Prepare a Future Workbook

Finally, the Prepare a Future Workbook is available on Amazon.

Who’s it for?

Growing numbers of intelligent young adults are caught in a malaise of indecision and anxiety about their futures. This workbook is ideal for those in their early to late twenties who feel stuck or frustrated in their current situation and want a change. #TwentiesBeatDown

What’s in it?

I designed these materials to complement my coaching process, but they can be worked through individually as well—or as a precursor to coaching. It’s set up in three sections:

  1. Taking Personal Inventory
  2. Self-Discovery
  3. Integration or Application of what was learned

Through illustrated graphics and questions, concepts are introduced to help people look at their life from different perspectives. I’ve also presented an original model to help one discover their “Identity DNA” which provides solid anchor points to help an individual understand and pursue their identity, purpose, and calling. Other topics include:

  • Paradox of Choice
  • Decision-Making
  • Personal Growth and Development
  • Gifts, Values, Vision
  • Identity Capital
  • Integrity
  • Relationships and Networking
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Click here to see the Table of Contents and a few sample pages.

This workbook is perfect if you are in your twenties and trying to figure out what to do with your life. It’s also a useful tool to give to someone you know who’s struggling with career or life direction.  

What about the Twenties BeatDown book?

Great question! Since 2004 I have told the world twice that I was going to publish a manuscript by this title and still no book. The book has been drafted almost two times, yet it’s just not right. The idea is sound, it’s been academically supported, and the thesis has been “proven” over time—and during that time the problem has only worsened. However, I just don’t have a peace about the book aspect right now. As is, the manuscript is far too academic and would require an entire rewrite.

Nonetheless, the motivation behind my writing the Twenties BeatDown has led to the creation of the Prepare a Future materials. The continued refinement of my coaching practices and developing this workbook seemed to have taken precedent over the manuscript.

Now that the workbook is complete, I can spend some time “re-visioning” the whole Twenties BeatDown concept and determine what direction it needs to take. I’m not sure what its fate will be, but if it’s meant to be, it will.

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Twenties BeatDown and Prepare a Future mentioned in another new book

The Twenties BeatDown and Prepare a Future are mentioned in a new academic book.

Identity Formation, Youth, and Development: A Simplified Approach¹ is a fresh book focused on the complex identity issues that young people face coming of age in contemporary society. Professors James Côté and Charles Levine cut through the academic jargon to offer an accessible yet thorough introduction to the growing identity studies field.

The authors address the challenges faced by young people in forming adult identities in late-modern societies that are also are in transition, “further complicating identity formation and the interrelated processes of self development and moral-ethical reasoning.”

In the section on the transition to adulthood, the authors
recognized my work as an example of their identity theory being put into practice. The Twenties BeatDown and Prepare a Future are mentioned right after they feature the work of psychologist Dr. Meg Jay and her book The Defining Decade, Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now. Excerpt from page 159:

Similarly, personal mentor and life coach Drew Lichtenberger draws on the identity capital model to help his “twentysomething” clients cope with and rise above “The Twenties BeatDown” during which they have found themselves stuck or lost in the transition to adulthood and are perplexed as to why. He writes that

common manifestations include wondering if you’re not meeting your potential, questioning if you’re on the right path, trying to figure out your purpose in life, or who you are. Alternatively, it could be the foreboding sense one gets when facing major life-decisions about the future. [i]

Lichtenberger has developed the Prepare a Future Developmental Individualization Curriculum to help people find ways to change their individualization process from the default one described above to a developmental one in which they engage in self-examination processes that help them to discover their unique potentials, clarify their values, and align themselves with a set of prioritized goals toward which they take concrete steps.[ii] (p. 159)

Côté and Levine wrote a more comprehensive book² on their scholarship in 2002 which largely serves as the academic foundation of Prepare a Future, along with some other works by Côté and other colleagues.

Many thanks to Dr. Côté and Dr. Levine for the mention of my work in their text.

James Cote 2

James Côté

Charles Levine 2

Charles Levine






[1] Côté, J. E. & Levine, C. G. (2015). Identity formation, youth, and development: A simplified approach. New York: Psychology Press.

[2] Côté, J. E. & Levine, C. G. (2002). Identity formation, agency, and culture: A social psychological synthesis. New York: Psychology Press.



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What are you doing with your life?

“I just graduated,” my waitress tells me as I’m sitting in a college town restaurant.

“What are you going to do?” I ask.

She gives me this glance of disappointment, looks down at her server apron, then glares back at me. Then I explained how I was writing a book for people in her situation and defined what she was going through as the Twenties BeatDown.

