Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family

201 Confidence Series: Success for Teens & Young Adults w/ Andrew Harrison

September 25, 2023 Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM Season 4 Episode 201
Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family
201 Confidence Series: Success for Teens & Young Adults w/ Andrew Harrison
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I wish every parent plus children that are middle school or older would listen to this episode. It will nourish your soul first and then will give you practical action steps based on sound life principles. It will wrap up by challenging your spirit. There's lots of wisdom steps here, whether you need spiritual grounding, interview skills, time management help, or to be winning at life, this episode will not disappoint. 
Confidence is essential for all of us on the road to life success. Perhaps confidence comes from an unexpected place! Join me, Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM, and one of my grown sons, Andrew, as we talk about many aspects of success and the purpose of our striving. We touch on 
*How to grow in wisdom
*Time Management Skills
*Interview Skills
*Networking Skills
*Study Skills
*Teacher and professor interaction skills
*College scholarship or admissions interview skills
*How to develop lasting confidence


Brace yourself for an enlightening conversation with Andrew Harrison and Val Harrison. Together, we uncover essential communication skills that can help teens and young adults (and really everyone) forge stronger relationships and interact effectively even in stressful settings. Andrew shares his wisdom on setting healthy boundaries daily and weekly, revealing how communing with God positively impacts all life facets. He also opens up about securing his internship, offering invaluable advice on study and interview techniques.

In the second part of our dialogue, we enlighten you on preparing for interviews, placing a spotlight on understanding the values of the college or company you're keen on. Discover the benefits of researching your interviewer, their background, and leadership style. We close with a powerful exploration of recognizing your identity in Christ.  While success in life is important, we remind you that cultivating a relationship with God and serving His purpose holds the ultimate fulfillment. Dive into this enlightening discussion and find out how to instill confidence in your kids/teens to help them grow toward success habits.

Want more from the Confident Kids & Teens series? Listen to episode 175 featuring Abby Harrison.

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"May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Roc...

Val Harrison:

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY AND HAS NOT BEEN EDITED. Hello, my intentional mom friends. I'm Val Harrison and you're listening to the Practically Speaking Mom podcast. This is your place for an intentional mom to build a strong family. And how are we doing that? Today we are doing that with the theme Confident Kids and Confident Teens. You already may know that my degree is in communications, but what I haven't talked about much in the first four years of this podcast is that I have spent over 20 years teaching homeschool co-op classes on the subject of speech and communication skills. Well, it's time for me to bring that information to the Practically Speaking Mom podcast. So I'm going to be sharing tools for helping your kids develop communication skills which they can use to build stronger relationships and to help them interact more effectively in all kinds of situations and in all kinds of settings with all types of people. So let's get started and building more confident kids right now. I'm so happy to have our son Andrew in the studio with us. He's home from college today on a short break. Welcome to the podcast, thank you.

Val Harrison:

Today's subject is Confident Kids Confident Teens. It is a theme that we're one of the five main themes that we have for this year and we will focus on that today from a standpoint of some study skills, some interview skills. You recently got accepted into a really great internship. You get to intern with a project manager, an engineering project manager, and such a huge answer to prayer like greater than we could have ever asked for. So we want to share some of the things that you did that may help them For just a second though. This morning we went to church together and the pastor was talking about margin, about the importance of beginning our day with God, beginning our week with God, really making sure that we are living out of the feeling that we got from rest with him. So you are really good at that. Can you give a word of advice to teens about that?

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah, absolutely so. As I've gained perspective on this, I've really come to understand that this really is the wisest way to live. It affects every part of you, really, of your not just external life, but affects your emotions. It affects your outlook on everything, and so both for mental, emotional, even physical and productivity health. I can't do anything good if I don't have that time Like anything of eternal value. It literally is impossible for me to do that if I'm not in the vine. Because that's what Jesus says in John 15, remain in me and I'll remain in you. Apart from me, you can't do nothing. That's what he says.

