As I write this it’s the morning of my 25th birthday. Life in my twenties has so far been pretty enjoyable. I’ve made some great friends, travelled many countries, learnt new skills and accomplished countless challenges.
For many people, university is their ‘peak’ or life highlight. While I did enjoy university, having freedom and flexibility post-university is liberating after all those years of education and restriction.
Being a young adult means making your own choices for the very first time. I’ve learnt to take risks and deal with potential consequences. I’ve also experienced my fair share of mistakes, but have tried turning those moments into a learning experience.
At 25 I don’t feel like I’ve got it all figured out, and in some ways I don’t think I ever will feel that I have. I enjoy the uncertainty of future possibilities. However, there are a few things I’ve learnt in my 25 years that I’d like to share with you on this day:
- Patience is a virtue — Good things come to those who wait and appreciate that things take time. Success doesn’t happen overnight and so you have to be in it for the long game. If you’re showing up everyday, all it takes is patience and time. It’ll happen.
- Sometimes you have to say No — This is easier said than done. It can be really difficult to turn down good opportunities or promising prospects. Just remember that saying no means opening up the opportunity to say yes to another, greater or more important one.
- A good attitude goes a long way — We always have the choice of how we react to something. Are you going to let a little bump in the road ruin the rest of your day? Over the weekend my friend Austin said something to me that I feel is perfectly relevant here. He said “you can choose to be bitter, or choose to make it better”. What will you choose?
- You’ll never get more time — I’ve stopped wishing for more or complaining about not enough time. It’s something that’s completely out of my control and will never change. Instead, I look at how I can make time for the things that matter most. To do this, I say no to other things.
- Relationships are important — Surround yourself with people who love, appreciate and believe in you. I love having people in my life who challenge me to be better and genuinely want me to do well. This positivity and love adds fuel to my fire which keeps me going.
- You can make a difference — I recently started making my own at-home cleaning products and purchasing eco-friendly hygiene and beauty products. While the price tag is steep, I view this as my contribution towards a more sustainable planet for future generations.
- Small gestures speak volumes — Something as small as a thank you or greeting someone by name can go a long way. I try and answer every email in my inbox (even if it’s to decline something) and always thank people for their time.
- Positivity is infectious — I try and surround myself with positivity as much as I can. This includes keeping my inbox, twitter timeline and relationships positive.
- When in doubt, overcommunicate — I’ve been working remotely with a team and a 12 hour time difference for almost two years. We rely on good communication to work together effectively. When in doubt, always over communicate. Chances are you’re currently not communicating enough. The same applies for clients.
- You already have a no, you might get a yes — This is what I tell myself when considering taking on new opportunities and imposter syndrome creeps in. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go, but you’ve got everything to potentially gain.
- You’re never too old to learn something new — Last week I signed up to Treehouse and started learning how to code HTML & CSS. This is something I’ve been wanting to learn for years. If there’s a skill you’ve been wanting to learn, now is as good a time as ever.
- Habits can be formed and controlled — Whether you want to wake up earlier, eat healthier or read more, start making small changes to your routine that encourage you to perform these actions. This will help the formation of new habits, which is like a fast track to making changes to your regular behaviour.
- Push yourself outside your comfort zone — You never know what could happen in the unknown!
- Stay open minded — I like to read books that challenge my way of thinking and perspective. They encourage me to consider thinking in different ways or adopt new mindsets. Also, they’re educational!
- Everyone deals with imposter syndrome — I struggle with it, you struggle with it, your idol struggles with it.
- Everyone makes mistakes — It’s how you deal with the mistake that makes a difference. Are you professional about it or do you let it negatively impact your life? No one is perfect, mistakes are what make us human.
- Treat yourself with care and respect — When feeling burnout, allow yourself to rest. No one can keep running a thousand miles and hour without taking the time to recharge and refuel. Pushing yourself too hard only causes more damage. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night and giving your body and mind regular time to relax and unwind.
- Celebrate your successes — Appreciate and celebrate your hard work and small wins. Perhaps a client accepted your proposal, you were complimented on a project at work or finished a really daunting task. Congratulate yourself and recognise your efforts.
- Honour your values — What’s important to you? Values shouldn’t be something you have to compromise — not for yourself or anyone else. Live and stand by them everyday.
- Stop procrastinating — Difficult, I know! If I catch myself procrastinating I take a break by doing a different task. Perhaps I’ll take a short walk around the block, make a cup of tea or perform a house chore. When I return I try to tackle the task head on.
- Believe in yourself — If you don’t, how can you expect anyone else to?
- Be genuinely you — Don’t try to be somebody you think people want you to be. It’s sad when I see someone compromise their authentic self for someone they think everyone want’s them to be.
- People come and go — Those who are in your life right now might eventually move on. It’s normal to fall out of touch as you each grow and move throughout life. Cherish the special moments you have with them now.
- The importance of focus — Eliminating distractions and staying focused on a task will do wonders for your productivity. This helps you to attack your work with integrity and passion.
- The only time you have is now — Take action today. Not tomorrow, next week or next month. Now is the best time to take action and start setting yourself up for future success.
I’ve learnt a lot over the years. I’m positive there’s still a lot for me to learn in the future. It’s unlikely I’ll ever know everything, but I hope to at least know the important ones.
Phew, that was a lot of things! Is there something in this list that speaks volumes to you?