Career Woman

10 Things I wish someone had told me in my 20s

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As women, we are each on an independent path through an unkempt terrain, headed in basically the same direction. We want fair treatment and equal opportunities professionally.

As a woman with twenty-plus years of ownership experience with an online workwear business, All Seasons Uniforms, I know something about these desires. The opportunities afforded to women have come a long way, but there is so much yet to put behind us, objectification, disregard, and inequality (despite equal qualifications) to name a few.

What about the battles we fight inside ourselves trying to reconcile the women we want to be with the messages we receive from the world around us? Even the forward-thinking women who came before us in history can barely inform us about our individual battles.

We each have to do this for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we fight alone. We can take advice from those who’ve been there, people like me.

If I could go back in time, these are ten pieces of advice I would give my younger self.

There is only now

In life, there are only two types of events that plague us, those in the past, and those in the future. Neither exist in the present moment.

At any moment one can look around to realize that the turmoil of yesterday’s errors is not there with us. The fears of what may come tomorrow are not there either.

In fact, almost 100 percent of what we worry about never comes to fruition. All one ever has is this moment right now, and this one, and this one.

Find a dogma for prioritizationcareer

Life will present a seemingly endless train of challenges. One can’t solve them all. Whether you use list-making, the 80/20 rule or some amalgamation of several prioritization philosophies, find an effective way figure out what matters most.

My younger self thought every exception was the rule. Without a filter to consider challenges as they arose, I wasted time solving for those exceptions instead of the larger problems in life.

Not everybody will like you

Be yourself. This will take you some time to understand, but the longer you take trying to be everyone’s perfect version of yourself, the longer it will take you to find lasting happiness.

If you’re not genuine, you’ll attract all the wrong people or worse, nobody at all. People can read disingenuousness.

You can simultaneously work on being a better version of yourself while not cramming your personality into a fake version of you.

You’re more valuable than your body and face

Men don’t deal with this. I know it’s unfair, but you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself on this matter.

The world around you is going to try to define you by your body and face. Don’t allow it. Combat their efforts by taking no pride in the aspects of your life you don’t control. Instead focus on your accomplishments.

One can take care of herself, without believing that her appearances are everything. Need I tell you? Yes, you’re beautiful. Now move on.

Life didn’t end at 30

It took me a decade to figure out that I’d wasted my thirties feeling life was over, like I’d passed some sort of expiration date. What I didn’t realize was that it was only getting good at that point, but I was in the corner sulking.

Like your looks, the years you accumulate on this planet are mostly out of your control. They are not a source of pride or shame. They are simply mile-markers.

Since you only have now, the years hardly matter. Trust me, it only gets better as you go. Don’t waste ten years of now figuring that out.

Travel while your legs work

See the world, but don’t wait until you have free time and money to do so. Ruins, cobbled streets, and dirt roads cover the best places to visit in the world like a series of obstacle courses.

If you wait until you have the time to visit, your legs might not be there for you anymore. Don’t go into unmanageable debt to travel, but start peppering it into your plan for the year now.

If you’re still climbing ruins at 80, consider yourself lucky.

Other women are not your enemies

The women you meet in the professional world, starting with classmates in school, are not secretly enemies you’re trying to thwart. Be genuinely interested in their success.

There is plenty of room at the top for everyone. You don’t have to be first, and you don’t have to suffer a corrupt morality to find your place there.

Support other women in their climb to the top even if it means being the last one there. You will live happier with yourself.

Do things afraid

Don’t confuse education with fear. You think that you fear fire because you’ve learned it’s hot. That’s education, not fear.

There are events in life that will scare you [like public speaking, airplane travel, and sharks] which only scare you because they’re foreign to you.

If you allow your fears to always corner you, then you will miss out on the most exciting aspects of life.

Leaders do things afraid all the time. They rationally consider the actual risks then make themselves take steps that may make them uncomfortable. The more steps you take, the less you will fear taking them.

Speak Up

In this modern day, the world has grown up a lot, but it’s not yet a level playing field. Men and women alike expect that you will keep quiet, either because you don’t know the answer or because you’re afraid of being wrong.

Be wrong. Participate in meetings. Speak up.

You don’t have to be obnoxious to make your voice heard. Speak up and make them listen, respectfully, but do it. Do it for the other women if you must, but don’t sit on your hands.

Meditate

This gets back to the first one. The more time I take to reset my mind to the present moment, the less my thoughts and feelings plague me.

Over several years, a consistent mindfulness mediation practice can give you better perspective.

The only regret you will have — because it takes a long time for some of us to notice lasting results — is that you didn’t start sooner.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best.We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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