The quarter-life crisis is real. It is so real.

I went through my own on the day of my 25th birthday (how fitting, right?). It was on this day that I realized I wasn't as capable as I thought I was.

The company that acquired the company I had founded laid me off several months prior. I thought I was good enough to start my own company again but still hadn't launched anything. I had moved back in with my parents and was hustling to make money and feel adequate.

It was a hard time.

According to a recent study by LinkedIn, this is all too common. This so-called quarter-life crisis happens to about 75 percent of those in their mid-twenties to early thirties. The top reasons for a crisis include being unsure what to do next in career or life, feeling frustrated about career options, or not earning enough. Rest assured, the reasons that follow are all over the board and completely legitimate.

So, what happens during and after a quarter-life crisis (I'm not sure it ever ends - it just molds into a mid-life at some point, right?).

Well, 36 percent of survey respondents change their career entirely, 28 percent go traveling or take an extended trip (I'm guilty of this one), and 11 percent have started their own business (also guilty).

It turns out that although a crisis can't be completely avoided, it can be helped. The LinkedIn research states:

"More than half of those experiencing a quarter-life crisis are looking for career advice."

How does this career advice come to fruition? It comes in the form of a mentor. Mine came when I connected with one of San Francisco's top gyms, in which the co-founder and my future mentor took me under his wing, graciously shared everything he knew, and gave me all the resources I needed to be successful.

When a genuinely good human being reaches a new level of success, they oftentimes just want to share. I was lucky enough to connect with someone who wasn't afraid of helping me on my feet.

If you're in a place where you're ready to help an employee within your organization or perhaps someone in a completely different field, take these tips into account.

1. Let them know you've been there.

People going through a quarter-life crisis just need to feel understood. If you've had one yourself, sharing your personal stories and anecdotes can only inspire.

2. Create a program at your company and open it to anyone going through an any-age crisis.

Whether it's quarter, mid-life, or somewhere in between, let your employees know that you support them. See if you can help them discover the root of the issue and work together to help them reach clarity. Maybe they're in a marketing role but prefer to become an engineer. Without abruptly losing talent, find out how you can help develop their skill set.

3. Make time for check-ins.

I know, you're busy. Everyone is busy. But, it is so important to make time for things that matter and if being a great leader is on your to-do list, find the time to be there for someone who needs your guidance. You could be the defining change in their life and to be honest, that is a fundamental honor. Be proud of that.  

4. Look outside of your company to make an impact.

If you have a small company, join an organization that can help connect you with someone who needs your words of wisdom. Pro tip: LinkedIn just launched a new feature called "Career Advice" that connects professionals with other LinkedIn members. It's a perfect way to get started as a mentor.

5. Realize that they could help teach you, too.

A good teacher knows that they learn the most from their students. Instead of viewing a mentorship as a burden, see it as an opportunity to learn a thing or two from a different angle.

Published on: Dec 28, 2017
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