Failure to Launch Part III

Categories: Counseling

Counseling Office

Failure to Launch Part III of III

This blog will look at why we should take action on Failure to Launch and how to make the most from coaching and counseling.

Part I Review

Part I briefly looked at how each age has its own spirit.  This idea helps us understand the context in which we are all living and leads to the following conclusion.  The system isn’t working for a portion of young people and their families.  42 million millennials have stalled out.  They are stuck in a loop between adolescence and independent adulthood.  They are at risk for earning less over their lifetime, draining their parents resources, missing out on the benefits of long term relationships, addiction, anxiety, and depression.  Let’s be clear, a man wants to be more than a pizza delivery boy.

Part II Review

Part II briefly considered how we begin to solve the issues associated with failure to launch syndrome.  Life is a series of challenges, obstacles, or problems to be solved and simultaneously enjoyed.  A key process of successful human functioning involves the ability to see a preferred future, make adjustments to one’s inner and outer world, and over time bring that future to reality.  Safety precautions have gone so far as to limit the enjoyment of being challenged, taking risks, and learning from failure.  This leaves a host of tasks for the emerging adult with which to wrestle.
Emerging Adults Fuel

Tasks of Emerging Adulthood

  • Ponder personal identity
  • Rule out and rule in choices consistent with personal identity
  • Choose a vision, purpose, and cause
  • Chart a course to that vision, purpose, and cause
  • Resolve how to succeed in the world
  • Take action and develop habits daily
  • Resolve feeling In-Between
  • Become an independent adult
  • Self Efficacy

Why Take Action

Up to this point I have assumed that one would naturally progress through developmental stages.  However, when considering a failure to launch scenario we must accept that an alternative path is in play.  It becomes necessary at this point to highlight why action should be taken to promote successful launch into adulthood.
Why Take Action Against Failure to Launch (FTL)
  • FTL debilitating
  • It feels bad
  • It costs a lot of money ($17k annually)
  • It costs parents retirement
  • It costs young adults confidence, competence, and motivation
  • It costs you what could have been
  • It erodes relationships between parents and their children
  • It has long term psychological effects
  • It shapes life strategy
  • It shapes education, career, and middle adulthood
  • Taking action provides a sense of control, purpose, and confidence
  • Taking action minimizes costs and creates growth potential
  • Taking action increases lifetime earning potential
  • Taking action increases self respect
  • Taking action improves relationships
  • Taking action is empowering
  • Taking action gets parents off your back
  • Taking action develops personal strength and character
It takes a perfect storm for a man to stop his own development and remain a boy.  In this final section we will look at how emerging adults can help themselves and make the most of coaching opportunities.  You can’t build a tall building, launch a rocket, or create the strongest version of yourself if you don’t have a solid base.  When a launch pad is engineered a large hole is dug and reinforced concrete is put in place.  This platform serves as a base upon which everything else stands.  It is where the rocket will be launched.  Emerging adults who have stalled out have holes in their base.  Several tasks occur for young adults, like a multistage rocket they mark off the journey into their own space.

