5 Ways Millennials Can Deal With Life Transitions30 November, 2017 / Articles
I’ve been hosting international business accelerators for nearly two years now, and I’ve noticed a pattern—over 90% of the people who come identify with being in a transition of some kind.
In fact, I find the vast majority of millennials I talk to these days are “in transition.”
That’s because we’re waking up to the fact that we want more out of our lives. The hunt for happiness has shifted away from seeing success as the possession of material things or status to success as a measure of fulfillment and quality of life.
What do you do when what once served you no longer “fits”?
If anyone knows about graceful transitioning, it’s Trevor Barran, a former Wall Streeter who left behind the city for the “pura vida” in Central America. He’s a former aerospace engineer turned 14-time serial entrepreneur who holds a degree from Princeton.
Barran is the CEO of Lionheart Capital and the owner of Aqua Wellness Resort, a stunning Nicaraguan wellness resort nestled in a secluded beach and jungle cove. Aqua places a strong emphasis on nature, with its guestrooms perched high atop the jungle canopy in luxury “eco” treehouse suites where guests can interact freely with native wildlife.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Barran shares about the keys to embracing change. Below, learn from Barran five strategies for thriving inside a life transition that can help you access peace and identify your next move.
- Embrace New Experiences. New experiences are perfect for transitions because they capitalize on the fact that you’re especially open to seizing new opportunities. Try something you’ve never done before, and it may end up leading you to your next destination. The best experiences provide a “pattern interrupt” and get you out of your comfort zone, whether that’s visiting a foreign location or gaining experience in a new industry. If you’re not one for planning, consider attending a curated event.
When Aqua was still in its development phase, Barran decided to uproot his life and relocate to Nicaragua, though he didn’t know much Spanish. “I have always been motivated by experiences. I think time is the most precious thing we have,” he says.
- Consult Friends. When you’re not sure where to go next, friends can help point you in the right direction. Friends provide a different vantage point and can see your blind spots. Those who’ve known you for a long time may be able to suggest a new path that’s suited for your interests and skillsets.
While North American culture emphasizes independent action, in some ways it can be limiting. Barran says Nicaraguan culture is heavily focused on relationships, which offers the benefit of a collective mind. “Nicaragua is wired a completely different way. It operates in this very familiar, tranquil, harmonious way, because people highly value their interpersonal relationships,” he says. Psychologists agree that shifting from a “me” to a “we” mindset can help you see a fuller picture.
- Be Willing To Let Go. Sometimes, a life transition takes the form of a role that’s no longer viable or fulfilling. Is your current role in your job or relationship still serving you? Change may seem threatening, but it’s often just a gateway. “It’s important to know when to let go of things, to be honest with yourself when it’s time. Plan your exit from your responsibilities, because that allows for a much smoother growth beyond you. Much of the trials and tribulations in these founder/entrepreneur experiences occur when there’s a natural transition that the founder isn’t able to see,” Barran advises.
- Invest In Something You Care About. Shifting your perspective to invest in long-term gain can generate anticipation and excitement. Is there something of grander scale you’d like to see come to fruition? Now could be the time to start laying down the foundation.
Barran says Aqua was a long-term project that was worth the wait. “Dan, the founder, had this vision to create a wellness resort,” Barran reflects. “He had a very compelling idea for creating this resort that connected people with nature, that integrated the jungle into its design. I found it very compelling. We said well, if we’re gonna invest in something that is unknown to us, it might as well be something pretty special.”
- Restructure Your Priorities. Have you ever climbed to the top of the ladder only to find it didn’t provide what you thought it would? Lack of fulfillment at work is a common source of transition for millennials. Often, what we think will satisfy us—whether it be a promotion, a salary raise, or an esteemed award—doesn’t fit the bill.
Barran recommends shifting your priorities towards things of greater substance. Instead of pursuing self-recognition, seek to share the spotlight and serve something greater than yourself. “If you create a company in your own image it will never be larger than you,” Barran says. “I think business is so much more rewarding when you have a crew of people who are building success with you. You don’t want to go through life being #1 and having no one to share it with.”