Let’s be honest – it isn’t easy being young nowadays. Gen Z and younger millennials face an unprecedented array of challenges, from the effects of social media on mental health to massive student debt and chronic job insecurity.
Frankly, they deserve a break – and perhaps a chance to learn from their senior peers? By educating each other, that widening intergenerational gap can be bridged and in the long run, we will all benefit from helping others avoid those common pitfalls and mistakes.
At London Business Magazine we have asked several successful women about what tips they would give their younger selves. Words of strength, short-cuts (or not!) and some recommended books to read – we can’t turn back time but you can scroll down to have a read through our verbal time capsule!
Cel Amade: “You are not missing out”
Advisory Board member at Royal Holloway’s School of Business and Management, Cel empowers young adults and students through her personal development workshops.
You’re exactly where you are meant to be at this point in time to design your own world. You are not late. You are not lagging behind. You are not missing out.
Please stop beating yourself up because you feel you ‘should’ have this or that by now – that grade, that job, that car, that house, the money and the award will eventually catch up with you. Please believe this in your heart of hearts.
Wipe your tears and find comfort in your heart, knowing that you are exactly where you need to be. And the time has come for you to take responsibility for your life and business. Treat your business like a game – a strategic game with an action plan. A plan that honours who you truly are and what you believe in.
The destination you want to reach is one of many destinations in your life’s journey. It isn’t the final destination. There’s no need to burn yourself to exhaustion as you crawl, walk, run or fly towards your goals! Take care of your energy. Protect your heart and feed your mind with loving words of encouragement as you head towards your goals. Trust the process!
Dr Sharmila Anand: “You don’t have to suffer alone”
India’s representative at the 70th World Health Assembly and a senior member at the African Healing Foundation, Dr Anand knows a thing or two about globalization strategies. Founder of Inspera, she is an international consultant and bestselling author.
According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in every 4 children in India is depressed. Parental pressure and the academic stress faced by schoolchildren are just some of the causes.
Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, and it was also my biggest fear as a single parent to my teenage daughter.
Growing up, I had my share of uncertainties. Poor self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, fear of failure, of rejection – you name it, I had it – and the worst part was that I was suffering in silence.
I wish I had just one person who could tell me that it was OK to just be me and not pretend to be somebody else.
The advice that I would have wanted to give my younger self and all the young aspiring teens is as follows:
- Ask for Help – You don’t have to suffer alone. Please ask for help.
- Have the Right Mentors – For some reason, the right mentors can always see the hidden diamond inside you.
- Be Consistent – Work on yourself every single day. Become the best version of yourself.
- Be in the Right State of Mind – Find teenagers in the right frame of mind, aspiring and wanting to excel in life. They will help you stay motivated in your journey.
- Learn to Say NO– When you don’t want to do something, say NO. Don’t say YES and resent it inside.
Aldona Grupas: “Always keep moving”
Founder of the Albion Art Club and a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild, Aldona now calls the West Midlands home after moving to the UK from Lithuania. She is also an author and is currently working on a book about nursing.
As a young woman I dreamed of having my own business. I was interested in financial independence; I had shares in America. But as life went on, things changed. I’m a nurse by profession, but when my first job closed and I found myself out of work, I had to find something new to do. I opened two businesses: one was a qualification course for nurses, a limited company; the other was a health studio, providing massages, a sauna and beauty treatments.
I began a law degree – but again life had other ideas. The political situation in Lithuania changed, and after graduating I sold my businesses and moved to the UK with my husband. Here we started building life again, from scratch. Through founding a charity, I helped to bring the local Lithuanian community together. Again, life changed and dictated its own rules. So, I want to advise young people to be persistent, patient, and proactive – even when life brings its struggles.
Now I have published six books, and continue to write. Never give up: it’s fine to stop to breathe, but always keep moving. If you feel you need help, just ask, and there will always be an organisation who will help you – like the Global Woman Club.
Brigitta Hoeferle: “There are no overnight successes”
Founder of the German Language School and the Montessori School of Cleveland, Brigitta is powerful speaker and business mentor who has developed coaching courses for large corporations.
Advising your younger self can be a tricky one! Why?
Ask yourself: “Would I have been open to the kind of feedback that I have for you now – you young, innocent, cocky piece of work?” Hmmm…
It’s a bit ironic knowing that we can’t skip the most important lessons in life: overcoming challenges! Yes, we all want to avoid the hardships but without them, I would not be where I am today!
Just as there are no overnight successes, there are no skipping steps to living the life you desire.
Nevertheless, I have compiled a fast track checklist for the young, tenacious & ambitious ones:
1. Embrace the obstacles and the hard times – lean into them! Live by the credo: there is no failure – only feedback! Obstacles are opportunities to grow!
