10 pieces of advice I would give to my twenty-something self
After recently depositing my youngest at college, it got me thinking about myself back then. I was painfully shy, insecure and still trying to find my identity. The same was true when I entered the work place and, in spite of apparently performing well, I was riddled with anxiety. Over the years, I eventually found my footing but I can’t help wondering how many years I shaved off my life with needless worry. If only I knew then what I know now.
So, if like the Little Debbie ad, I could back and talk to my younger self, here are the 10 pieces of advice I would give…
1. A problem shared is a problem halved – Don’t shoulder the burden yourself, especially if the issue is out of your control. Talk to your manager, but come armed with some potential solutions too.
2. Conflict now is better than a tsunami later – Addressing the issue may seem daunting, but not addressing it will probably come back and bite you in the butt at some point. And if nothing else, you will sleep better afterward.
3. Check once, check twice, check thrice – Adopt the discipline of checking documents first for comprehension, second for logic/flow and third for typos/grammar.
4. Feedback is a gift – It may not feel like it, but feedback is important in helping you to grow. Ask for it, receive it and provide it.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others – We are all different and you were hired for your unique skills. By all means, observe others and adopt what you like, but obsessive comparisons drive feelings of inadequacy.
6. Silence can be golden – Listen to what is being said and process it instead of worrying about not speaking. That way, you will learn and be able to contribute to the discussion.
7. Don’t assume everyone knows what they are talking about – Confidence does not always equate with competence. If something smells wrong, trust your instinct and push back.
8. No pain, no gain – Push yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone. That’s how you grow. Except when it comes to roller blading in your forties. Don’t do that. There will be much pain.
9. Seek out mentors – They have made mistakes that you have yet to make. Actively foster relationships with people you admire. They will become lifelong friends.
10. Don’t worry, be happy – Worrying never solved a problem. One day, someone will tell you to write down your worries on a piece of paper and put them in a box. After a month, you will open the box and find that most of them have miraculously disappeared.
This will change your life…
What about you. What would you tell your younger self?