Young Future Leaders Academy

This is the time of year when many of those recently graduated from secondary school are wondering about what awaits them when they head to university. While those who have just finished their undergraduate or postgraduate studies are either anxiously job-hunting or weathering the learning curve of a new, demanding, professional environment.

If they were lucky, or perhaps particularly self-motivated, perhaps some will have taken advantage of mentorship programmes at their schools or universities. Perhaps others will have applied for – largely unpaid – internships in their field of interest, accruing some of the necessary skills for their chosen field.

Doing so would have meant following the rites of passage of a different age, where many young people would have apprenticed themselves solely to one master – who in turn would have undertaken a solemn responsibility to hone not merely their craftsmanship, but to mould their character and prepare them for a life of virtue and high ideals.

Unfortunately, however lucky or enterprising today’s secondary school or university graduates may have been in terms of resources, it’s safe to say few to possibly none of them will have had the opportunity to be mentored through a multifaceted programme that guides them from childhood to adulthood – beyond their formal education – all while designing a continually-refined curriculum of skills, aptitudes and hands-on experiences, uniquely created to fit their temperament, interests and gifts.  A programme that paces its mentorship across a much longer-term of development and maturity – and which adds progressively more and more resources and opportunities to add to their pre- and post-university CVs, all while exposing them to an ever-expanding and international network of professional peers and associates.

There are many twists and turns, surprises and crises in life. But nothing prepares us, either for the workplace or simply the endless catalogue of adult responsibilities, like the assured presence of a benevolent authority, dedicated to our success in life and our progress to fulfilling our potential.

Of course, parents will give their children their best in terms of encouragement and financial support, but the truth is, a mentor whose deep commitment is matched by their ability to open professional doors, who can apply the latest in psychometric testing to pinpoint a young person’s strengths and weaknesses, and who can offer skills-based drills, escalating professional challenges and a wealth of opportunities to go beyond a young individual’s comfort zone (which, yes, often remains in place at school through university), is irreplaceable.

Young Future Leaders is proud to present its Academy, mentoring children from the ages of 11 all the way up to young professionals of 24+ years, through a dynamically designed, phased curriculum, targeting all the areas that a traditional school and university education will often lack the capacity to provide.

From pre-teen coaching, public speaking and entrepreneurship workshops to build confidence and structured communication, to employability skills workshops, job fairs and broad professional exposure at multi-company internships, with eventual entry into a targeted company induction programme or a start-up incubator, Young Future Leaders hones both the corporate and entrepreneurial mindsets from the most tender ages, remaining at their side at each important life transition, to allow an extraordinary flowering of native potential.

In life, there is absolutely no substitute for that deep sense of self-confidence, self-knowledge and self-reliance that the highest performers and leaders display (and enjoy).

A privileged start in life or a rare education is no longer sufficient to compete and thrive at the highest professional or personal levels. Only when the passionate pursuit of a dream partners with a prepared and disciplined mindset can an individual truly find their wings. At Young Future Leaders Academy, young people can take flight, knowing they have a wise navigator guiding them towards their personal horizon.

Leonidas Alexandrou
Founder Young Future Leaders
Youth Mentor, Youth Motivational Speaker

To book your free consultation please email as at info@youngfutureleaders.com

What Happy Teenagers Do Differently

When risk, challenge, and emotional stimulation lead to positive outcomes.

Call me an optimist, but I believe happiness can emerge through discomfort and risk. In fact, research suggests risk-taking in the teenage years contributes to self-growth, learning, and long-term happiness.

In a recent Psychology Today article, What Happy People Do Differently, positive psychologists, Robert Biswas-Diener and Todd Kashdan, claim that truly happy people understand “happiness is not just about doing things that you like. It also requires growth and adventuring beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone.”

“Curiosity,” they say, “is largely about exploration…the most direct route to becoming stronger and wiser.” A study led by Kashdan and psychologist Michael Steger found that “curious people invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks.”

But what about teenagers? Do happy teens approach risk and discomfort differently than their peers?

t seems like one of the first things we associate with the teen years is risk-taking behavior. And most of the time, those associations are negative. Right? That’s because we are deluged with stories of troubled youth whose risk-taking actions got out of hand —sometimes with tragic results.

But what if there was a flip side to youth risk-taking — a side that would encourage us to gently push teens out of their comfort zones?

Teens Find Identity through Discomfort

In 2010, I conducted a research study with college students showing that teens, like adults, find happiness when they experience risk-taking. At the peak of their discomfort, students made comments, including:

“I crossed barriers in my mind.”