Multistage Milestones of Emerging Adulthood

  • Cognitive capacity, strategies, and organization shift
  • Become less sensitive to fear and stress
  • Increased control over emotional reactions and reframing of events
  • Identify, select, and prioritize personal life goals from friendships, academics, conduct and eventually occupational, and romantic goals
  • Reasoning, problem-solving are more fully develop
  • Competence in planning and the necessary thinking and behavior to achieve it
  • Increasing confidence based on factual accomplishments, skills, and practice
  • Move toward commitments to life partners and children
  • Refusing financial and residential support from parents
  • Attainment of wisdom related knowledge and judgement
As these stages pass separation occurs toward adulthood, responsibility, independence and making a contribution.  For those who lack motivation, have an avoidant problem solving style, a history of legal issues, mental or emotional challenges and a track record of failing to meet other developmental milestones they need a counselor/coach.  One cannot go from zero to CEO simply because.  One can’t go from depressed to motivated just because.  More time does not solve these problems.  If nothing changes then nothing changes. It takes torque and horsepower to get going.  If a lack of momentum exists, if too many false starts have taken place, if the list of disappointments and fear are preventing the natural process of development then its time for a counselor/coach.  One tough truth to accept is that if you’re not doing “it” now you probably never will.
A coach/counselor:
  • Helps focus on future
  • Reframes failure
  • Elicits goals, vision, purpose, cause
  • Reinforces Work ethic
  • Draws out motivation
  • Challenges status quo
  • Teaches problem solving skills
  • Introduces life hacks for ADHD in the real world
  • Explores academic & career aptitude and coaching
  • Coaches personal leadership
  • Teaches basic living skills
  • Establishes a crisis plan and tx strategy
  • Emphasizes Executive Functions like time management, planning, work related attention strategies, emotional regulation strategies
  • Coping with trauma and problems with daily life
  • Deals effectively with fixed mindsets, catastrophizing, and helplessness
  • Helps families to set boundaries, clarify expectations, improve communication
  • Works to create space, reinforce effort, struggle, and commitment
  • Deals with issues related to drugs, alcohol, porn, or gaming addiction
Parents spend money to hire professional coaches all the time.  Many parents start hiring coaches for their 9 or 10 year old so they can learn ball handling skills.  This kind of sport specific coach can evaluate, tweak, and train proficiency rather quickly. Fees for services vary from $350/month for a weekly classes, to an hourly fee between $70-120/hour for private training session.
Failure to launch is not a sport specific problem.  It takes significant investment to strengthen the base and prepare for launch.  Counseling and coaching can accelerate skill development.  As a counselor and coach for my clients I seek to develop the fundamentals of a work ethic in which they approach love and life with greater wisdom.  This includes developing a vision, identifying internal motivation, establishing a success habit, and self awareness.  I don’t do this in an assembly line fashion.  It takes time, trust, and connection.  Through the course of coaching/counseling unique and personal insights present themselves as opportunities for change.  This is an intense mentoring experience.

How to Maximize Coaching

  1. Choose the right coach for you
  2. Be coachable
  3. Commit fully

Choose the Right Coach

Find out what coaching style fits best.  Everyone learns differently and coaches tend to have their own approach to teaching.  Meet with a coach and see if you are compatible.  See if you are interested in learning from them.

Be Coachable

Be coachable.  Every coach says they want this as the number 1 quality of any student, athlete, or learner.  Coaches like learners who are flexible, pliable, able to be shaped.  For emerging adults with failure to launch issues this is an unrealistic expectation.  Failure to launch issues have hijacked a young adults natural development and they are stuck.  Expecting more doesn’t unstick them.  In this debilitated state one must make an effort at being receptive to coaching.  You are hiring a coach to give you something it is in your best interest to accept it.

Commit Fully

I see this a lot.  A half hearted commitment.  When you get into a swimming pool do you jump in or slowly walk in?  At the beginner it doesn’t matter, if you are committed to going all in. Commitment may be limited by fear, mistrust, betrayal or a host of other things.  Commit to the end.  Decide if you want to see the end result of 100% commitment.  Commitment is like the fuel line, if its too small it doesn’t matter how big the fuel tank, fuel pump, or the engine is.  A small commitment limits how much fuel can power the rocket.
In order to maximize coaching you have to commit big.  No one can tell you the end result because it has to do with maximizing your potential.  Your potential grows as you do.  Do you want to see the end result manifest in your life?  Choose a coach that is right for you, be coachable, and commit fully.
If your adult child needs coaching or counseling please call and set up an initial meet and greet for free.  After this you will know if we are compatible, if you are coachable, and if it is time for a full commitment.  Leadershop Ministries provides counseling and coaching to help you win the fight of your life.  Visit or call Todd Davis at (865)384-4864 for more information.
Author: Todd Davis, PhD, MFT, LADC

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.