Written by Paul Angone

The obstacles facing twentysomethings today are massive and can sometimes feel un-scaleable.

I thought in my twenties I’d be running full-speed and winning the race I’d been preparing for so many years to run.

Instead, I felt like I tripped at the starting line and looked up to see a race filled with potholes, rings of fire, and dream-eating-managers covering the path I thought was going to be smooth and straight.

What exactly are the main obstacles facing twentysomethings today? And more importantly, how do we leap over them?

Five Obstacles Facing Twentysomethings

1. Informationized

Twentysomethings are being informationized, a barrage of “need to knows” being shot at us with every step.

With twentysomethings being exposed to 1 trillion messages a day – give or take a billion, information is no longer gold, it’s a trap. At least the wrong kind of information.

Just like the food we eat — the information we consume can be junk or it can be nutritious. Consuming the right information is just as important as blocking all the wrong.

How we overcome:

We need to start asking questions about our info-intake.

Do you need to turn off the wireless internet at certain points during the day so you can focus on one task?

Do you need to stop watching the news about everything that’s going wrong in the world and just focus on what you can do right?

Instead of reading so much of our information in today’s headlines, how about we read books full of needed and important info specifically for us. If you’re not sure where to start, check out my list of the Top 21 Books for Twentysomethings.

Wherever your info-intake is at right now, start asking yourself when enough info is enough. Death by information is a terrible way to die.

2. Social Media

Social media can either be like a black hole, sucking all your time, energy, and creativity into a vortex of zero returns.

Or social media can create a galaxy of opportunities, relationships, job opportunities, and platforms like never seen before.

Social media is the great amplifier, shouting the good and bad of YOU at record octaves. It takes your success, failures, fears, and puts them on stage for the world to judge. And how you’re presenting yourself on the social media stage can make all the difference.

How we overcome:

Is social media something you do intentionally or without any thought?

Is your social media presence proactive or reactive?

Are you strategically creating your online brand or are you letting others create the brand for you?

Social media is like a chainsaw. How you wield it is the difference between building something or just cutting everything down.

3. Stereotypes

As I wrote in “Enough with the Twentysomething Stereotypes!“, the same old buzzwords are being thrown around and adopted about everything twentysomethings “are doing wrong.”

We don’t dare stereotype based on gender, religion, race, or sexual orientation, but if you stereotype based on age you’ll have a front cover story.

And if you’re twentysomething, your managers might have their own stereotypes about you based on your age before you even tackle a project.

The stereotypes might be subtle or incredibly pronounced, but you must be aware of how you are being perceived. Then do your best to take those stereotypes to the shredder and into the outgoing trash.

How we overcome:

As I wrote in my book 101 Secrets for your Twenties,

If you feel like you’re being stereotyped because of your age, your best ally is quiet confidence—a humble consistency that shows up and gets the job done. You don’t argue with them about your skill set, you just show them every single day how awesome your skills are.

It’s a tough, thankless gig, but soon, very soon, you’ll prove to them that you’re a person, not an age range.

4. Lackluster Economy  + Debt = Holy Horse-Apple

You don’t need me to tell you that the economy has been a tad dumpsterish lately, with many twentysomethings taking out thousands of dollars in college loans for the grand opportunity to step up to the garbage bin to find that job in the rough. The Great Recession became a very depressing twentysomething reality.

How we overcome:

Instead of complaining about a lack of opportunity, we need to focus on creating them instead.

We can’t sit around and wait for an open door, we have to keep pounding on them until one busts open.

We can’t be reactive to the economy’s woes, we have to be proactive in finding needs and meeting them.

Opportunities for twentysomethings didn’t disappear, it just takes a little more hutzpah to uncover them.

5. Wasted Time

Now that I’m married with two daughters, I become a tad sick when I think about all the hours I wasted in my early twenties.

Time is your greatest asset. And for most twentysomethings time is still on your side.

Just remember that time is a depleting supply.

As you possibly look to get married, buy a house, have kids, the time you’re going to have to pursue your dreams is going to be fleeting. For me, that meant working a full-time job, putting kids to bed, and then chasing my dream of becoming a full-time writer and speaker at 5:00 am or 10:00 pm, trying to ring productivity out of every free second.

How we overcome:

Wasting free time is very expensive. 

Make a schedule. Choose your time. Don’t let it choose you.

Wasting time becomes a never-ending carousel, anxiety multiplying with every turn.

Time is a gift. Unwrap it and use it wisely.

Your life might not be turning out nothing like you planned mainly because you never had a plan to begin with. Take time to make one.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below on this article:

What obstacles are you trying to overcome? 

Paul-Angone-All-Groan-UpAbout Paul

Paul Angone is the author of 101 Secrets for your Twenties and the creator of AllGroanUp.com, a place for those asking “what now?” Snag free chapters from his book and follow him at @PaulAngone.

