What is one to do when their young adult doesn’t seem to have any direction for their life?
This question has undoubtedly frustrated many parents who want the best for their children but struggle with their child’s lack of motivation or direction.
First, we should distinguish between a lack of motivation and a lack of direction. They are not the same. Sometimes a diagnosis of lack of motivation is actually a lack of direction or vice versa.
Just as these are different diagnoses, there are different remedies. Your student may be very motivated but not sure where to go or what to do. Or perhaps your student has clarity on their next steps but they struggle with motivation to actually get there.
Remedying Lack of Direction
In this blogpost, we’ll take a closer look at the lack of direction and how you as the parent can help your student find direction for their next steps.
The first step is to realize that direction is a process, not a destination. The goal of your student finding direction is not to nail down their final job or even their final career. It’s to get them moving in the right direction.
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Young adults get paralyzed when they have to make final decisions about their future that they don’t have the perspective to make in the first place. That’s a lot of pressure.
It is incredibly freeing to allow your student to seek direction without immediately nailing down what they plan to do for the rest of their life.
The next step is to get moving. It is far easier to find direction in life when you’re already doing something. Action leads to reflection which leads to more action. Therefore, taking a small step into the unknown is often more effective than waiting to know the landscape to take a big step. At Unbound, we refer to this process as “deciding forward”. The goal is to take action and reflect on the experience to inform future actions and next steps.
For example, let’s imagine a student who is struggling with direction. They don’t know what they want to do with their life but they have a few interests or hobbies. Let’s say this student enjoys drawing but isn’t sure what to do with this interest.
Taking action means sitting down to actually work on a project. Perhaps they’ll start by drawing a thank you card design that they can sell. In the course of starting out on this project they may discover that it’s not the drawing they like most, it’s the selling part! By reflecting on their experience they may learn more about their strengths and skills, which will help them to discover opportunities to step out and take further action.
How Unbound Helps Students Find Direction
Unbound’s Ascend program helps students struggling to find their purpose or direction in life. We won’t tell your student what to do but we will provide the tools to help them figure that out for themselves, with the support of their friends, family, and community.
All our Ascend students take the Navigate course, which is designed to help with this very thing. Not only that, but Ascend also provides a community of like-minded students and mentors who can sharpen and encourage your son or daughter in the process of finding clarity and direction.
To learn more about Ascend, schedule a free consultation with our team.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.