In a short while, I will be turning 39. PUSHING 40! Having a very cool career behind me, and hopefully even more awesome ahead of me, I wonder… if I knew how this would all turn out, could I (and would I) have done something differently? (that is what happens to your mind when you turn it on semi-vacation-mode: you start to reflect!). If you could, what advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell 18 year old Magdalena:
Don’t forget to play.
I never remember playing at all. Since I was a child, I would do what was expected of me, do it well and move on. I never formed a habit to throwing a party to celebrate a success, I am already 2 steps ahead on the next project. The others can party, I grind – and that’s actually the way I like it. I treat myself to very nice things (read more here – in Swedish, so use some Google Translate if you need to) but that’s kind of it. I don’t really have the vacation gene in me, and a day by the pool is not a bit tempting. I need to create, educate myself, build…
I do feel that I play all the time at work though, being fortunate enough to do what I love, but still – I would teach my younger self to enjoy some more off duty time. Starting at 39 – it’s tricky.
(I am still looking for whoever created this awesome illustration to give him/her the proper cred)
Speak your mind and don’t be so damn polite.
It’s not that I don’t dare, I just don’t do it. I don’t want to HEART ANYONE’S FEELINGS. But you see, when you take shit from people and don’t speak up about it, you put your own feelings aside. I have never been bullied, nor have I ever experienced any serious internet trolls. But I have heard many things that didn’t rime with me, and I chose not to act on it. I would explain bad behavior from people with “they don’t know better”, or “they are not smart enough to understand the impact of their actions”, and by that I would let assholes remain assholes. So my advice to my younger self would be very VERY similar to this:
Lucky me I’m not 70, only soon 39, This is – MY LOVELY FEMALE READERS (not to generalize, but yes) – one piece of advice that we need to give ourselves over and over again until we understand.
Stop worrying so much.
Being a young overachieving academic, I was constantly scared of being replaced. Every position I’ve ever had, I was slightly underqualified for, and I felt like I had to prove myself every single day. Did I really need to, or was it all in my head? I was fired from a job twice, and actually, the world didn’t stop that day. Plus… being a really hard working and ambitious woman, I don’t think I ever had anything to worry about, really. I was probably doing more than I needed to anyway.
In the beginning of one’s career, we tend to think that the company we work for and the position we have is the only option. It isn’t. There are always more than one way to go and who knows, the unexpected way might even be a better one for you? An advice to your younger self: YOU WILL BE OK!
Don’t play it safe all the time.
Believe it or not: most often, I play it safe. I know that life begins at the end of the comfort zone, and I am not afraid to try new things and step outside of the box, but… I only take calculated risks. When you have a company to take care of and a business that is getting quite big, that is the reasonable way to think, for the most part. But there are situations where you absolutely should not play it safe. It’s a shame that it took me such a long time to figure it out, because… being a daredevil is much more fun!
I mean… what is the worst thing that can happen, really?
So now, my friend…. what advice would YOU give to your younger self?
Read more: 10 BEST LESSONS I’D TEACH MY YOUNGER SELF
Read more: 34 tips for your Younger Self
P.S. I would very much like to cred whoever made this illustration! I just found it on Pinterest.