“I felt scared.”

“I felt liberated.”

“What a powerful experience.”

“I was way out of my comfort zone.”

What risk-taking experiences caused them to make these comments? Were they high on drugs or alcohol?

Quite the opposite. These students were describing the positive experience of pushing their psychological boundaries as they participated in a variety of community service activities.

Some had come face-to-face with people living in situations very different from their own, like poverty or homelessness.  Others were doing physical labor that stretched them to new levels of endurance.  Several feared failure as they set their sights on unimaginable goals to benefit others.

These students came from highly diverse backgrounds. But what they shared in common was a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem that came from learning to solve problems, working with others, and pushing their comfort zones.

The bottom line? The students in this study discovered their identities through the process of risk-taking. Simultaneously, they found a path to happiness.

The Teen Brain Craves Risk-Taking

Much of the research on happiness has been conducted with adults. But what we’ve learned about the teen brain sheds light on their happiness too.

Before adolescence, children learn how to fit into society. With parents and teachers as guides, they absorb the norms and unspoken rules of how to behave at home and school.  They are like little sponges, soaking up megabytes of information!

As children enter their teen years, they begin to merge what they know about society with their psychological selves. They search for their own identities, separate from their parents.

Changes to the limbic system of the brain cause teens to seek risk, challenge, and emotional stimulation. While some parents fear this phase of a child’s life, it’s really quite natural. And it’s a time to be embraced as a positive transition to adulthood.

Of course, we mostly associate teen risk-taking with drinking, drugs, smoking, and sexual experimentation. But risk-taking is equally associated with positive activities, like mountain climbing, community service, politics, faith groups, and other experiences that can push young people out of their comfort zones and reward them handsomely.

Like the teens that were part of my research study, risk-taking can seed happiness, life purpose, and well-being.  When young people learn to overcome challenges and meet risk head on, they learn to be resilient. They learn that exploration beyond their comfort zones often leads to unexpected rewards and psychological peaks. They develop courage, curiosity, self-confidence, and persistence.

Can we reshape the idea that teen risk-taking is always negative? What positive experiences have you or your teen enjoyed that pushed psychological comfort zones and increased happiness?

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is a developmental psychologist working at the intersection of youth development, leadershipeducation, and civic engagement.

Employability skills and ways to develop them for your teens

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference” – Aristotle.

The situation

As ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change”. The world around us is changing constantly; working environments shift towards more free structure, skills required more people skills, and technology is moving so fast that we cannot even follow.

Challenge

For fact, in the next 5 years, employers will require different set of skills, and the question is how all-potential future employees can prepare themselves and get the specific set of skills?

Based on research contacted by World Economic Forum (WEF) the skills that will be required are the following:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others in the work place
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment & Decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive Flexibility

The question that is raised now, is that how can I help my teen develop these skills? At this article we will focus on few skills and in our next articles we will cover the rest of the skills.

How can I help my teen develop problem-solving skills?

Problem solving involves math and thinking skills. Demonstrate an interest in mathematics and make math and problem solving a part of the family routine. Here are some everyday activities that can help build them:

  • Cook together. Have your children follow a recipe. Explain fractions and measurements while cooking.
  • Shop together. Illustrate percentages with pennies and dollars. Have your children check the grocery receipt, and calculate prices.
  • Travel together. Have your children act as the navigators on a family outing. Play simple games such as “how far is it?” Keep a chart of daily temperatures to help plan for a family vacation.
  • Play games together. Have your children learn the rules of a game by reading and enforcing directions.

How can I help my child with communication skills?

Communication includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Keep lots of quality reading material around the house. Make visits to the library part of your family routine. Point out that pleasurable reading comes from good writing. Here are some ideas to develop better communicators:

  • Read to your children. Spend 20 minutes a day reading to preschoolers. Have older children read to you or take turns reading to younger siblings. Let your children see you read at least 20 minutes a day.
  • Encourage good listening. Discuss the content of what you or they have read. Tell stories and have children re-tell them in detail.
  • Play games that involve writing, speaking, and listening. Charades requires non-verbal skills.
  • Encourage writing. Expect that your children will write letters and thank you notes to relatives and friends. Make sure your children have writing materials, such as journals and diaries, available.

How can I help my child with teamwork?

