We've run into several coaching clients lately who definitelly fall into the Millennial category – under 30, only a few years out of college – but, yet, they don't fit the Millennial stereotype at all. They're blowing past their company's sales goals. Their bosses are happy with their work. And while you may be thinking, "Wow, that's awesome! Good for them for working hard to get ahead!", the reality is that they're also a little frustrated. As one said,
"I think I could do half as much work and my boss would still be thrilled, because it's more than he gets out of other people my age."
In this conversation, clients have expressed feelings of frustration (how do I push myself when the bar feels low?) and lack of motivation (what they expect of me is easy...now what?). It seems that while being really productive and performing at a high level can seem like a good problem to have, there's two sides to every coin.
So what do you do? What happens when you're an abnormal young professional?
Here's a few ideas for raising the bar for high-performing Millennials – so you can stand out within your organization and feel like you're growing personally.
Set Your Own Targets
For good or bad, if you're in an organization that's setting the bar relatively low for Millennial employees, you may need to create your own goals.
Company sales targets are easily achievable? With your manager or just in your own mind, raise them.
Finding it easy to make the number of calls you're required to make? Challenge yourself to make one more visit each day or each week.
As you set the bar higher – and reach it – you'll be amazed to see the power you'll have over your own future.
What are you working toward? If your individual company goals aren't high enough, what else is there?
There might be a trip that only the top 10% of sales people get to go on – figure out what you need to do to reserve your spot on the plane.
Maybe there's a next-tier cash bonus that you have to take additional action to achieve – make a plan to get those things done.
No organizational incentives available to you? Create your own.
If you make an extra customer call each day for a month, treat yourself to those new golf clubs.
If you hit your annual sales targets, go on that two-week vacation to the Bahamas.
Do what it takes to push yourself further than expected.
Find Someone To Celebrate the Wins With
If your coworkers aren't performing at your same level and your manager isn't expecting any more out of you than they are from everyone else, find others to celebrate your wins with. Friends from other companies, mastermind groups and professional organizations are great support systems for this – put together a group and go out to happy hour once a month. That support from outside the office walls can be incredibly motivating, so you don't feel like you're alone on an island. (Side benefit: Remember that whole "you're the average of the 5 people you hang around most" idea? Join a group that pushes you to be better, in addition to supporting your achievements.)
It can be hard to hold yourself accountable to more ambitious goals – especially when those around you are fine if you don't reach them. If you want to raise the bar, consider getting a coach that will expect more of you. That added layer of accountability may be the difference between just getting by and truly reaching your potential to thrive.
We're so often bogged down with complaints about Millennials who are "lazy and entitled" that it can be refreshing to come across those who give us a good name! That doesn't mean we can sit back and get by, though. Challenge yourself to constantly do more, have more and be more than those around you – and the rewards will flow to you in droves.