blowing to see how quickly young people mature when they proactively pursue personal growth.