Andrew Harrison:

He says more about that in the passage, but that's the key concept is, if you want your life to have good fruit being produced, anything of eternal purpose, any godliness, you have to be remaining in the vine, because otherwise you're like you go outside and cut off a branch and expect it to grow you fruit. It just is completely not just illogical, but it's simply it doesn't work. It does not work. You know, if we really analyze our hearts and if we analyze our emotions, we need connection, we need to be seen, we need to be known, and in that place where I am communing with the Lord I feel the most known, I feel the most seen, I feel the most like I am not alone on this earth. If I feel distance in my relationship with the Lord, I will feel lonely.

Val Harrison:

Yeah. You're right, you're going to be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah, and it's not just surrounded by people, but even if it's people I know, even if it's you and dad, even if it's my family, who knows me better than anybody else and loves me more than anyone else, I will feel lonely if I feel that breach in the relationship with the Lord. There's another aspect of the most joy I ever feel is in his presence. The most peace and satisfaction and fulfillment of my soul is in his presence. I tell people sometimes that that you can recognize if you analyze it. You can recognize that your soul is constantly searching for satisfaction, for lack of a better term for fulfillment. Your soul is constantly looking for that. It is searching all day long.

Andrew Harrison:

And when I get into the presence of the Lord, where I am seeking him, and he meets me there, my soul stops searching, it is at rest, literally. It's wonderful because in that place my soul, it just has found what it's looking for, and not just in a selfish way. We were made for that. The Lord says in his word that all things were created by him and for him. That includes us. We were created for him. When my soul is communing with the one who I was created for, there is utter rest.

Val Harrison:

And then from another angle of that, now you are ready to be used by him.

Val Harrison:

I've thought several times since you found out Friday this is Sunday you found out Friday that you got this position and it's very lucrative.

Val Harrison:

It's good money, yeah, and I've thought several times just in this last day and a half that one reason why I think God would have blessed you in this way is because he knows you will use all of it to his glory. Now that doesn't mean that you won't use anything for your needs and even your wants, but you hold it all ready at any moment to say, absolutely, god here, yes, take it all for something that has nothing to do with me. So I do think that is a great place to start in a conversation like this, where we're going to be telling kids this is how to study effectively and get good grades, that get you extra scholarships, and this is how to interview well to get a good job. It all really, at the core, it has to come first from a place of I am fully devoted to God and living life with him and not for myself. So let's jump into some skills for them to get today. Yes, so you want to share some study skills with them?

Andrew Harrison:

Absolutely so. The biggest thing you've probably heard this plenty of other times is a schedule and a to-do list are the biggest things for me. What that does is, as I write down everything that I would need to do, including the things that aren't necessarily critical but that still would be great if I were able to get those done. Write down everything there. Consider what is due first so you know this can be applied to more than just school but consider the due dates of everything when things need to be done by, as well as the importance of everything. What's going to for an academic sense, what's going to affect your grade and understanding of the course the most. Then you prioritize the different tasks in a schedule. Now, with the schedule, what I do is I lot each item a certain amount of time and then I group all of those.

Val Harrison:

As in you say, okay, this is going to take about 15 minutes.

Andrew Harrison:

Well, yes, so so what I really do is I plan out my day every, really every hour. It's mainly 30 minute intervals 30 minutes and then a five minute mind break. 30 minutes and then a five minute mind break. So in those 30 minute intervals I'm saying I'm working on this math class or this homework for this math class, and it may take me three 30 minute intervals, but that's so. That's how I organize.

Andrew Harrison:

My day is in those 30 minute intervals and along with that, I partly set goals as well, so that I have focus, for I need to get this done in an hour. You know, it may take me an hour and 15, realistically, or in my mind, it may take me, you know, an hour and a half. I don't want to be too unrealistic with my time goals. What that does the benefits to doing this for me that I experience is I don't have the time or I don't spend the time considering okay, what should I do now? I've already had that planned out, I already have priorities planned out, I already know what is the most important thing to do, and having a plan, spending 10 minutes to do this, saves you the accumulation of okay, what should I do now?

