At QBQ, Inc. we are blessed to speak on personal accountability at a time when our world truly needs it. Teaching QBQ! is fun—and relevant. Relevant to the people I work with, and most importantly—relevant to me!
Because guess what? Want to know a secret?
I am entitled.
Or, said correctly, I find myself feeling entitled. Often. Regularly. And it makes me sick.
I am writing this as a “millennial.” I shudder to even use the term, as our generation has been dragged through the mud a bit. As the oldest of the millennials (“millennials” were born 1980-2000; I was born in 1983), I have struggled to identify with much of my generation. However, no matter how I feel about it, I am a millennial.
In the past three days alone, I’ve read two articles about millennials—my narcissistic, entitled, lazy, self-absorbed generation. I’ve read about our lack of professionalism, our inability to hold a decent conversation without checking our smart phones, and our inadequate understanding of or respect for the establishment. And, of course, our sorely entitled attitudes.
As I read these articles, I found myself scoffing. “Oh, those millennials. Aren’t they so cute—self-absorbed, unwilling to work hard and put the time in …” Oh wait … that’s me!
Take a look in the mirror, Kristin, because you know what you’ll see?
A millennial staring right back at you.
You gotta love those reality checks where you realize the criticism you’ve been flinging toward others should have been directed at yourself.
But come on now, I teach on personal accountability! I run sessions based on ownership and give examples of good questions (QBQs) like, “How can I make a difference?” “What can I do to develop myself?” “How can I serve?”
And yet, I struggle with entitlement? Yes, yes I sure do.
I hear it in myself when I crave recognition, and I don’t get it. “Why don’t people recognize my efforts?”
I hear it when I want to achieve, but struggle to work hard. “Why doesn’t success come more easily?”
I recognize the entitlement in me when I want my voice to be heard, my opinion to be sought, and my help to be coveted, yet I don’t step out, lead, or take risks. “Why doesn’t anyone see the value I have to add?”
It’s sneaky and often hard to spot, but all of those thoughts lead to a place of entitlement. A place of “I deserve.” I deserve recognition; I deserve fame; I deserve respect.
The truth is I don’t deserve any of these things. I must earn them. Just like I earn a raise or a promotion. When I take a hard look at myself, I realize, “Yep! I really am a millennial: a fairly good-hearted person, easily absorbed by entitlement thinking.”
So what now? What do we do with this generation of young adults who were told from day one “You’re special!” “You can be whatever you want to be!” “Here’s a trophy just for participating” (even though you sat on the bench and the team didn’t win the championship.)
We equip them—with a practical tool. Will every single one of us embrace it? Unfortunately no. But will many of us? Yes, I believe we will.
QBQ is that tool.
For those of us millennials already in our late 20s and early 30s we need the QBQ! book. And if we are parents already, with potentially little entitled offspring of our own, we need Parenting the QBQ Way. We gotta make sure we don’t pass the mentality on to the next generation, or this world might be in a heap of trouble!
For the younger millennials, the ones like three of my sisters who are still in high school, we have I Own It! This curriculum was written by a millennial (me) for millennials.
There’s no better way to combat an entitlement mentality than with truths like ownership and accountability!
To my fellow millennials reading this post we, let’s be honest—we are everything they say we are. But that’s no excuse. Just because we are “narcissistic,” “fame-obsessed,” “convinced of [our] own greatness,” and “feel entitled to a promotion every year, regardless of performance” doesn’t mean we can just keep on living that way. Every great generation is defined not by how perfect they are on paper, but by how they rise above their shortfalls.
Millennials, our shortfall is entitlement thinking.
Let’s fight it!
What is your opinion of the millennial generation? What do we do well? What are the dangers of entitlement thinking? Share below!
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*quotes from Joel Stein's cover article in Time Magazine