"If you could be anything, what would you be? - A Teen's Guide to Mapping Out the Future"

By Jeanne Webster, C.P.C.

Daring to Dream

Imagine being a teenager and receiving the road map to your ideal life. Imagine having someone who encourages you not to settle, not to get an education just as a "back-up" to the life you want. Imagine someone teaching you to plan, instead, to live as you truly desire. Imagine knowing what you need to do now, so that you end up where you want to be later.

Imagine being 22, fresh out of college, and NOT facing a quarter-life crisis due to a lack of direction. Imagine knowing yourself well enough to know whether you need an advanced degree or not. Imagine understanding mistakes or wrong turns as just part of the journey. Imagine steering to avoid self-sabotage and people who throw wet blankets on your dreams. Imagine having a plan for processing setbacks, without becoming lost. Imagine looking forward to your life.

Imagine finding all of that in a 136-page workbook!

A certified coach for teens and parents of teens, Jeanne Webster has managed to write the course for life planning that you wish you had had in high school. When she titled her book, she meant it. If you could be anything…is exactly where she wants kids to focus.

She begins by leading readers through the development of a life map, insisting that they list everything they think they want. Her tone is motivating and reassuring. Young people who don't particularly enjoy reading may find the chapters a little copy-heavy. But adults can help by leading them through the material to get to the "fun part" - making a life map that considers everything that constitutes their ideal lives:

-- Perfect career or profession

-- Dream house and location

-- The people who will share their lives

-- Friends and social life

-- Relaxation and hobbies

-- Meaning and purpose

-- Natural talents and learned skills

Teens are encouraged to become thoroughly familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than being told, unrealistically, to get rid of certain weaknesses, Webster uses her experience to show how an ideal life takes weaknesses into account. (She is not a "morning person" and has arranged her life so that she doesn't have to be.)

One of the best insights Webster shares is that it's okay to work toward a goal, and then change your mind later about its value. Often, having something is the only way to learn it's not for us.

Teens and their adults will benefit from the study and practice of several concepts in this workbook. "Chunking" is a method of breaking down long-term goals into manageable current tasks. Webster shows how chunking can be practiced on any goal, from getting a college degree to soothing a thirsty throat. The Disappointment and Anger Plans offer acceptance of the fact that these emotions are inevitable along life's journey, while also giving the reader a custom-made tool kit for handling setbacks. Finally, an understanding of one's boundaries, values, and principles puts a strong foundation under those "castles in the air."

Of course, as a life coach for teens and their parents, Webster offers her contact information for anyone who wants support for achieving their goals. This book, though, is not a marketing gimmick to bring people to her web site. It's a real and valuable resource for teens and the people who want to see them succeed.

Article by Christie McKaskle