Life Advice to my 18-year-old self!
When I retired, I was presented with my original personnel photograph, taken in May 1967. It was offered with tongue firmly in cheek complete with lots of giggling and some rude remarks that only good friends are allowed to make.
I mean, just look at that hairdo!
Anyway, until the other day, this picture had remained hidden at the back of an old diary. I was clearing out a desk drawer and it just kind of fell out, looking up at me from the desktop as if to remark, “So what do you have to say to me now?”
And I thought, indeed what would a sixty-six year old me have to say to the eighteen year old me about to start her working life? What life advice would I have to tell her now that I didn’t know or appreciate then?
Well, there are lots of things we could laugh at and some things we could feel regretful about but mostly my life advice would look something like this:
Know yourself and Be that:
Making a good impression is important but can become troublesome.
It’s easy and tempting to go with the flow and to hold back the things that are most important to you. After all, bringing your whole self wherever you go has its risks. But if you don’t, your life will become fragmented with parts of yourself left in boxes marked “home” or “work” or whatever else and with the content of each box being must less satisfying. So be bold with yourself. If it has its risks, it too, has its attractions.
Have some kind of Plan:
You’re a very young woman. t’s possible your mind is all over the place when it comes to knowing what you want. No one expects you to have it nailed. But I know that somewhere inside you, amid all the distraction, you have a vision.
Find a way to capture that in a tangible way. It will serve you well in times of indecision and turmoil. Take it with you as you launch yourself into the working world. And by the way, the degree to which you will see this vision come to fruition is directly related to the amount of risk you are willing to take. Know that you are braver than you think…and smarter too.
Go to it. It won’t come to you:
It is a rare thing when opportunity comes to you. Mostly, you will have to seek it out. So put yourself out there. Ask for what you want and prove that you are worthy of it. It’s a scary proposition, I know, but you’re not alone. I promise you that. Every person you meet will have experienced the same feelings of fear to greater or lesser degrees. It’s a human thing.
If you fail, it will not be the end of the world. You will still be you. And, there will be other opportunities and other people.
Learning is important so developing a healthy curiosity and a discipline for critical thinking is a must. For the most part, things learned well come from a combination of theory, experience and practice. And, the more you learn the more valuable you become as part of an organization, a team or a family.
Use the Knowledge you gain as a tool not a weapon
Some hoard knowledge and bring it out only when they believe it will be to their own advantage. Others use knowledge as a tool to achieve something important and share it generously, to fulfill a greater purpose. Do the second, not the first. The Karma’s better.
Be Kind to yourself
You will not get everything right, every time. Sometimes, you will make mistakes. Sometimes, you will be disappointed. Sometimes, you will fail. It happens to everyone at one time or another. But know that for the most part, you are capable of great things and the mistakes and disappointments are part of the learning process. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Most people are too busy cleaning up after their own faux pas’ to dwell on yours for any length of time.
I could go on but those eyes are telling me you have had enough for now. So off you go. Do your best. Be kind. Oh, and please do something about that hair!
Send a photo of your 18-year-old self. What life advice would you give from the safety and wisdom of 20/20 hindsight? Best results will be published and a winner selected for an Introductory Professional Image Coaching session with Claire Soper email : [email protected]