Andrew Harrison:

Okay, get that done. What should I do now? As well as combine that with you. Have a time window for each task, then I stay much more focused. If I understand, okay, I really need to get this done in an hour. That's my goal, because I've got a next task coming in. You know in an hour or two that I've scheduled down so it keeps me much more focused, so that I'm not just getting distracted. My mind is is wandering.

Val Harrison:

This is something, a practice, we started with you several years ago, you know, probably early high school, and certainly it did require me working with you on it. So moms that are listening to this, you have to teach them how to do this, but it's been life-changing for you because you tended to do things more slowly, because you tend to be a perfectionist. I would also add to that that you don't just make everything about tasks in your life. You are really good about staying connected with like. You just do quick phone calls to family. You know you, you keep relationships a priority as well, and I love that, and you being disciplined with your time is a big key in being able to do that. But also being disciplined in seeing the value of keeping relationships, nurturing those relationships, giving even just a quick phone call, a text to check on someone, does keep a relationship at a good place. Yeah, absolutely.

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah.

Val Harrison:

Which also you know. Let's shift that for a minute to relationships with professors and how you interact with professors, and why don't you address that, say, say something to the students or the teens that might be listening about. What are your thoughts about how you interact with your professors?

Andrew Harrison:

Good question. So I approach interaction with my professors in light of this. College, in my mind, is a great time of networking, and especially networking with people that are already experienced and established in the field that you're wanting to go into, and so professor connections can really be helpful, in my mind, in the future. I'm still in college, so I don't know my future, but in my mind, keeping in good relations with professors can be very helpful for recommendations, for even getting their wisdom, you know. But but just keeping in favor in general, it's something I want to do with everybody and it's something I seek to do in all of my relationships. So how I approach professors, I always seek to be respectful to them, partly because they deserve my respect, but also for the purpose of keeping in good graces with them, keeping you in favor for future connections, for current advice in addition to that you know they're.

Val Harrison:

they are key people who it's very likely that job opportunities are going to be told to them, and so they're going to think of the students in their life who have been proactive and who have been caring about the details coming across professionally and humbly and confidently.

Andrew Harrison:

Yes, all those things are key professionalism, respect, humility, confidence.

Val Harrison:

Yes, those are good things to point out, aware of your deadlines, meeting the criteria or exceeding it. You know all of those things, and so that's just kind of how life is that everybody you interact with, you're building a resume with them and it is impacting the opportunities that you get. Absolutely, you've gotten many opportunities at school that would be based on how you have interacted with those professors. Yeah, okay, let's talk about interview skills. What do you feel like were some things that really helped you to get this really exceptional engineering internship?

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah, absolutely Well, aside from experience, because gaining experience is very it just takes time. It takes, you know, a long time of intentionality to gain experience that you would want to gain. So that is helpful. But what is also helpful because what I've heard from a lot of employers is they are looking for a culture. Will you fit in with the culture here, and not just personality wise per se?

Andrew Harrison:

That's important, not just interest like personal interest wise, although they would probably care about that, but largely values your view on working, your view on team playing, those types of things. They're looking for your view how you, how you act on a team, how you approach decisions, and will it fit in with with their company. So that's that's one thing that I believe, especially in this internship, which is very with a very successful large international company. They a lot of the questions they asked were not so much about my experience. They were trying to get to know how I think, and I talked with another employee of this company who I know personally, and they were thinking that some of the questions they asked were definitely trying to see if I fit in with the culture of the company.

Val Harrison:

So with the values thing, I would say the same thing got you into the college that you're in because it has a really low acceptance rate and one thing that we did to prepare you for that interview was to know the values of the college. So what are the values of the college and also what are the values of the business that you got accepted into?

Andrew Harrison:

Good question. So the values of the college? They have five key pillars academic, patriotic culture, christian, vocational.

