Quarter Life Crisis Coaching
My particular expertise is working with those going through a ‘quarter-life crisis’.
So what is a quarter-life crisis (QLC) and who experiences it?
Generally a QLC hits in your mid-20s to mid-30s. Why? It’s a time of turmoil, uncertainty and confusion. And a lot of time is spent soul-searching and re-evaluating work, relationships and one’s life. According to research, 86% of the Millennials in the UK are going through it.
I think I have it! What are the symptoms?
When you feel:
Anxious, overwhelmed, confused, insecure, uncertain, lost, unsure, philosophical, frustrated, or down
You’re not doing enough and should be doing more
Like a hot mess
When you think:
Is this it?
Am I doing the right thing?
What am I doing?
How come everyone else has it together?
Am I ever going to be successful?
When you spend most of your time:
Ruminating with your anxious thoughts
Indulging in negative social comparison
Job hunting for a job that’s going to solve your crisis
Looking at cheap round the world flights to escape it all – if you’re not here, and you’re there, the problem will disappear right?
Hating your job and your colleagues
Googling career consultants, coaches or tarot card readers – anyone other than you who might have the answer
In bars with your friends discussing what you could do
Going to meet-ups and talks on 'finding your passion' or ' fulfilling work'
Looking at courses – going back to school seems like a good idea, because it's the last place you felt you had it together
Yes, yes, yes! Why is this happening to me?
Crisis is a dramatic word, but do you know what it actually means?
Crisis means turning point, a change in direction, a decisive point.
The Greeks defined 'Krisis' as a power of distinguishing, decision and choice. A much lighter and more empowering way of looking at it.
All that’s happening is you’re outgrowing your life. Just like you outgrew your teenage clothes, you’re outgrowing the decisions that you, your parents or society first made about your career and life choices.
So nothing has gone wrong. This is a wonderful time of exploration and growth. You can now choose exactly who you want to be, how you want to live and who you want to surround yourself with.
Why didn’t my parents have it?
House prices – they weren’t astronomical, so making the next adult step and buying a place wasn’t such an unattainable leap. We’re now living in markedly different times, but we still have our parent’s ideas of what success and happiness looks like. We haven’t paused to think about what our version of that is. So we go on aiming to buy a house, when actually getting a mortgage feels like a trap because you’re not sure you want to stay in this job or in this country. You may want the freedom to travel and work remotely - an option that wasn’t available in our parent’s generation. So relax. A car, house and kids before you’re 30, is not the only marker of success. In our coaching session we'll work out what YOUR version of success is.
Facebook – there was less social comparison. Why is that important? Because if you haven’t worked out your version of success, you’re naturally looking to others for guidance. And seeing all the different possibilities sometimes does the opposite of igniting us with hope. It can make us feel like we’re not doing enough, like we should be living life more fully.
Guidance – because the world is changing at such a fast pace, Millenials know more about it than their parents do (Baby Boomers or Generation X). It’s so natural to look to your elders for guidance. They’ve been there, navigated their way through work, love and life at your age. Surely they can help? Well, with the world of work changing so fast, the generation above us won’t be as aware of the job options or naturally in touch with tech as Millenials are. In their day, there were only a few places you’d look to for work, mainly paper-based. Nowadays we have a huge range of channels - LinkedIn, job boards, recruiters, company websites, Twitter, etc. And the types of jobs available have also changed a lot. So it’s easy to feel alone and confused, and going to parents for guidance won't be the route that will help you get the most. Instead, we look to each other or the media for guidance. But this is not the same as getting support from elders. We may be lucky enough to get a mentor through work. But if you don’t, the best option in my very biased eyes, is to get a life coach. They don’t tell you what to do, although they can jump into a mentoring role if they see that it’s simply information that’s needed. Life coaches believe clients have the answer within themselves, our their world, so they ask the questions that prompt them to think outside the box.
Will it ever end?
I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but it will pass if you take the right steps. Trust me. Running away to go travelling or jumping into a new job will provide quick relief (escapism always does), but it won’t get to the root of it, and you’ll soon swing back round to the same feeling you had before.
This is truly a glorious time, if you embrace it. You need to pause, reflect and re-evaluate so you know that the next step you’re taking is right for you and not just a reaction against what you don’t like. This is where coaching can help. And it may also help to know the stages you will go through.
According to Dr Oliver Robinson, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology who has researched QLC, this period has four stages:
Feeling 'locked in' to a job or relationship, or both.
A growing sense that change is possible.
A period of rebuilding a new life.
The cementing of fresh commitments that reflect the young person's new interests, aspirations and values.
So where does coaching fit into it?
Coaching is about increasing your self-awareness. You don’t know what you don’t know about yourself. And who’s going to tell you? Friends and family have preconceived ideas about what you can and can’t do. They have the same blind spots you harbor (they’ve known you too long), and they have their own agenda (keeping you safe).
A coach is a fresh pair of eyes and ears, who provides a non-judgmental space where you can discuss anything in confidentiality. A coach has your back. They want to spend the time exploring you and your world. Together you come up with a navigation plan.
Ok, but how are you different to other life coaches out there?
Well, I’m one of a minority of life and career coaches specialising in QLC. It's a passion of mine to help as many QLCs through this phase as possible.
QLC is a topic close to my heart. I’ve jumped jobs and industries many, many times. I’ve packed my bags, moved abroad and I’ve gone travelling. So I know all the things you’re thinking and what you’re going through.
I’ve got through it by getting a coach, by spending time really honing down on what my version of success looks like for me.
I’ve also studied the mind in depth (with a psychology degree), gone on to study leading-edge methods (with an MSc in positive psychology and coaching psychology), and acquired even more specific tools (career coaching, non-violent communication, sports coaching tools etc.).
I don’t instill my solution on you. That’s not how it works. I mentor when I can see a need, but mostly coaching is about us finding out what’s right for you!