Thinking back to our school days, we were taught various subjects, given a bit of guidance about what career we should follow and that's about it. There were not, and still are not, any excellent coaching programs in school unless you're an athlete.
Furthermore, with recent UK government policy suggesting that all young people should have a coach or mentor, it's difficult to see how this would work in practical terms.
This situation continues to be of concern since the education sector continues to cut budgets and careers services.
During my teaching career I've never seen or experienced how schools, colleges and universities and, for that matter, workplaces tap into the root passions that we are all born with.
Imagine if the education system tapped into our core passions and promoted educational subjects around those passions instead of trying to pigeonhole everyone?
Having worked with thousands of young people, my purpose in life is to inspire and support parents, guardians and those who meet young people to coach them towards a life and career filled with purpose and have fun doing it. That is the reason why I've written this article.
I love what I do because of the results I get working with both adults and young people. I see people's eyes light up when they realize what's possible and they see a future for themselves. This is particularly important for what we describe as the lost generation of children.
With young people I love to see them discover what they want to do in life as this helps them focus on their choice of studies. What's your story going to be?
So, let's get down to it.
I'd like to help you to discover your child's purpose in life and potentially your own – are you ready? Remember that these exercises are best done with young people age 14+ as this is the time when the family unit starts to think about further education at college and university. In addition, this exercise is equally valuable for your older children age 18+, with or without help.
Without a purpose in life, it's easy to get sidetracked or lost. It's therefore easy to wander and drift and accomplish little in life. I've known hundreds of students like this who have attended college and university without any idea of why they are there or what they want to accomplish in life.
To start with try to chat with young people in an informal environment – do not sit them down and start grilling them because they'll just walk off – usually!
As a career coach I use The Jack Canfield Success Principles and one of the most important places to start is to ask the young people in your household this question.
Ask them "What do you want?" The first thing that will happen is that the young person will either a) start talking or writing things down or 2) say "I do not know and shake their shoulders".
So the next question if they get stuck is to ask them what they do not want eg to poor, homeless and jobless and just three examples.
Then ask "So if you do not want to be poor, homeless and jobless what would you like instead"?
At this point either you or they can be writing a list. The list will usually contain 'things' like cars and holidays as well as more spiritual things like to be happy and content. It does not matter what the answers are right now.
Once there is a list ask your young person to search on the Internet for pictures of what they want and print them out. The pictures can then be put on the wall to remind them every day what they are aiming for. Some people just like a list and that's fine as well.
This is the first of many questions you can ask them. To work through the entire course you might want to buy a book I've written for parents and career advisers.