Strategy #1: Understand & Face the Challenges Directly

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anais Nin

Presidents of companies must understand the challenges their businesses face or they can’t focus actions. Basically, your business as a teenager is to successfully meet the 3 core challenges and figuring out how to deal with your journey (becoming the author):

  • Core Challenge #1: Forming an identity as a young adult 
  • Core Challenge #2: Developing more mature relationships and connections
  • Core Challenge #3: Building the competencies of a young adult
  • Dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of endings, beginnings and “inbetweenity” along with the inevitable setbacks and surprises

It’s always tough to look the dragons directly in the eye, particularly these big dragons faced as a teenager, because they are so big and it takes so long to really deal with them successfully. That’s why it takes the courage to see the truth and the discipline to engage them directly.

However – when you take them on directly, you get bigger and they get smaller.  The challenges are still big and complex, but the balance shifts in your favor.

The Tables of Contents for the Other Chapters – Helpful Guides

The tables of contents for the sections on Identity, Relationships and Competencies follow as a review of what those challenges are like. The table of contents for What to Expect on the Journey also follows. These tables of contents are also useful for finding the worksheets that you have done that you can use in the sections on Vision & Heroic Code and your Plan.

Facing these challenges is not easy – but it’s a 10-year journey and you can choose which challenges to face and when you face them.  The other five strategies will help you deal with the challenges when you choose to address each one.

Core Challenge #1 – Forming an Identity as a Young Adult


There are Two Perspectives

  • Self and Social
  • Inner Voices and Outer Voices

Elements That Combine to Form Your Identity Puzzle

  • Your Significance – “Yes, you are significant now as a teenager”
  • Your Purpose – Life Purpose or Purpose as a Teenager
  • Your Personal Qualities
  • Your Values
  • Ten Other Key Identity Factors
    • Gender & Sexual Orientation
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Activities & Affiliations (sports, the arts, community service…)
    • Physical Appearance
    • Capabilities
    • Culture
    • Religion
    • Socio-economic Status
    • Nation/Region
    • Politics

Exploring and Committing

  • The Two Identity Tasks on the Journey

Put the Picture Together

  • Your Identity Puzzle and Your Personal Brand
  • Social Media & Your Identity/Brand

"I am." Two of the most powerful word, for what you put after them shapes your reality.


Core Challenge #2 – Developing Relationships


Part One:  The Journey & Relationship Struggles

  • Relationships and the heroic journey
  • If you’re struggling with relationships

Part Two: Relationships with Parents

  • Makeovers and moving targets
  • The central challenge –parents letting go of control and teenagers taking on responsibility

Part Three:  Peer Relationships

  • More moving targets – and they are moving faster
  • Importance of peer relationships

Part Four:  Romantic Relationships

  • Strange new world
  • The benefits
  • The barriers and pitfalls
  • Age differences
  • Types of romantic relationships
  • Endings

Part Five:  Characteristics of Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

  • Characteristics of healthy relationships
  • Characteristics of unhealthy relationships

Part Six:  Sex & Relationships

  • Be the Author – your choices – your responsibility
  • Guiding questions for making good choices
  • Why wait

Part Seven:  Emotional Intelligence & Relationship Competencies

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Relationship competencies – the big three

Part Eight:  It’s About A Web of Relationships

  • Webs of relationships – inner circle and outer circle(s)
  • Networking – building the web
  • Sexual orientation & relationships

Part Nine:  Social Media and Relationships

  • Be the author
  • Pursue the opportunities
  • Manage the dangers and pitfalls

Part Ten:  Relationship Pitfalls  

  • The tough one – identity vs. relationships
  • Too small a network/web or putting too much importance on a relationship
  • Failing to realize/accept the value you bring to a relationship
  • Letting social media manage you vs. managing it
  • Failing to be the Author: Networking & Building Your Web of Relationships

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.  


Core Challenge #3 – Building Competencies


The Foundation for Adulthood

  • There are Twelve Types of Competencies to be Built and are Developed in Many Places & in Different Ways
  • You Don’t Have to Master All the Competencies

It’s a Journey – It Takes Time

  • Be the Author – Take Charge of Your Competency Development
  • Create Your Plan – It’s About You & What You Want
  • Find the Support You Need – Heroes Never Go Alone

The Keys to Mastering Your Competencies

  • “Learning to Love the Plateau” – Where Mastery Happens
  • Habits & Practice Are Key – “Oh No”

How the Three Core Challenges Look to Me Now

How would you describe your development in each of the three core challenge areas? What is emerging and falling into place? What are the toughest or most important issues you are encountering? Remember – struggling with something doesn’t mean that you are failing – it just means that you have engaged that issue and are working through it to become the young man or woman that you want to be.

How the Three Core Challenges Look to Me Now

The Underlying Challenge:  What to Expect on the Journey

“Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark;
professionals built the Titanic.”  Anonymous

Dealing with the three core challenges is a ten-year journey (at least).  Success requires (a) letting go of the old ways of childhood, (b) discovering and mastering the new ways of young adulthood, and (c) managing that long period between childhood and young adulthood (“inbetweenity”).

You can expect to be on a rollercoaster ride.  At some points you will be “up” and at some points you will be “down.”  Sometimes you will be excited and sometimes anxious or depressed, sometimes celebrating wins and sometimes dealing with losses.
It will be critical to develop and maintain a support network (small is OK), which may shift over time. It will also be critical to learn how to take care of yourself on the journey and build resilience.

The good news.  Again – the good news is this journey is the same journey you will encounter as an adult, although rarely as long or involving so much change in so many areas. If you get good at managing you heroic journey as a teen, you will be well prepared for adulthood’s changes.

An Overview of Your Journey

Part One:  The Heart of Your Journey – Being the Author of Your Life

  • #1  Yes, You Really are on a Heroic Journey
  • #2  It’s About Figuring Out How to be the Author of Your Life
  • #3  You will encounter two types of heroic journey

Part Two:  The Challenges & Tests You Will Encounter                

  • #4  There are Three Big Core Challenges for Teenagers
  • #5  There are Three Different Types of Test Encountered
  • #6  The Tests & Challenges Come on Five Levels – and You Will Grow on Each Level
  • Examples of how this looks in real life

Part Three:  The Experiences to Expect on Your Journey

  • #7  It’s often a Rollercoaster
  • #8  Perseverance and Resilience Build as You Go  (Capabilities)
  • #9 Staying Healthy – Support Networks, Energy Traps & Sources of Energy

Part Four:  The Heroic Journey is a Play in Three Acts – and You Have the Lead Role

  • #10 Act One:  How Journeys Begin – Thrown in as a teenager with the challenge to become the author of the experience
  • #11 Act Two:  On the Path of Tests – the long act where most of the tests & challenges are engaged – the rollercoaster is experienced – and where resilience & perseverance are key
  • #12 Act Three:  Completions – “ripple effects” and others’ responses to your changes

Part Five:  Eight Natural Pitfalls to Deal with on Your Journey

Part Six:  Extra – More on Letting Go; Discovery & Mastery; & Dealing with “Inbetweenity”

How I’m Doing with the Different Parts of the Journey – Map it

One way you can manage your journey is to map how you are doing with each part of the journey. Then you get a whole picture and you can see where things are going well, where you are having trouble, etc. Then you can celebrate what has gone well and focus your attention on the areas where you are having trouble.

Remember – “trouble” doesn’t mean failure or no hope. It just means there is some development that needs to happen in that area. That’s where the opportunity is for growth – and that’s what the heroic journey is about. So, focus – and get help, because heroes never go alone – they always find helpers and companions.

How I’m Doing with the Different Parts of the Journey