If I could have a fifteen minute conversation with my younger self, I’m pretty sure it would come with a lot of helpful rules and reminders (and maybe a recommendation to skip the oversized hoodie phase of my life). I firmly believe that my past — mistakes and failures included — have helped shape my future. However, there are still a few lessons about how to be successful that I know I could’ve benefited from at an earlier age.
Now? There are still infinite things I need to learn (eventually), and I’m constantly picking up little nuggets of wisdom. I don’t think there’s an age limit where advice on how to be successful ceases to provide value, which is why I think it’s so important to be reminded of these things on a regular basis.
As human beings, we’re constantly learning and growing. Even when we reach one goal, several more pop up. (And that’s a good thing.) We should never be satisfied with what we know — or think we know — because there’s always room to improve.
So, what’s the #1 piece of advice I’d give my younger self about how to be successful?
Learn to love finishing things over starting them.
Being a jack-of-all-trades, I’m constantly starting a new project. I’ve hopped from hobby to hobby with ease — including music, acting, fitness, sports, photography, writing, and more — and my career path is pretty much the same.
I’ve become addicted to the thrill of a new idea. It’s just so sparkly and exciting, it makes you want to quit everything RIGHT NOW so you can get to the next cool thing ridiculously fast. Even when I started this blog, I got so caught up in the future details — in how I would expand it, in how many people I could reach, in partnering with charities and eventually launching my own non-profit — that I was ready to start work on it ASAP.
Now, that’s perfectly fine. It’s great to be excited about something, and new ideas are really freakin’ wonderful. But what about everything between the idea and the finished product? I might have a great idea for a website with a whole host of moonshots and goals that I’d love achieve in the future, but those things take time. (They also take a lot of fun and less-than-fun work to get there.) The payoff rarely *cough* never *cough* happens overnight, which means you don’t actually get to see the end goal until you get to the end goal.
I’m not saying ignore your new ideas, and I’m not saying you have to finish something when you already know you don’t like it. I *am* saying that it’s incredibly valuable to learn how to stick with something when you don’t get immediate gratification — whether that’s reaching a life goal or sticking with a skin care routine.
Need a little more inspiration? I asked people to give me their #1 piece of advice they’d give their younger selves, and here are some of my absolute favorite responses:
“Don’t listen to someone else’s no.”— @beallimack
“There’s nothing wrong with being perfectly average. Embracing that fact is the first step toward becoming extraordinary.”— @kannclaire
“Things taking longer than you’d planned doesn’t mean that they’re going wrong.”— @KittyBarclay
“Find what you’re passionate about and own it – I was always afraid to share my love for writing, the shows I liked, the classes I wanted to take at school, the vloggers I watched – because none of my friendship group were into those same things. But once I started to love it unashamedly and own it, I was so much happier and more confident in myself, and it allowed me to throw myself into my hobbies even more! (And meet some awesome people along the way!)— @Reekles
“Stop waiting for it to knock on your door. You have to go and find it for yourself.”— @TheImprovisor
“Take a risk now and then! Playing it safe isn’t always the best bet.”— @dirtyyarn
“Your success is not measured by what others think of how you’re doing but by how happy you are with yourself and your own achievements.”— @HayleBales
“Balance. Bro, balance.”— @MCliffordAuthor
“Learn time management.”— @pointfiveacre
“Switching on “Do not disturb” will only help you and not hurt you.”— @DocEmmaGR