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By David Harder on November, 3, 2015

Career Development for Twelve Year Olds

For three hundred years, our educational system was designed to prepare new workers for the industrial revolution and for jobs. Except for a few exceptionally aware souls, generations of parents told their children to seek predictability and survival over fulfillment and joy. Most parents didn’t tell their kids to be unhappy. They wanted them to be safe.

The need for safety almost always trumped fulfillment.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In the last twenty-five years, we have taken thousands of people through our Inspired Work Programs. I cannot count the number of people that have come to us for what turns out to be an intervention with the past. The very beliefs instilled on them earlier is choking off fulfillment today and in many cases, remaining fresh and competitive.

Of course, any topic regarding livelihood is frightening and parents want their children to survive. But, there needs to be a complete overhaul in how we are preparing young people for the workplace. Years ago, I interviewed Jack Canfield for my first book and asked him how he prepared his two grown sons for successful careers.

He told me,

“I never told them what to do. I told them to pick something they loved and to get the right education to be successful. I never pushed them to follow in my footsteps, which is a big mistake for many parents. Instead, I focused all of my energy in instilling the awareness they could deal with anything life dished out to them.”

On Friday, a colleague from USC told me of a leadership program for girls. She’s excited about it because it brings leadership to the very beginning of their development. I reacted with my growing conviction of bringing career development to young people.

She brightened and asked, “At what age?”


“That is the beginning age for this leadership program.”

In childhood development, twelve is a critical age. This is the magic time when a child either learns self-trust or dis-trust. This is also the time when we ought to be making the investment in career development – 12 to 18 years gold.

Higher education is at a turning point. The waves of change that impact all of us are hitting every campus in this country. The media loves to blame schools for all the young people that make enormous investments, return home with a degree and are unable to secure employment. If they are just going through the motions, of course that is the outcome! Higher education needs to reinvent but none of that will be successful unless we thoroughly change the way we are raising and developing our children to become healthy and successful adults.

It is no longer a good use of our time to tell our children to make costly investments before determining what they want to do with their lives.

It is no longer effective to tell children to do what we did because the world where that marginally worked no longer exists.

The biggest dysfunction taking place here is parents insisting on higher education before that young person defines what he or she wants to do with life.  Additionally, fostering the notion that children are unable to make up their minds about their lives or even discuss what they want never worked that well at all.

My life changed this weekend. I made a commitment to educate families to raise children that trust their ambitions, that find what they love and develop the life and technical skills to make a good living at that.

I want to see young people coming to school because they are passionate about the course of study.

I want to see students able to articulate why they have selected their path.

In the years ahead, there are vast opportunities opening up for those of us who learn how to learn and learn how to unlearn. That is the role of higher education.

Our role as parents is to provide environments that produce confidence, self-awareness, appreciation for others and enthusiasm for the precious lives ahead of us.

Events for You, Your friends and Family:

The Inspired Work Program 

November 14 & 15 or December 5 & 6

Work, for most of us, is the biggest relationship that we have.

The Inspired Work Program has led over 42,000 into great relationships with their work. In fact, this is the most advanced group program for those of us who work.

Our method is a Socratic process linked to a science-based model that is all about defining the best possible relationship you can have with your work. During this immersive experience, you will define all that you want to accomplish with such clarity that your outcome is immediate, actionable and unique.

Your experience of positive change is initiated by our curriculum. More tellingly, you leave with a skill set that helps you continue to initiate valuable growth rather than being swallowed by the waves of change.

Life is short. Our relationship towards work plays a significant factor of whether or not we are leading fulfilling and effective lives.

We hope you join us. Let’s usher in a truly New Year – together!

For more information, click here.

To enroll, call (310) 277-4850