June 2017

Dear Readers:

The first Bettie Boomer column was published fall of 2015. Each month I delve into the commonalities, the differences and the ways to bridge Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Traditionalists. Truly, it’s been a thrill.

I’ve learned that while our lives experiences vary, we share common goals: recognize, reward and engage.

  • We all want to be recognized as individuals with intrinsic human value.
  • We want to be rewarded for excellence, innovation and creativity.
  • We want others to engage with us around shared goals, commitment to building the workplace and positive energy in both our personal and professional life.

I’ve also learned that we have much to learn from one another.

  • Boomers, with their years of experiences in success and failure, have much wisdom to share.
  • Gen X, the ultimate independent DIYers, know how to figure things out and work with ambiguity.
  • Millennials can mentor up with their innate sense of technology and navigating a digital world.

But as I examine the statistics, the findings and the copious analysis of each generation, I am most struck by the attitude and mindset of Millennials. It is this group of young adults, who experienced 9/11 and its aftermath during the height of their teen years, who lead the way in optimism and positive living.

The Optimistic Generation

The best-educated generation in American history, Millennials are saddled with student debt that averages $27,000. As joblessness among Millennials hits record highs, Pew Research Center reports they are confident about their economic prospects.

Research studies consistently find millennials, to be inexplicably positive despite facing higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than any other generation in the modern era.

Millennials do not listen to doom and gloom. They believe they will work it out.

Constant Change and Innovation Frame Their Mindset

Change is a constant in their world and the pace of it is ever increasing. Many of them cannot yet imagine what the future holds. Rather than worry over the unknown, this generation tackles the future with optimism and a positive, can-do attitude.

Millennials choose not to focus on their parents, who according to data from the General Social Survey, say they are not upbeat about the financial future of their children. Instead, a Wells Fargo study reports that nearly 70 percent of Millennials say their standard of living before retirement will be better than their parents.

This generation believes in innovation. If jobs are not available, they will create jobs. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation shows that 54 percent of them either want to start their own company or already have. Millennials are responsible for nearly 160,000 start-ups a month, according to a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

I believe success is a mindset. As a proud Boomer, I raise my hand and applaud the Optimistic Generation Mindset.

Or, as aptly stated in the 1989 movie, “When Harry Met Sally,” when it comes to positive living, I’ll look to the Millennial generation and claim: “I’ll have what she’s (Millennial’s) having.”

Until next month, here’s to positive living with an optimistic mindset.