Val Harrison:

So in preparation for that interview you created some answers, you know, to possible questions based on those pillars. But you know how is. How has your volunteerism been aligned with those things? How have the stories of your life aligned with those things? And then, likewise, I'm sure you prepped in the same way for your internship interview. So what values did that? I know you did a lot of research on your company ahead of time and I'll talk about that. What values did it say that, that company?

Andrew Harrison:

has. Yes, so the values of the company that I'm interning with. The main thing that stood out to me when researching them was their leadership style. Their outlook on employees in general is awesome, so what they really value is helping their employees see that they have potential, they have something to contribute to the company and to the world, and helping them believe that that can be developed.

Val Harrison:

So I hear in that that means contributing, means thinking beyond yourself. I don't go to work every day just because I'm getting a paycheck. I go to work every day contributing to the growth of the company, contributing to the people around me.

Andrew Harrison:

Yes, yeah, so one of their models is mutual benefit. I don't know if it's a real model, but they use that phrasing a lot is mutual benefit, where the company benefits the employee and then employee benefits the company and the purposes of the company to benefit society, to benefit the world. So that type of leadership I love because it focuses on the employee and the employee's development. It focuses on their ability to contribute. It's a very humble leadership style where they really value and take care of the employee. They see the employee as one of the goals of the company, as we are here to develop potential people.

Val Harrison:

Okay, so let's talk about how did you research and prepare for the interview.

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah. So one thing about interviews is it's really helpful to come prepared, both on who is interviewing you. So one thing I did was I was given the name of who was interviewing me prior to the interview and I went on LinkedIn, found them and understood their basic work story, if that makes sense. So where they went to college, what was their first job, what was their job transition, so to speak, and just some about their skills, some about their background, because that, for me, provided questions to them and what I believe that that does as well is it shows you are proactive and you care about people in general.

Andrew Harrison:

I asked questions about my interviewer, about her, so I saw one of her strengths on LinkedIn. That was about youth mentorship, and so I was curious about that and it wasn't very meaningful as far as the internship went, but I was partly curious. But also, you know it's a conversation. One thing that I've heard a lot from professors is you want to keep the interviewer there as long as possible and also you want it to keep like a natural conversation. They want to get to know you.

Val Harrison:

Copper wants to be in a conversation too, but let's just keep going.

Andrew Harrison:

Okay. So that really helps with being prepared for small talk. In general, I research the interviewer. I also research the company and I research the company a lot. Now, this company, I research the parent company. I also researched the specific child company, you could say, so that I could really understand what is their culture, what are their values, what would they be looking for in an employee? Because that's helpful to know, first of all, but also, again, it shows the company that you are proactive and also it shows them you really want this job or internship. So that was also very helpful for gaining genuine desire to work there, because, as I learned about this company and researched, I love their values, I love the way they do leadership, I love their teamwork style, and so that made me want to work there. More Researching the CEO made me really value his outlook on life. Researching honestly made me want to get the internship even more. So there's that.

Val Harrison:

But then also, again, it gives you questions to ask and it shows them that, yeah, you're excited and that you're proactive, right, and I think something that I would say to all of this is these are not things that you can just turn off and on when you go to an interview. You can't suddenly become caring and humble and confident, proactive and attentive to the person that's interviewing you. You can't just suddenly be that because you know those are skills that you should have in an interview. You become that and in the interview it is obvious who you are and so, yeah, there's there's focusing on it at that time and these are goals that the teenagers can set. But they cannot think, okay, I'll do that down the road. When that happens, no, I become this today. I work on this today.

Andrew Harrison:

Can you address that? Yes, so you can try to fake things, but oftentimes I'd say it's pretty clear when you're trying to fake humility or fake respect or fake proactivity, because oftentimes you'll have to tell stories about when you've been proactive anyways, or you have to tell stories about times you've made a mistake and had to recover or completed a goal that you set for yourself. You know just. These are common interview question examples.

