Maybe the greatest pain or source of pain I have seen in many children from wealthy families in the pain of not being known while being known. I know that sounds like Dr Seuss.
What I mean by that is they feel a great sense of emptiness. They have a sense they are playing to the external or veneer of the family name, reputation and notoriety and they have none of their own. None they can say they created anything substantive by themselves.
They are uncertain that they could ever have made it by themselves.
Some make sure their family name is known. They use it for every advantage: academic, sexual, promotions, positions, friendships and favors. There is always something inside which leads them to question just who they are and could they achieve whatever success they have by themselves alone.
So how can a parent or parents create and structure their bringing up of children in a way that means a child gains, builds and develops their souls. Their inner being. That place that is built by virtue of them, their talents, their inner motivations and their pathway in life.
Time for a story of a young man who we have worked with and still work with today as he is about to graduate from college and move to his next adventure in life.
Brad comes from one of the wealthiest families in the world. When we started working with him he was as lost and uncertain of himself as probably any young person I have ever met. Holed up behind a closed door, failing out of his second college in two years, abusing drugs, angry, depressed and lost, so very lost.
Fast forward six months. We had done a lot of work with him specifically helping him identify and articulate his talents, internal motivations and character strengths. He was becoming the person he always knew he was but never had the ability to demonstrate externally. He was ready to be seen.
Brad was headed to do an internship in a city across country with one of the companies that his aunt owned. She was president of the multi billion dollar the family started and was not really involved with this company other than as an owner.
The city where Brad went had just won a major sports championship and his family were the majority owners of the team. Brad had always been very interested in sports and was somewhat of a statistical savant with players and team statistics. He wanted a career in sports.
While there he told us he wanted to get an internship with the team. I sat him down with my coaching partner and we advised him. He knew his future as a man and professional needed to be his own.
- He was to get the internship by his own actions and hard work and not based on anything his family could do.
- He would not contact anyone in the family to ask for help or put in a good word to get him the internship.
Brad did just that. It took almost six months. He found out who the right people to talk to. Applied. Followed up with emails and calls. Never said who he was.
- Brad got the internship. He spend last summer and was voted the top intern in his group by the other interns who also never got to know who he was.
What Brad learned is he had the capacity to make his way in this world and be seen. If he wanted to be happy and feel successful, doing it based on his own talent and motivation mattered.
He learned that when he did it by himself not with a leg up from his family or their name, made him even more successful. He did it the hard way.
Brad is about to graduate in May. His future is open. He is determined and confident moving into this new phase of his life having learned probably the most important lesson any individual can ever learn; rich or poor, big name no name, pedigree or mutt.
Everybody has their something and when we know what that is, life matters and the future is bright.
Need help? We specialize in understanding and making a difference in the lives of those who need hope, direction and purpose. Call Mark Demos today and discover how we can help. (425) 492-4300