We’d all love to go back and spend some time with our younger self and try to better prepare them for the future.
Would we listen? Probably not, but where’s the fun in that!
So here’s a list of a few things I’d share with my younger self. Things that I’ve had to learn the hard way and would have saved me so much time, money and stress!
1. Commit to continuous learning
I know what my answer would be ‘What! I’ve just finished studying, no chance!’.
Sadly many of us believe that our learning finishes when we leave formal education, any we get will be provided by the company…
I cringe as I write this!
I’ve learned (over time) that through instilling a ‘commitment to continuous learning’ as a life value, I’ve managed to grow as a person personally and professionally.
Learning helps you progress in life. It builds a sense of curiosity which ultimately leads to creating new opportunities and trying new things.
You may find yourself reading a book relating to a subject you are very interested in, for it to briefly mention another subject that creates a spark of interest. You may not have shown any interest in this subject before and wouldn’t have without reading this book, but this new spark of interest grows into your life passion.
Before you know if you’re engrossed in the new subject and quickly becoming an expert. Your life decisions are being shaped with this new passion, which leads you to an increased life fulfilment. Your learning and development is shaping your life.
Obviously learning isn’t limited to books, there are many other ways to learn.
It really does amaze me the direction life will take us when have a solid commitment to learning.
2. Ask the right questions
To be honest I was always great at asking questions when I was younger… problem is they weren’t always the right questions and didn’t always have the best intentions.
I was great at asking ‘Why do I have to do this?’, which in itself isn’t a bad leading question if its followed up properly. I’d encourage myself to follow this up with questions such as ‘Is this the best way to do this?’, ‘how does this align with my goals?’ and ‘Can this be done better’.
The problem is that when we are younger we tend to ask the ‘why’ question more as a statement, than a question. It’s used more to let the other person you aren’t too happy.
To move forward in life we have to change our thinking and start asking questions that help us properly asses the current situation, whether it fits our current and future needs, and how best to move forward.
Asking the wrong questions keeps you stood still… Asking the right questions move you forward.
3. Take more risks
Again, as a young man I believed I was quite the risk taker, but snoozing the alarm in the morning and hoping I wouldn’t bump into the boss in the way to the office isn’t the type of risk I’m talking about.
On the other hand there are quite a few occasions in the past where I may have avoided doing something, as I was much more focused on short term effects change would have. I wasn’t willing to risk making the change that had no guarantee of success, and would worry about possible negative outcomes.
People don’t take enough risks because we are too afraid of failure. But what we have to understand is that failure provides us with a chance to learn and ultimately grow.
All successful business people fail at some point in their life, and most will tell you that they fail more times that they succeed. However the successes they have, which comes from their ability to learn from failures and make effective changes, have much bigger personal and financial rewards than the failures.
I know that every failure I encounter, takes me one step closer to a huge success.
4. Connect with people and find a mentor
This is an important one.
Most of the best personal development books out there will tell you, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Building your network early in life is the key to opening yourself up to more opportunities for success. As your network widens and you build out your own reputation within your group, your connections will remember you and what you have to offer. When anyone within this group requires someone of your skills and experience, you will be the first person they ask.
If you haven’t committed the time to building your network, these opportunities will go to someone else.
Make a commitment to attend seminars, conferences and business meetups. Introduce yourself to people and try to get to know the right people. Be passionate about helping others and providing value, whilst showing a real interest in their lives and business. Leave others with a positive impression of who you are and what you can do.
Leading on from this find yourself a mentor. Someone who is already successful in your chosen field, and can show you how they did it. They will help and guide you on the same road they took, and guarantee success.
5. Let goals shape your life, not chance
So many of us glide through life on autopilot, and during my early years I was the same.
I lived by common beliefs that told me that after a certain number of years I would be promoted to the next job, and a certain number of years I’d be promoted again. No need for me to do anything, this is just the way things are… Wrong!
You could say that I did have a goal… I wanted promotion. But let’s not mislead ourselves, I wasn’t really working to achieve any goals.
Having a goal is not just thinking of the desired end result, it’s about putting actions in place that will ensure successful completion of the goal.
If I would have really set the goal of promotion within the company, I would have spent some time considering what I needed to do to get the promotion. I would have created a step by step plan of actions I needed to take, that would get me closer to goal achievement.
If I’d have done this I would have probably realised that I could actually achieve my goal in much less time and what’s more the promotion would have been a certainty, as I would have the skills, knowledge and require experience to do the desired job.
Creating goals and a solid action plan increase your chances of achieving what you want, puts you on the road to success and helps you become the best version of you. The plan may not always work out as you’d thought, but you will constantly analyse progress and make necessary changes to move you towards your goal.
You are in control of your destiny.
Let me know what you would tell the younger you if you had the chance to go back, in the comments below.
Other posts you might like…