Teams are not only important on the athletic field. All aspects of life require people to work effectively as members of teams. Think of your family as a team, and use some of these ideas:

  • Build your family team. Involve children in family discussions or decisions, as appropriate for their age and maturity level.
  • Work together. Give kids important jobs to do within the family or work on chores together.
  • Practice conflict resolution. Teach them to get along with others by modeling good teamwork and conflict resolution.
  • Learn together. Emphasize the learning that takes place in groups, whether on school projects or team activities like sports, music, theater, or volunteering.

How can I help my child with other employment foundations?

Employment requires understanding and using tools and technology, working in organizations and systems, and following procedures. You can begin building these skills at home by:

  • Do projects that require many steps, use of tools, and following procedures, such as:
    • Cook together. Have your children read recipes and measure ingredients.
    • Do laundry. Have your children sort items of clothing according to color, read washing instructions, measure detergent and time wash cycles.
    • Go grocery shopping. Have your children write shopping lists, compare food prices, make change, and identify and classify food items.
    • Fix the family photo album. Have your children sort pictures, write labels for each photo and write a story about some of the photos.
    • Organize the house. Have your child sortren items in a “junk drawer,” label them and arrange them alphabetically.
    • Talk about products and services you use. Introduce your children to all aspects of work; including technology, business, artistic, social and customer service perspectives.
    • Discuss new technologies and how they change our lives. Discuss ways to improve products, processes and services with your children. Encourage your children to brainstorm solutions to technical and human problems.

For more information please contact us at info@youngfutureleaders.com

Improve Your Public Speaking with a More Effective Mindset

Peter Bubriski

Over the last few years many executive coaches have been urging leaders to learn to communicate more powerfully through examples from the acting profession. But they may have it wrong — or at least, only half right.

With inspiring and often very talented actors leading workshops in the corporate workplace, the sights and sounds of group improvisation, storytelling and even Shakespearean verse abound. And the energy and creativity this can unleash is a good thing when it leads to well-told stories that inspire colleagues, customers and stakeholders to take action. But it doesn’t work for everyone.

Too often the acting angle elicits rolling eyes, tightly folded arms and comments like “Darryl over there might enjoy this — he’s a bit dramatic anyways — but this isn’t for me.”

I know from long experience; I’ve had those eyes rolled at me.

I graduated with a drama degree from Yale and acted professionally for years while also teaching executives communication skills. With investment bankers, civil engineers or Internet software CEOs, the acting angle doesn’t often get them doing really effective work.

If you’re in that category, try this instead: think of practicing speaking skills as practicing a sport.

With a sport, you’re not pretending to be someone else. You are training your body and your mind to achieve feats of skill — building your muscle memory with drills and repetition.

Even leaders who prefer a couch to a tennis court tend to rise to the challenge of approaching things like Venus Williams or Roger Federer — step by step, practiced move by practiced move. So get it out of your head that you have to “perform,” to be someone else, be fascinating, to hold their attention like a Johnny Depp or a Natalie Portman. To be a better public speaker, you just need to get out of your own way, so we can see you for who you really are. Glimpsing that authentic core can be riveting, and that’s where the sport comes in.

To approach speaking as a sport, leaders need to be aware of their own potent skills. They need to know their bodies: their instruments, and how versatile, flexible and capable they are. They need to know how things work. Where does your voice come from? What can you accomplish with gesture and movement? And how do you organize the flow of information through your body so that it has maximum impact? What’s the game plan of a particular meeting or presentation, and what tools can you use to make sure it plays out the way you want it to?

We speak of some athletes as artists in their field because they exercise their skills with a mastery that appears effortless. That is where the art and sport of great communication skills come together. As either an athlete or an artist, you have to practice over and over and over again so that you’re not thinking about the people in the stands watching your brilliant shot, not thinking about the people in the audience hearing your brilliant words, but just thinking: here’s how I always use my instrument when the “ball” comes my way.

I worked with a CEO (“Bill”) who had a great series of stories to tell. His company was poised for huge wins. The numbers had been disappointing for several quarters, but now things were turning around and there were successes to share from divisions around the globe that could inspire — if only the rank and file could just hear them. But his stories fell flat; they were disorganized and didn’t have a clear point. And, worse still, he told the stories badly: low affect, shuffling, mumbling, and speaking while facing the screen or the same few faces.

It turned out Bill had run track in college and was a golfer, so the idea of practicing public speaking like a sport came naturally to him. We set up and practiced a regimen of physical exercises to strengthen, stretch and support his physical presence — voice, gesture, and movement. And we put together outlines and organizational frameworks that he could use as a basis for giving powerful and memorable structure to his talks — a game plan. Now he knew how to practice, and he wasn’t encumbered by the fear that he was “acting,” pretending to be someone else, or performing a “schtick.” He could think of it as a sport — something he was already comfortable doing.

