The millennial debate has been a hot topic for years — a debate concerning mostly the culture and work ethic of those that fall within that generation. The vast majority of opinions surrounding the millennial generation is negative and presumably annoyed. I want to dive into this debate a bit within this article, but more specifically I want to share my take on it from a millennial woman’s perspective.
Who are Millennials (Generation Y)?
Interestingly enough, there are no precise dates for the millennial generation (or any generation for that matter.) But generally, those who have a birth date between 1982 and 2000 are considered part of the millennial generation. So by age, anyone who is between roughly 17 and 35 years old fits within this timeframe. I personally find this amusing, as I feel like a lot of folks who speak negatively about millennials don’t realize they themselves are considered millennials by definition.
Anyhow, the generation was coined "millennials" due to most of us reaching adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. We grew up in a technology-driven world that has developed leaps and bounds over time with us. We are the generation that taught our parents how to use a computer when we were 10 years old. However, we are also the generation of participation trophies and potentially unrealistic expectations of success. The general consensus around millennials is that we are selfish, entitled, and arrogant. But is that really true? Especially for the women? In my opinion (granted I suppose I am biased), it’s quite the opposite.
This past weekend we held a private team Underground Strength Session at the S4 Compound. The weekend felt really nostalgic since it might actually be the last team UGSS at the S4. If you don’t know, we are currently building new offices and training space from the ground up at another location. It is very exciting news but also bittersweet, at least for me. For myself and many other millennial team members, the S4 is the only thing we know and has become a second home to “our people.” We are anxious to see elitefts grow and develop, but the grassroots compound where we started will always have a place with us.
Back to the point: The UGSS weekend reminded me just how strong (inside and out) the women of elitefts truly are. We are so much more than just athletes. We are coaches, competitors, entrepreneurs, mothers, daughters, friends, leaders, role models, empowerers, and, for the most part, millennials. At least, the majority of us are. So this really got me thinking. If millennials are supposed to be these frail “snowflakes,” why don't I see it here? The only thing I see is my fellow sisters in strength crushing PRs, engaging in positive conversation, supporting each other’s businesses and career goals, and lifting each other up. I don’t know about you, but these traits don’t exactly scream selfish, entitled, or arrogant to me. What I saw at the UGSS and what I see with them every day is selflessness, humility, and flat out hard work. I don’t hear gossip or experience “girl drama.” I hear words of affirmation and experience a bond between women that I don’t have anywhere else in this world.
So why is this? Why are we, as millennial women and as athletes, not fitting the mold?
My answer: The weights are teaching us something. We have no choice but to be Strong(her).
Strength in many facets of life does not come easy for us. Us, as in women. Hell, we don’t even have the biological advantage. Developing strength of any kind for us is hard and takes a lot of work. You might think, "Of course, isn’t it hard for anyone in strength sports?" Yes, but it’s not the same. We literally must bust our asses to build even an ounce of muscle, to gain a pound on our max, or to get ahead in virtually any career field. With literally everything against you, you have no choice but to work as hard as humanly possible.
We don’t have the luxury to be lazy and complacent. We literally can’t afford to not give it everything we have. If we do, we will get demolished. We have to go through life at full force, every single day, day in and day out. Not doing so means immediate failure. We don’t have a choice! It is either bust your ass every day or flat out fail. We can’t ride on good genetics or birthright. Every day we are forced to prove ourselves because we aren’t entitled to anything. Nothing is already ours. Nothing is assumed. We have to earn it every day and prove it. We have to be undeniably greater than, just to be taken seriously. We have to be undeniably greater than, just to be considered equal to. And this is not the gripe of a young millennial woman; this is simply a fact of this world. The weights provide us with a viable lesson every training day. Either we put in the work or we get our asses handed to us. And this lesson applies to every aspect of our lives. We take this lesson into our conversations and our mindset, allowing it to filter into our careers and goals. We don’t want to do “well” — we want to win.
So when I experience weekends like the UGSS where I am surrounded by some of the most empowering and passionate women I know, I can’t help but to take a step back and realize how lucky I am. I am lucky to be a millennial woman. I am lucky to be able to look around me on a daily basis and see my sisters in strength accomplishing great things — things that weren’t even considered possible as early as 20 years ago. We are doing it, and there’s no reason why you can’t as well.
In short, before you bash the millennial generation, maybe take a minute to give some thought as to what you are really up in arms about. Because quite frankly, when it comes to the millennial women I know, you can shove that “millennial snowflake” bullshit up your ass. We’ll take it from here.