7 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had Known

As first appeared on LinkedIn – May 15, 2019

It’s that time of year, graduation. As the mom of a daughter getting ready to leave high school and start her college journey, I found myself reflecting back on my own experiences. I’m very fortunate to be involved in a number of groups that have exceptionally talented business leaders sitting around the table. Today, during one of those meetings, I asked an ice breaker question. What one piece of advice would you give your high school self if you could?

The answers were right on target. And, they actually make for pretty sound advice during any time of transition in your life. Whether moving off to college, starting a new job, launching your first entrepreneurial venture, or promoting into a new role within your organization, these 7 pieces of advice are worth keeping in mind.

#1 They are all just moments in time.

Sometimes it seems like nothing is going according to plan. You find yourself frustrated with current circumstances, and hit walls as you work to make changes. Don’t despair! Everything is truly just a moment in time, and as time passes you will have opportunities for different outcomes, views or experiences. Find the learning in the moment, take a deep breathe, and focus on the future.

#2 Find a great mentor

A mentor is one of the best gifts you can enjoy in your professional life. They are the person that has unique knowledge to share, support to offer, and the occasional push when you get stuck. Great mentors help us accomplish our goals, and advocate for our successes. Seek out mentors continually, and allow new ones to come into your life as you grow.

#3 Listen carefully, and be willing to take the road less traveled

Sage advice is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Be willing to really listen to what is being shared with you, and know that not everything is shared with you in the moment you need it. It’s up to you to retain that information and apply it when ready. Take the road less traveled and discover how remarkable life can be out on those skinny branches.

#4 Hard work has value, don’t run away from it

Hard work often gets a bad wrap. With so many options out there to use technology and other resources to make life seem easier, you may miss out key lessons that come from digging deep and working hard. Lean into those moments and discover the value they present, rather than always looking for ways to minimize your efforts.

#5 Keep a journal of your journey

Take time daily to write and down and reflect on where you at right now. Keep track of people who you meet, stories you experience, and events that influence you. Then, as time passes, allow these to become personal insights for how to improve and grow.

#6 Always be yourself, and don’t apologize for who you are

It often seems like world always wants us to change and conform to the norms of the day. Embrace what makes you unique, and enjoy it. You should never apologize for who you are – there is no one else on the planet who can be exactly like you, and that makes you incredibly valuable.

#7 Relax and Enjoy the Ride

Last, but not least, take a deep breathe and smell the roses. Slow down and savor each moment, take time to laugh, and time to love. Appreciate those around you and let them know why they matter to you. Enjoy the ride of a life well lived, and the knowledge that you’ve made a difference.  

I am so appreciative of my friends and colleagues who shared their thoughts with me today. What about you – are there other words of wisdom that you would share? Leave them in the comments below!