Val Harrison:

Well, let's wrap up today with the issues of confidence. How do you grow confidence in yourself? How do you display confidence? Because that is so key to them, wanting you to be a part of their team. You must represent yourself confidently. They don't want to have to baby somebody along. They don't want to have to coax someone into doing what needs to be done. They want to see that you know your shoulder's back, chin up, aimed at the target, ready to go managing yourself. How did you grow confidence? Because you naturally did not come across as a confident person in your you know, we'll say middle school years and young teen years, and so that had to grow in you.

Val Harrison:

What are some ways that you grew that confidence? I teach a class, sometimes called Practically Speaking, and it's for teenagers, so you, of course, went through that course. What are some things that have made a difference in building your confidence and displaying confidence?

Andrew Harrison:

Yeah, good questions. So largely they have been tied to emotional aspects of my life, I suppose, so spiritual things and my own mental and emotional health. As those things have increased, then my confidence has really increased and that really has been the biggest factor. I suppose that's maybe the less practical, so to speak, side, but it really has been the biggest factor to growing my confidence is understanding who I am in the Lord, understanding that I'm loved. That was a big one because you know we all don't feel loved all the time by the Lord.

Andrew Harrison:

But if you understand that you are, then even when you don't feel like it, you know that you are you know and that's one thing that I put way too much weight in my feelings and when I didn't feel then I didn't believe that was very unhealthy. And so now there's so much less time of not feeling because I already believe. You know, I already believe I'm not questioning whether he loves me or not. So that has been a big example. There's been many other things where he's grown my joy. He's grown my confidence really in understanding his promises, understanding who I am in the Lord, that I am, not my struggles, that is not how I'm identified, right? I was telling somebody the other day that whenever you are struggling with pride, with selfishness, with short temperness, with anger or something like that, and you then try to go and pray and seek the Lord we know how it is you can feel, you feel guilt, you feel like this I feel like a fraud trying to seek the Lord when I'm impatient and I'm proud and I'm selfish and all I care about is me. You've got to realize that is not who you are, right, and that is.

Andrew Harrison:

That's not just talk, it is the word. The word says in Galatians I've been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live yet. Not I, but Christ lives in me. That's what the word says. That's who you are in the word right. So, yes, your physical body is alive, but who? Who is really alive in you? If you are a believer, it is Christ, right. That's right in any. Now you know we have been crucified with Christ. That is reality, that is the truth, and so I remember that in the times when I think about the things that I wish I didn't struggle with pride, selfishness, those are ones, I think, that come to mind for me. But I also remember that my identity is Christ right, and we don't deserve that. Like that may sound arrogant, it's not. It just shows the graciousness of our God to love us in such a way to give us these things that we so don't deserve. That's an understatement that we don't deserve, and it's an understatement to say that he is far too holy to give us himself as our identity. Can you imagine?

Andrew Harrison:

Our identity is him and in that there is confidence. So even in struggles it's not me right Christ isn't struggling. Christ is holy, he is unblemished. And we have this fight. The flesh and the spirit are in a battle. That's what the word says. The flesh and the spirit are battling, but we've got to remember that our identity is with the Lord. If you take on the identity of your struggles, if you take on the identity of that darkness that you're trying to get rid of, that's going to be a lot harder to get out. But remembering that my identity is Christ is alive. When I have this temptation to be selfish and proud and whatever situation I remember that isn't so not who I am. That Christ is not proud, christ is not selfish, christ has genuine love for those around him. And then, as I declare that, as I remember that and believe that that is truly who I am, christ comes out. The word says put on Christ. You're putting him on like a garment. You already are Christ. Put him on. So that's one thing to grow that has grown.

Andrew Harrison:

My confidence is remembering who I am and the Lord, and really all of this we can call it success. Talk, it's awesome because the Lord wants us blessed, but we are on this earth for him. We really are, and all of these things are blessings, and they're doing things in wise ways, because the wisdom is of God as well. Wisdom is godliness, he says. Walk as wise and not as unwise. That's what the word says. And so, yes, walk in wisdom, walk in his ways.

