Recently I happened to see a video uploaded by Lilou Macé, Founder of the famous Juicy Living Tour.
In the video Lilou shares all the things, which she would like to tell her 20-year old Self after one of her fans had sent her this question. Many of those points resonated with me so I came up with my own list
1. Study more
I could not stress this point enough! Any young person that I meet I would tell to study and learn as much as they can. School and even university are still a playground where (in most cases) we are quite free from worries and other responsibilities. I was lucky to receive a completely free quality education from the University of Helsinki. I now understand that this was one of the biggest gifts from my other native, Finland. As students we might not realize what privilege we have just by being able to study – many youngsters might not even have the opportunity to go to college.
2. Try out many things
Try out things at a young age. If I could re-live my teenage years and early 20ies I might have been much more active in various groups and organizations. We can learn so much even by volunteering or by being part of movements. As teenagers and 20-somethings we still have so much more free time to investigate things. All the experiences we get can lay a foundation for the future. Some networks and relationships that are built during this time can become very meaningful later in life.
3. Work hard and be consistent
This is a tough one, I know. How will you tell your younger Self, that you should study and work even more when you are just waking up to all the exciting opportunities of life? If I could tell my 20-year old Self one thing it would be focus, be consistent. I might have stuck to my writing since I was 17 and now look back at 16 years of experience. I could by all means call myself an expert and would have an impressive portfolio of articles and publications out there.
4. Trust yourself
Low self-esteem and insecurity is common in many youngsters. I would not want to experience those horrible puberty-depressions ever again at any cost (just the thought gives me goosebumps…). I guess there is not really any antidote or quick-fix for low self-esteem as this is all part of a growth process that most of us might have to go through. Despite all the doubts there was always a voice inside me that knew very clearly what is good for me and what isn’t. Sadly due to pressure from outside (and ultimately my own insecurity) I did not always follow my gut feeling and heart.
So, my dear 20-year old Self: Trust yourself. There is a source of wisdom inside every one of us that knows and understands things regardless of age.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
This is an important point. There were times during my university studies when I found myself surrounded by many friends that were boozing and partying during weekends. Their hangover used to last at least one full day if not a few. Deep inside me I knew this is not the kind of lifestyle I want to have. In 2007 I changed my entire circle of friends literally over night after joining a yoga school and starting a yoga teacher training. It felt so much better to be with positive people, who were also seekers of truth and ready to work on themselves.
The people we surround ourselves can greatly influence our lives.
My dear 20-year old Self, remember this: True friends always want to uplift you, never drag you down!
6. Find mentors
I really wish I would have had access to better mentors at a young age. In my view it is extremely helpful to have supporters and advisers other than the parents. Parents are extremely important, but often they are caught up in their own limiting beliefs and family patterns. Getting objective advice and encouragement from other seniors like teachers can be very helpful. For example I was never taught entrepreneurial thinking by my family. I cannot blame them for that as in my entire family there is only one entrepreneur, my uncle from Finland. Nobody was ever taught to think differently than a regular government employee.
My advice to any young people: Seek for mentors that can guide you in your career plans or other projects.
7. Understand the belief systems of your family
This might not happen so easily when we are younger, but it is good to be alert when it comes to limiting beliefs that run in the family. When we hear things like: “Only rich people have money”, “Money stinks” “We are not the kind of people to have money” “Nobody in our family ever needed to have a degree!” – be assured that those are “programs” which our family members and relatives learned at a young age and which they unknowingly install in our subconscious minds as well.
Understanding what are the belief systems and unconscious paradigms ruling your own family will set you free. They are nothing but an illusion.
8. Dare to think big!
Lack of confidence coupled with limiting beliefs of our family and surroundings often makes us think small of ourselves. There is an inner critical voice saying: “That is not possible, you might fail” (I guess you too know that voice quite well). Unfortunately by thinking small we sabotage our potential and keep ourselves small. It is like we set the bar low and never even strive higher.
So my dear younger Self: Remember that you are the one defining what is achievable, not the society or anybody else.
9. Love and forgive yourself
This is maybe the most important one after all. Sadly especially we women tend to be quite unloving towards ourselves. We might curse our own body for all it´s flaws, doubt our own talents and skills and then end up in relationships with guys who don´t honour and respect us (believing we don´t deserve any better).
I would love to tell my 20-year old Self: Accept yourself the way you are. Don´t waste your energy comparing yourself to others. Don´t be with anybody, who is not seeing your worth. Love yourself more and forgive yourself for mistakes in the past.
10. Invest at a young age
And this one is maybe the one I regret most: NOT having invested smartly at a young age. Obviously I did not know any better. As I mentioned earlier, entrepreneurial thinking was not taught to me at any point. If I could re-live my 20ies I might have started my first business right then and there and also made it a habit to invest into things. Even if those investments would have failed, it would have been a great learning.
There is a saying: “Today you wish you would have started yesterday.” You did not do that yet?
Well, the next best moment is to start NOW.
So what are you waiting for?