A friend asked me the other day, “What would you tell your younger self?” She was specifically referring to my prior work life. It was a very valid question, but one that I had never thought much about.
We often think of the past serving us up lost loves, missed opportunities, not spending enough time with our loved ones, etc. But how many of us have ever focused solely on business when it pertains to this question?
After thinking for a few days, here are some of my takeaways…..
- The grass isn’t always greener on the other side — I can think of a few times where I probably should have stayed planted where I was and continued doing what I was doing. I was too quick to jump at an opportunity where a better one was waiting right behind the one I took.
- Take more risks — I can think of two specific instances where I should have “jumped into the deep end” instead of playing it safe. Just these two opportunities could have changed my world, for the better, in a big way. I chose to stay content, stay loyal, and stay comfortable instead. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that….but, I digress.
- Enjoy the journey more — I often got too wrapped up in getting to the result that I forgot to enjoy the process of getting there. Take time and smell the roses along the way.
- Listen more — When I was younger, I often couldn’t wait to tell my story, get my point in, etc. I was afraid that people would think that I wasn’t smart enough or qualified enough for certain situations. Meanwhile, I should have been focusing on what others were saying rather than worrying about making my point so relevant. Two ears, one mouth = listen twice as much as you talk. Seek first to understand, then be understood.
- Observe and wait — It’s better to sit back and observe a room before diving in and becoming the center of attention. I was taught a long time ago to pause as you enter a room. It’s a persuasive technique that allows others to know that you are present and “available”. What I was not taught, was to let that room come to me, rather than me go to it. Don’t get caught up with being the center of attention. When the time is right, the attention will find you. Relax, observe, and find your path in each situation that you are presented with.
We cannot go back in time and must focus on the present while always being aware of what the future may present. I strive to get better everyday and focus on lessons learned over time. Each of us must find our own path and learn as we go. Just remember to have some fun as you walk down your individual roads!