Marriott Alumni Magazine

Fall 2016

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THE RESPONSE The consultant role gets especially hard when you feel that your child is taking a wrong turn or destined for disappointment. How do you balance your desire to prevent harm with the need to grant your child space to pursue his dreams—and learn from mistakes? Ask first. In this situation, your first instinct is to call it like you see it. But with young adults, it's important to first ask if they're open to advice. "Unsolicited advice can come off as critical rather than supportive," says Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, owner of Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City, and author of The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women. "When it's unwelcome, your advice-sharing is going to negatively impact the relationship, and the relationship is more important than being right." Hanks suggests this script: "I've been thinking about you and your career plans. I wonder if you're open to feedback or ideas." Reality check. Hanks suggests saying, "I believe you're capable, but you still need to eat and have a place to live while you're making your dreams come true. What are your plans for that?" You may discover that Curtis is expecting you to serve as a backup checking account or lodging. If he hasn't thought through practical matters, offer to help brainstorm strategies, such as keeping his current job part-time or waiting until he's saved up money to cover a few months' expenses. You don't need to tell him to shrink his dreams, but emphasize he is more likely to succeed if he breaks it down into smaller, specific steps. THE DILEM M A Your twenty-three-year-old son, Curtis, attended community college for a few years and received his associate's degree but couldn't decide on a major or career that interested him. Your family values education, and you hoped he would transfer to a state college, but he decided to take a break from school. He spent a few months traveling, then got a job at a local grocery store where a friend of his worked. He's worked there contentedly for the past year or so. This summer, his friend invited him to help make a web video series. Curtis gushed to you about how much he enjoyed working on it—plus he's thrilled that the series gained a significant amount of views and subscribers. Curtis and his friend just started a crowdfunding campaign to create a second series. Now he'd like to quit his job to devote more time to producing videos and seeking out sponsors, and he hopes to translate his online success into a sweet Hollywood screenwriting deal. You don't want to crush Curtis's dreams, but you're concerned that his expectations are unrealistic. CASE STUDY 1: MAKING for ROOM MISTAKES 20 MARRIOTT

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