Andrew Harrison:

Be wise financially, be wise with your time, be wise academically, honor God in every aspect of your life, but also remember that we're not on this earth for a job. We are not on this earth to make money and to be successful. Those things aren't bad but we are on this earth for him. We are on this earth for a relationship with God Almighty, and we are on this earth to do his work, and these things are tools for his kingdom. These things can be used for him. My passion in life is not to get a great engineering job in designing cards which I love, cards. My passion really is oh God, I love you so much. You have given so much to me. I want my life, every aspect of my life, to be for you.

Rich Harrison:

What do you?

Andrew Harrison:

want me to do during college for your kingdom what?

Rich Harrison:

do you?

Andrew Harrison:

want me to do after college for your kingdom, because that's why I'm on this earth. I'm on this earth for you, for your kingdom. If you want me to go and do mission work and not have this engineering job that I've been studying for years for that doesn't bother me. It literally does not bother me one bit. That's why I'm here. I'm putting my hands together. That's how he wants us. He wants him and us joined Him and us joined in every aspect our hearts, our spirits. He says unite yourself with the Lord and you will be one with him in spirit. That's what he wants. So, joining him in work, joining him in heart, joining him in spirit, that's what I pursue.

Val Harrison:

I feel like these teenagers and moms that might be listening. I want to give them some daily thing that can help them live this way, and so I just want to tell them something that you did during high school was you listened to Chip Ingram all the time, and he is just so full of wisdom, and then you wrote out index cards of Bible verses, and you just have this stack of scripture verses and you were memorizing them. When you had a couple minutes waiting in the waiting room at the doctor's office, or when you're sitting in the car waiting for somebody, you're just throughout your day, you kept them handy so that you could internalize God's wisdom, and so there's two actions that teenagers could take that are listening today is find a source of wisdom, such as Chip Ingram or another one, make sure that you're filling your mind with truth and applying it to your life, and then learn the word of God, and this is what strengthens you.

Andrew Harrison:

Yes, yes, I want to. You saying that reminded me of a passage in Proverbs, actually about wisdom, so I'd like to read a few verses regarding that. This is Proverbs 2, my son, if you receive my words and treasure out my commandments, with you making your ear attentive to wisdom and declining your heart to understanding, yes, if you call out for insight, raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom in the beginning of verse six. From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Val Harrison:

Thanks for joining us and inspiring all of us. Glad to be here.

Rich Harrison:

Thank you for joining the Practically Speaking Mom and our son, andrew, for their conversation about steps for growing confidence in your teen. Val wanted you to know that this content was recorded in the spring, so Andrew has already completed the internship that they mentioned and is now back to school for his senior year. Next week, val will continue this Confident Kids, confident Teens series when she sits down with our youngest daughter, emma, to talk about growing confidence in younger children. If you or your teen would like to learn more about mindsets, habits and disciplines for growing confidence and communication skills, check out Val's book Gaining Momentum Preparing your Student for the Pursuit of a Career, with or Without College. It unpacks this concept in greater depth and also has practical guidance for navigating parental relationships with grown children.

Rich Harrison:

You can find this and all of Val's other resources at her website, practicallyspeakingmomcom. I do have to say, though, that at the time of this recording September 2023, she is currently sold out of this particular book until she restocks, but it is also available at Amazoncom. You can follow Val on her Facebook and Instagram pages at PracticallySpeakingMom, and she would love to connect with you in her private Facebook group, intentional Mom Strong Family. Val truly finds it a blessing to bring you this podcast each week and she prays that it encourages you and strengthens your family. And she'll see you here again next week on the PracticallySpeakingMom podcast the place for intentional moms to build strong families.

Building Confident Kids and Teens
College Values & Interview Preparation
The Power of Identity in Christ