Her eyes widened with an expression of relief and she said, “That’s totally it.” She explained to me how she thought everyone else in college had “their thing” with a plan except for her.

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Integrity – Staying true to who you are

A couple months ago, I wrote about Scott who was faced with an ethical dilemma when his boss told him, “Sometimes ethics and business don’t mix.”

Scott was standing at a crossroads: to upsell needless, more expensive products which would appease his managers or he could do what was in the best interest of the customer yet suffer the consequences. I talk to many twentysomethings who find themselves in similar predicaments that may not seem like a big deal to onlookers. However, something nags internally which does make it a big deal. It weighs on the conscience because the decisions you make end up defining who you are.

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Twenties BeatDown mentioned in new book

The Twenties BeatDown™ is mentioned twice in the revised and updated edition of Generation Me (2014) by researcher and author Jean Twenge PhD.

GenMe 2014 Cover

“Drew Lichtenberger…called the pervasive malaise of his generation “the twenties beatdown”—and that was before the late 2000 recession. When he was starting his first job in business and his then girlfriend was in law school, they talked frequently about how their 20s were turning out to be much more challenging than they’d expected. Even his friends who were successful wondered about fulfillment, asking, “Is this was I want to do with my life? Is this meaningful enough?” His summary of his friends’ 20s experience was “they used to be supersuccesful people and now they’re just freshman in life.” (p. 160).

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Thrown into adulthood


“Growing up today is like sliding down a water flume…”

Check out this short, one-page article I was asked to write for a special “Millennial issue” of Performance 360, Professional Nonprofit Magazine.

Click here to see my article, The Ambiguity of Modern Adulthood 

Thanks to “Matthew” (not his real name) for his great analogy and honest perspective about some of today’s challenges of young adulthood.

Click here to see the entire March issue of Performance 360 Magazine

Do you think the first 20 years of life are actually preparing people for the realities of today’s society? Tell me what you think

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Ethical dilemma–What would you do?

After college, Scott took a retail sales job in technology products. Despite his excellent customer service scores, after several months his managers pulled him aside for slouching sales. The managers asked him what could be done to help boost his production. Scott took the opportunity to boldly disclose he had an ethical dilemma. He candidly explained how he could not sell one product over another, costing the customer about 150% more for nearly the same benefit.

Though the managers understood, one said, “Sometimes ethics and business don’t mix.” What?! Continue reading

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A decade back, a decade forward

Some people have asked me how everything I’ve been working on over the last decade fits together and where it’s going. Here’s a response to that question as a summary of my work and some direction forward:

Over the last decade, I’ve come to believe as a culture, we are not adequately preparing our next generation. The first two decades of life presumably prepare someone to meet the ‘real’ world—so the quality of that preparation should become evident in the third decade of life (in young adulthood). Continue reading

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Do you ever question your identity or purpose?

[Modified excerpt from Chapter One of the Twenties BeatDown Book]

“I just want to do the right thing, but I don’t always know what that is.”

Connor is a very insightful, intelligent 22-year-old, in and out of community college still living at home with his parents. Connor graduated from high school, got a job at a grocery store and began community college. He tested out of one class and dropped a couple others eventually pulling out of community college altogether. Four years have gone by and he has bounced around various meager retail jobs with some periods of unemployment and lots of frustration. His dad, a self-employed professional, would come home and find Connor playing video games and get on him about finding a job, while mom would nag him about being indecisive.

He describes himself as lost and without a plan. A friend asked how he was doing, “Oh I’m fine.” Then realizing that was not entirely true, he recanted, “Well, not really . . . I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life.”

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9. Does social media isolate us?

When I first got on Facebook in 2005, after being “sucked in,” I began to foresee the possible negative effect of social media on humans. I wondered what the impact of ‘relational technology’ (social media, texting, chat, etc.) would have on social isolation and identity. In 2006 the Richmond Times-Dispatch asked me to write an article on my observations where you can see what I was thinking and read about my earliest experience with Facebook:

So-Called Relational Technology Might Erode Nation’s Social Fabric.

Back then, there was no research on how social media was affecting humans since it was a new phenomenon. This was going to be the topic of my research seven years ago, but unfortunately, my advising professor and I had a disconnect, and we could never agree on a thesis.

However, this new motion graphic video does an excellent job telling the story of what I’ve been seeing over the last eight years—and now there’s research to back it.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

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Posted in Human Development, Society, Technology Influence | 1 Comment