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With all the challenges and uncertainty in a teen’s life, graduation marks a time when teens ask themselves “Who am I?” and “How can I become the person I want to be?”
Graduating teens, are you ready for graduation? Take this quick quiz.
T/F I have a mentor who motivates me.
T/F I understand the power of “not yet.”
T/F My top goal is clearly written on a bright 3x5 card. I have it with me right now.
T/F I listened to my Dream Theme song today.
T/F My lifeboard would be boringly blank.
T/F It is wrong to ask.
T/F I can strengthen my risk muscles by trying something I don’t usually excel at.
Award-winning teacher Roger Leslie has developed a group of activities that can help teens discover more about themselves and learn about setting attainable goals. In his book, Success Express for Teens: 50 Activities that Will Change Your Life , Leslie suggests teens regularly ask themselves “What should I do next?”, “How?” and “What’s in it for me?” Answer the quiz with these activities:
•Find a mentor. Decide what you want to do, then find someone who is successful in that field. Then just Ask. Ask that person how they achieved success. You may be surprised who can be your mentor. Ready for a bigger surprise? That person will be honored to share with you. Two generations of basketball players have sought to emulate Michael Jordan; only a handful have actually sought him out as a mentor. “Who do I admire that is successfully doing what I want to do? How can I contact that person? What 3 questions can that person answer right now?” Nothing builds dreams like hanging out with a mentor.
• Understand the power of “Not Yet.” Did you know that the answer to your sincerest dream is never “No” — merely “Not yet”? We keep watch on the shoreline of our dreams so we can “catch the tide of greatness” when it rolls in, says Shakespeare. When that time comes, if you are prepared, no force on Earth can stop the infinite good your dream is meant to create. Replace each “no” with “not yet.” Try it for just one week.
•Write your top goal on a 3x5 card. Dream big. Aim high. Challenge yourself. But ground your dream in reality—with a time limit. Word your goal so that you alone are responsible for its achievement. “I will bench-press 200 pounds by May 20th.” “I will play ‘Stormy Night’ on the piano with no errors by May 31st.” “I will ask Sarah to the prom by this weekend.” Every goal should begin with “I will” and end with “by xxx date.” Your mind needs the clarity that comes from confidently going after your goal. Write it down. Say it out loud. Carry it with you. Every day.
•Pick a Dream Theme Song. Nothing stirs the heart like good music. Select a song with music that expresses the spirit of your motivations. Pick one with lyrics that inspire you to follow your dreams. “It’s My Turn” by Diana Ross and “Touched by the Sun” by Carly Simon are transgenerational favorites. Whenever you need an extra boost, re-ignite your spark of inspiration with your personal Dream Theme Song.
•Create a lifeboard. Gather pictures from photo albums, quotations from magazines, clippings from newspapers, or print-outs from websites. Then arrange them on a poster board to depict your life visually. Find a picture of your personal heroes. Print out our favorite poem or prayer. Dig out a ribbon you won at summer camp. How about your college acceptance letter? Be creative. The lifeboard is your own personal creation, a mirror that you alone make to see who you were, who you are, and what you still dream of becoming. Celebrate what you have created. “I avoided doing the lifeboard for a whole year,” says former student Christina and recent award-winning teacher. “Now I proudly display it on my wall for all students. It’s powerful.”
•Just ask! Decide something specific you want and take the most direct route to getting it. Until you are clear about your goals, you will not see results actively coming to life. It’s one thing to know what you want. It takes a deeper level of strength to say it out loud. Be clear. Be simple. And just dare to ask.
•Exercise your risk muscle. Do something you’re afraid to do but really want to, or know you must do, to attain your goal. Rule #1: Become outgoing. Strengthen your risk muscles by trying something you don’t usually excel at.
•Let go of one issue that is not yours. Distinguish between what is and is not meant specifically for you. The “tissue toss:” find an “issue,” write it on a tissue, and symbolically throw it out. Life demands that old things die away and new ones arrive to take their place. Take what is yours, work through it, and keep growing. If it’s your thing, then use it, store it, save it, work it or do whatever you need with it. If it’s somebody else’s, let it go—it wasn’t meant for you anyway.
•Plant a seed of good-luck. Wonderful things happen to each of us every day. Without exception. On a single Post-It sheet, write the following message: “This is a good luck Post-It. Keep it with you today and watch for something wonderful to happen to you.” Stick it on a penny and hand it to someone early in the day. Who’s going to get your “good luck Post-It” today?
•Place a trigger for happiness. Find a memento from a favorite memory and keep it with you for a while. Create a trigger with someone special. Find a trigger that is simple, personal and meaningful.
»» Let Roger Leslie share with your listeners. Hear interesting challenges and surprise success stories from former students who have used Success Express strategies. Five diverse students took five different roads. ««
“A valuable resource in helping teens reach adulthood as strong, self-confident, and respectful people.” ~ ForeWord magazine
"A great resource to guide any teen toward success. I'm going out tomorrow to buy my teenage daughter the materials to make her own lifeboard!"
~ Shelagh Ryan Masline, author of Drug Abuse and Teens