Today is my 30th birthday; my 20s are officially behind me.
When I first entered my 20s there were a number of things I figured I would have accomplished by this milestone: get married, buy a house, have a kid or two, have a Master’s degree...
As of today I am 0/4 on those goals. Does that make me a failure? Absolutely not.
My 20s were a huge time of discovery and growth and looking back none of those things were ultimately important to my personal fulfillment. I used this time to understand and embrace who I was as an individual.
As I enter this next decade, I know that self-discovery will be a continuous process and as I look ahead I look forward to using these experiences to steer my potential.
I also have learned the value of having a great support system—those individuals who cheer you on while also giving you a dose of reality when you really need it.
To commemorate my ascent into the next decade, I asked my friends and colleagues to share their best life/career advice. In no particular order, here’s what they had to say:
Leave sooner – jobs, relationships, and parties. Definitely parties. I have never been pushed off a cliff that I didn’t turn around and wished I’d jumped sooner. – Heather Bussing (@heatherbussing)
Be kind to yourself. Stay in your own lane. Be proud of who you are. Know your worth. Believe in yourself. Be okay with carving out your own unique path. Enjoy your own company! Whenever you doubt any of these things, phone a friend. You’ll need them from time to time – Laura (@eastsidestaff)
I recommend the book The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim. Short book. Easy to have on hand and always gets my mind in the right place. – Katie Schnably (@katieschnably)
It’s better to be kind than smart or efficient. – Garick Chan (@ilovegarick)
It’s great to get input from people but don’t get steered the wrong way based on what any single individual tells you. What is true for them may not be true for you. – Rich Grant (@richcareer)
Don’t be afraid to “make the jump”—whether that’s starting a new career, moving to a new city, exploring new relationships, etc… life is too short! Getting out of your comfort zone and saying “yes” to the scary stuff is what life is all about. – Meisha Bochicchio (@MarketingMeisha)
You are good enough to be where you are. To have a seat at the table. – Jennifer Newbill (@jennewbill)
It’s okay to change what you want to be when you grow up. In fact it’s fine to change it as often as you need to fit how you define success. Don’t let anyone else define that for you. – Wendy (@wyndall93)
I learned this from one of the best bosses I ever had – “good consulting sometimes looks like bad customer service”. I remind myself of this every time a hiring manager is unhappy with me – Amy Miller (@alarecruiter)
Don’t kiss the ass of people who don’t treat you well. Life is too short and it will never get you where you want to be. – Katrina Kibben (@Katrinakibben)
Slow the hell down and travel. Anywhere, even if only an hour away. It’s worth it. – Michael Mullady (@mjmullady)
Be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t try to hid yourself for the sake of others. – Jennifer (@JLVochatzer)
You are never going to be “there.” No matter what you achieve, what you look like, where you are in your career, there is no destination. It’s only how you feel each and every day. Once you tell yourself this 872829273729 times, you kind of start to believe it and see joy in your present state of being. – Ingrid Johnson
The right job never comes at the right time, always be on the lookout and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. – Mairy (@careeradvise4u)
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ~Wayne Gretzky — Michael G. Scott — Kamara Toffolo – K-Money aka @kamaratoffolo
Don’t stay miserable in a job. Leave before you hate getting up in the morning. – Elizabeth
In no way do I mean this as a negative, but as you go thru your 30s you realize how little the negative stuff you went thru in your 20s matters. It literally feels like a lifetime ago and you realize you aren’t held hostage by the past. – Adam Karpiak (@adam_karpiak)
You are not an imposter, you just have the same anxieties as everyone else. Self belief will get you further in your life and career than any qualification. – Selena (@selenagovier)
Power and influence often lead to tone deaf, out of touch opinions (cough, Liz). Spend more time engaging the people doing the work, and less listening to talking heads. – Katie Achille (@katieachille)
Meditation is the key to making good choices; pausing so as to not be so reactive. I wish I did a daily practice 30 yrs ago. Start now if you don’t. – Karen
Be yourself and don’t stop developing. – Ayman
You are too old to not know that it’ll be okay. So try something risky. – Kate Bischoff (@k8bischhrlaw)
“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” is nonsense. Loving what you do doesn’t mean it’s going to feel effortless. It means that putting in the effort is worth it to you! – Sarah (@villanocookie)
Be self-aware, and know your worth. No-one will give you a pay-raise if you don’t ask for it and can demonstrate why you deserve it. – Chloe (@ChloeMo_o)
Have patience and do things that challenge you. Remember that you were hired for a reason, and you don’t have to keep proving you deserve to be there. Don’t ask for permission to do your job, and make it safe for others as well. – Nicole Roberts (@NRobertsHR)
Thanks to all who took the time to share their wisdom—here’s to embracing the next decade (and beyond)!