Here’s the funny thing. Much of the preparation and practice we were employing was exactly the kind that actors use. That’s the half that those acting coaches I mentioned earlier get right. But I wasn’t going to bother Bill with that.

Peter Bubriski heads Peter Bubriski Associates. He is on the faculty of Boston University’s School of Management and has led seminars at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Novartis and has coached senior leaders at Harvard Business School.

Leonidas Alexandrou
Founder Young Future Leaders
Youth Mentor, Youth Motivational Speaker

Education is no longer sufficient to thrive at the highest professional levels

Young Future Leaders Academy

This is the time of year when many of those recently graduated from secondary school are wondering about what awaits them when they head to university. While those who have just finished their undergraduate or postgraduate studies are either anxiously job-hunting or weathering the learning curve of a new, demanding, professional environment.

If they were lucky, or perhaps particularly self-motivated, perhaps some will have taken advantage of mentorship programmes at their schools or universities. Perhaps others will have applied for – largely unpaid – internships in their field of interest, accruing some of the necessary skills for their chosen field.
Doing so would have meant following the rites of passage of a different age, where many young people would have apprenticed themselves solely to one master – who in turn would have undertaken a solemn responsibility to hone not merely their craftsmanship, but to mould their character and prepare them for a life of virtue and high ideals.

Unfortunately, however lucky or enterprising today’s secondary school or university graduates may have been in terms of resources, it’s safe to say few to possibly none of them will have had the opportunity to be mentored through a multifaceted programme that guides them from childhood to adulthood – beyond their formal education – all while designing a continually-refined curriculum of skills, aptitudes and hands-on experiences, uniquely created to fit their temperament, interests and gifts. A programme that paces its mentorship across a much longer-term of development and maturity – and which adds progressively more and more resources and opportunities to add to their pre- and post-university CVs, all while exposing them to an ever-expanding and international network of professional peers and associates.

There are many twists and turns, surprises and crises in life. But nothing prepares us, either for the workplace or simply the endless catalogue of adult responsibilities, like the assured presence of a benevolent authority, dedicated to our success in life and our progress to fulfilling our potential.

Of course, parents will give their children their best in terms of encouragement and financial support, but the truth is, a mentor whose deep commitment is matched by their ability to open professional doors, who can apply the latest in psychometric testing to pinpoint a young person’s strengths and weaknesses, and who can offer skills-based drills, escalating professional challenges and a wealth of opportunities to go beyond a young individual’s comfort zone (which, yes, often remains in place at school through university), is irreplaceable.
Young Future Leaders is proud to present its Academy, mentoring teens from the ages of 11 all the way up to young professionals of 24+ years, through a dynamically designed, phased curriculum, targeting all the areas that a traditional school and university education will often lack the capacity to provide.

From pre-teen coaching, public speaking and entrepreneurship workshops to build confidence and structured communication, to employability skills workshops, job fairs and broad professional exposure at multi-company internships, with eventual entry into a targeted company induction programme or a start-up incubator, Young Future Leaders hones both the corporate and entrepreneurial mindsets from the most tender ages, remaining at their side at each important life transition, to allow an extraordinary flowering of native potential.
In life, there is absolutely no substitute for that deep sense of self-confidence, self-knowledge and self-reliance that the highest performers and leaders display (and enjoy).

A privileged start in life or a rare education is no longer sufficient to compete and thrive at the highest professional or personal levels. Only when the passionate pursuit of a dream partners with a prepared and disciplined mindset can an individual truly find their wings. At Young Future Leaders Academy, young people can take flight, knowing they have a wise navigator guiding them towards their personal horizon.

Leonidas Alexandrou
Founder Young Future Leaders
Youth Mentor, Youth Motivational Speaker

Welcome message from Founder of Young Future Leaders

Young Future Leaders vision is firstly to assist every teen to find the Leader in his or her own self, and secondly to offer some of the world’s leading educational workshop programs, centered around teaching leadership and public speaking skills.

I welcome you to Young Future Leaders and thank you for assuming this responsibility.

At Young Future Leaders, we believe in providing our students with a well balanced, enriching experience while raising the bar on what quality education and personal development programming can offer. We will make every effort to support you and to create an environment in which you can achieve your highest level of excellence. Young Future Leaders promises a great future and we are just delighted that you are now part of our team.

Leonidas Alexandrou
Founder Young Future Leaders
Youth Mentor, Youth Motivational Speaker