Perspective

Dear Millennials, we need you now more than ever

Dear Millennials, today, I feel compelled to write to you. For years, I’ve worked coaching, equipping, and motivating experienced leaders to harness the immense potential of your generation. But today, I want to talk to you, to tell you why you matter in such a time as this.

By Danita Bye

I believe that, as a generation, you have what it takes to overcome the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives. Not only that, I believe your generation is going to make a long-lasting positive difference in the world.

First, however, I simply want to offer a word of encouragement to you. We, the “older generation,” are just as shocked, confused, scared, and even angry about what’s happening in the world. But here’s some good news: If we work together, we can come through this storm stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with the challenges and obstacles of our new normal.

If we work together, we can come through this storm stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with the challenges and obstacles of our new normal.

What will it take to achieve this? How do we move from despair to a place where both you, and we, are realizing our dreams and reaching our goals? Let’s think about it.

You want to make a difference

The research about your generation doesn’t match with the stereotypes. Plenty of studies and surveys about Millennials reveal that people of your generation love sharing your gifts and skills. A Pew Research Center study found that 84 percent of Millennials believe that making a difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. And 92 percent believe that success should be measured by more than just profit. Does this match up with how you think too?

92 percent of Millennials believe that success should be measured by more than just profit.

As you’re growing into, or becoming established in your careers, a great way to be sure you’re making a difference is to consider everything you have and if you’re using it to make a difference. If you already have considered these things, I’d ask you to stick with me to make sure you’ve covered it all. You’re probably already generous with your time, your knowledge, your connections. These forms of generosity mark your generation. But what about your wealth?  What do you have, and how do you want to use it to make an impact on the world? People who stop to consider these things often find more joy in giving of themselves and experience a deeper sense of purpose.

Philanthropy or giving?

The vision of philanthropy passed on to you may not match up with how you view giving. We all need to revisit our own paradigm once in a while. One of the Millennials I coached, explained to me, “Many of us were raised with the philanthropic philosophy. But we’ve noticed that often the kind intentions of previous generations have created a culture of dependency, not empowerment.” 

Such a wise observation. She told me that your generation is shifting models to micro-financing, impact investing, and other strategies that invest in others, rather than support them. These are the ways she wants to make a difference, and I agree with her.

What kind of difference do you want to make? What are the causes and issues that are important to you?

The hunger to be involved in effecting change for others, to be world changers, is a key. Let’s tap into this great quality so many Millennials have and see how you might share your wealth, whether it is relational, physical, intellectual, spiritual, or financial.

Sharing your wealth in this crisis

First, let’s acknowledge that this crisis may be making you wonder if you’ll continue to have something to give. Well, you might be surprised to learn where your true wealth lies. Take a moment to reflect on:

  • everything you are … your testimony, talents, abilities, spiritual gifts, and your physical and mental assets
  • everything you do … your work, volunteering, hobbies, and vocational assets
  • everything you have … material assets, influence, knowledge, connections

If you count all these things together, do they not seem like incredible wealth?

Here are a few quick questions to broaden your perspective. It is my hope that they will spark more ideas about how you can make a difference in this crazy world by sharing your wealth.

Complete these sentences:

  • I think my best gifts that I can share with others are ….
  • I can serve others by using my gifts when I ….
  • I can make a positive difference today by ….

We don’t know what’s going to make a positive difference in the long run, but we do know that we can do small things today to make someone’s life better.

Sharing your wealth in a crisis

We are journeying through disruptive times.  As I talk to others,  I’m hearing that many people from all generations are struggling to see a way forward. When I feel stuck, (and believe me, I often do) or when I’m talking to a leader who feels stuck, I ask one of the questions I just asked you: “How am I able to make a positive difference today?”

The question invites you to look at the incredible wealth that God has given you to steward, from who you are to what you do to what you have, and see how you can do good for another life by doing the good work that the Lord has laid out for you.

Millennial, you play a vital role in making the world a better place for everyone. Next time you’re feeling confused and stuck, ask yourself what kind of difference you’re able to make right now. Soon, you’ll find a person or a place where you can share your God-given wealth.

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