Written by Marisol Dahl

In August during the Speak Like A Pro virtual conference, I was struck by something Pamela Slim said in her interview:

“Presenting is a full-contact sport.”

jpegYou can know all the rules to the game, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get out there and hit a home run. Giving a speech, much like playing a sport, involves preparation, a sound body, a strong mind, limber muscles, and a full playbook.

You have to exercise, train, and practice.

But as with any athlete or speaking pro out there, nerves can really trip us up and affect our performance. In Fearless Speaking: Beat Your Anxiety. Build Your Confidence. Change Your Life., Gary Genard plays Coach Joe Girardi to our Derek Jeter. This get-up-out-of-your-seat book is all about going on the offensive and getting to the bottom of your speaking fears. Genard certainly knows how to approach speaking with an athlete’s mindset.

The Athlete’s Mindset

  1. Audience members are your fans, not your competitors.

“Most nervousness isn’t visible to others because it’s internal. And if people do see you’re nervous, they’ll most likely have the normal reaction, which is to sympathize with you. Since audience members feel good when you’re succeeding and embarrassed when you’re failing, they’re actually on your side and want you to do well.”

  1. There is no “I” in “team.” Don’t hog the ball.

Genard delivers some tough love when he calls out speech anxiety and self-consciousness for what they truly are—narcissism.

“Hey, what makes you think this audience is here because of you? They’re contributing their valuable time attending this event because they hope to get something out of it. Instead of being concerned about your own feelings, ask yourself if you’re meeting your audience’s needs.”

  1. Hold the dumbbells, focus on your voice.

“Keep in mind that the voice is inherently physical. That fact may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re preoccupied with the content of a presentation or consumed by performance anxiety.

Because your voice is physical, it is intimately connected to energy and relaxation, as well as tension and stress. That means that the pressures of a too-hectic lifestyle or work schedule will emerge in one form or another in your vocal expression. Anything you can do to relieve those pressures—yoga, sports, and relaxation exercises—will pay off in a more fluid and powerful vocal instrument.”

  1. Keep your eye on the prize.

“Your fear of public speaking and the measure of your success as a speaker are entirely separate matters. It’s easy to confuse these two issues: thinking that just because you were nervous, your presentation had to have been a failure.

Because speaking anxiety makes you so uncomfortable, it sometimes becomes an all-consuming state of mind. That makes it easy for you to lose sight of a critically important fact: Your goal is not to speak without anxiety it is to positively influence your audience.”

Become an MVP and Train With the Pros

How to Speak Like A Pro: Practical Tips for Your Confidence, Deliver and Impact: On October 27, Jenny will be leading a live workshop at Holstee’s new Learning Lab in Brooklyn, NY. Come connect with creatives, entrepreneurs, and others who want to master the skills of public speaking.

Heroic Public Speaking: Michael Port, One of my biggest influences in business and public speaking, will be leading a four-month interactive virtual program starting October 27. The class will culminate in a live workshop for all participants in February. Click here for details and to get Michael’s free Heroic Public Speaking Guide To World Saving Speeches.

Can’t make it? You can still learn how to Speak Like A Pro from home.

Book Giveaway

We’re excited to give away a copy of Fearless Speaking by Gary Genard to one lucky Life After College reader. To enter, answer the following question in the comments by Monday, October 13:

Comment to Be Entered to Win:
What do you do to beat public speaking anxiety?


About Marisol Dahl

Marisol is currently a Sociology and Education Studies major at Yale University. A longtime New Yorker, she is interested in pursuing a career in education and child advocacy. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. When not running around campus and catching up with her school reading, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading dystopian fiction and volunteering in her community. She can be reached at marisoldahl [at] gmail.com and on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

How To Cash In On Your Skills

Written by Marisol Dahl It’s a little crazy to think that it’s only early October and I’ve already hit midterms season in college. The clock is ticking and in more ways than one. By next May I’ll have my cap and gown packed up, a job (haha, maybe), and an onslaught of student loan payments. […]

Click here to read the full post →

The Most Important Word in the Dictionary

By Davis Nguyen “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” —C. S. Lewis Humility isn’t a sexy word. As recent college graduates, we are so eager to show the world what we have to offer. What we lack in experience, we make up for in our readiness to accept every opportunity […]

Click here to read the full post →

How Do You Know When to Trust Your Gut?

Written by Jenny Blake Have you ever had a gut instinct that rocked you to the core? You’re in a job or a relationship, and you start getting a physical sense that it is time to make a change. These instincts often start as quiet whispers, and can be confusing and disorienting if we don’t yet know what […]

Click here to read the full post →

Changing the Lens on Job Opportunities

Written by Melissa Anzman The stories that we grew up hearing, the advice that we listened to whether willingly or not, and the modeling our families showed us – create the fiber of who we are, for better and worse. We start seeing the world through various lens and viewpoints, with some biases and “shoulds.” And […]

Click here to read the full post →