Business Irish

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Millennials need to swap the 'entitlement' for 'stickability'

Pendulum Summit founder Frankie Sheahan advises people to avoid the 'victim' mindset, writes Niamh Horan

Pendulum Summit organisers Frankie and Norma Sheahan. Photo: Michael MacSweeney
Pendulum Summit organisers Frankie and Norma Sheahan. Photo: Michael MacSweeney
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Former Ireland and Munster rugby star and Pendulum Summit chief executive Frankie Sheahan knows a thing or two about hard graft.

Having fought his way back from bankruptcy to create an international business and self-empowerment summit which has headline acts such as Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and Steve Forbes, the managing director has a piece of advice for a younger generation - ditch the sense of entitlement and the victim mentality, and nurture your staying power.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent ahead of the Dublin Pendulum summit this January, he says millennials need to knuckle down long-term rather than flitting from job to job.

"I think - and I would be going on what the experts are saying, in fact Simon Sinek has written about this - that this new generation don't have the 'stickability'.

"They could be in a new job, with an excellent company, for six months and at that point they make another change."

It ties in, he says, with the rise of the culture of ''instant gratification''.

"Time is the scarcest resource of all. Everything is about instant gratification now. Whether it is food, news, information, or anything else.

"Everyone has a mobile phone now so, if they need something, they ring someone, everything is instant - and the days of the slow burn is dying away. People want things fast and the by-product of that is that we have graduates, who are very smart but who are not feeling that impact after six months - so that is a challenge for employers."

He said the two pieces of advice he wants to pass to his own children, come from JP Morgan's Joan Kehoe.

"She says 'I don't want my kids growing up with a sense of entitlement or a victim mindset' - and I would pass that same advice on to my own children.

"I recently read that 90pc of people in America now come technically from what you could describe as a 'dysfunctional family'," says Frankie. "Okay, so delve into that - if you get talking to people, in general, most people have a story. You know 'my dad shouted at me when I was a kid' or 'my parents split up' and there are some horrendous stories, but ultimately all the professional advice is: 'Guys let it go, let it go'.

"Concentrate on where you are now and you have control over your own destiny. Jack Canfield would say that, Nick Vujicic, Karren Brady, they all say that. Where you are today is where you are today, forget about the past. Fighter jets don't have rear-view mirrors. And there are people with way worse stories than you out there who just get on with it."

Sheahan originally founded Pendulum Summit in 2014 as a one-day event in Dublin, with moustachioed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as keynote speaker. It has since expanded to New York and it has become a two-day affair with more than 4,000 attendees.

The upcoming Pendulum event will be held on January 9-10, with former London mayor Boris Johnson the main speaker.

Other speakers include Dr Marshall Goldsmith, the world's leading business coach; actor John Cleese; CEO of West Ham United football club Baroness Karren Brady; and Mandy Hickson - who is the UK's first female fast-jet pilot.

Frankie, who runs the event with his wife Norma, says years of working with some of the world's most inspirational leaders have thrown up some interesting moments.

"Deepak Chopra once had his underwear stolen from his bag on the flight over, so the driver had to take him into Brown Thomas to get a couple of pairs.

"Another very well-known speaker asked to move hotel because his security guys were worried that the fact that they were near open water posed a security risk.

"We also had a late night in House last year with Jack Canfield [and the next morning] the driver, Brian, went into the room and Jack was still asleep. Brian got him into the car with no time to make the flight but because he had a government clearance badge he could drive on to the tarmac when the flight was literally about to close and he managed to get him on.

"So they do get to enjoy a bit of Irish partying too. Jack sent Brian a big gift afterwards to say thank you. We become quite friendly with the delegates and there is a bit of fun about the place over the two days."

For more information, go to

Sunday Independent

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