2. Always be aware of your choices. Ask yourself: do you live life at cause or do you operate in effect? Do you create your own reality and results or are you the victim of circumstances, feeling helpless when life happens to you?
3. Aim for excellence, not perfectionism. Be clear, concise and specific in defining the results you are creating and celebrate your accomplishments!
4. Develop an intrinsic drive for motivation. One that is anchored by your celebrations of success and which allows for your disciplined self to create those outcomes you desire. When executed consistently, it’s a cycle that creates positive momentum. Discipline will then take over whenever your motivation is at its lowest. That’s how you get there.
Irena Jakimova: “You are always enough as you are”
With an MBA in General Managment, multi-lingual Irena is founder of INSPIRIT Coaching – a company that has already developed a track record of training hundreds to boost their confidence and self-worth.
We don’t just remember our inner child, we also carry her in our hearts, bodies and minds. How is that manifested? Well, we may not be aware that many of the older beliefs and feelings we first developed at a younger age, actually still run our lives today. Even our businesses, too.
I have worked a lot and continue to work on healing and embracing my inner child, as well as the ones of my clients, and believe me, the biggest leaps and transformations come from that place.
Here are some words of love and reassurance for my younger self:
- Developing, learning and growing is an endless process. However, you are always enough as you are.
- You are allowed to make mistakes and discover new ways. You are allowed to make and spend money, you are allowed to serve the world with your work.
- It is safe to be seen, heard and successful. Your success doesn’t take away from others. It can only contribute.
- You don’t have to be perfect and don’t compare yourself. You are unique. We all are.
- Finally, if you ever feel doubt and find yourself asking “Who am I to …?” – remember, you are the one. Your capabilities and desires didn’t come to you by chance.
Dr Zahida Johal: “An original is worth more than a copy”
With 30+ years of dentistry and cosmetic experience, Dr Zed is a strong advocate for raising awareness around children’s mental health. She also recently founded ZSmile London – a business selling dental-grade teeth whitening products.
Here are some notes to my teenage self:
Believe in yourself from inside and out, even if no one else does.
Be yourself and love yourself because an original is worth more than a copy.
The only thing that stands between you and your goal is YOURSELF!
There are no secrets to success but self-belief, hard work and learning from failure.
Failure is good, so don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. This is what will lead you to success. Failing, getting up, learning and then going again.
Always remember that when it hurts and there are dark times, life is trying to teach you something. Life is not against you. So just let it pass and learn from it. Plus, since there’s nothing better than a good book, these are just some titles I would recommend to myself:
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Atomic Habits by James Clear
High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins
Dr Emily Letran: “The value of committment and discipline”
A dental practice CEO and entrepreneur, Emily has expanded into private coaching for professionals and is the founder of Exceptional Leverage Inc.
As you go through life, there will be times when an opportunity knocks on your door, and you are not ready. You may think, “I’m not good enough,” or “Why me?”
The fact is, sometimes we have to stretch ourselves to achieve our goals and to be ready for our opportunities. When I first came to America as a 13 year old refugee from Vietnam, I took on my first job opportunity as a newspaper carrier. I did not read and write English well so I could not even read the paper! I woke up every day at 5:30am and made very little money, but I learnt the value of commitment and discipline. These are the values that stayed with me as I grew up, went through school, and later moved into business.
When I started my journey as a speaker, I worked hard to get out of my shell and to overcome my limiting beliefs – I had an accent, did not look good, and had no experience. Then, my friend told me that TEDx in Walnut, CA., USA, was looking for a speaker. The opportunity was huge, so although I was a brand new speaker, I took on the challenge and applied. It was only my third time on stage! If I had waited to be ready, I probably would have missed that golden chance.
So the key to being successful is to be ready for whatever opportunity comes your way. Moreover, be courageous enough to take it. It is part of the high performance mindset that I believe we should all develop in our journey to success.
Faith Teope: “Trust your instincts”
Co-host of the Pull to Refresh show on Clubhouse, Faith is an advocate who specialises in the fight against domestic and financial abuse.
We live our lives and can choose to say, “I regret nothing”. While there is power in accepting the past and moving forward, I believe there is great value in adding this phrase to that sentiment – “I have learned much.”
It is no disrespect to the missed opportunities, but a glorification of what we have decidedly learned from that moment. I have heard people I respect say that even if they could turn back the clock, they would do it all over again, but make the same mistakes sooner.
Personally, if I could talk to my younger self, I would say listen to your body, your gut, your intuition. Have you ever wrestled with a decision and when you finally made the choice you suddenly felt peace? I would tell my younger self to turn up the volume on my instincts and turn down the outside noise. My instincts might tell me to read more, to try something I am scared of, to stay in or to go out, my instincts might tell me to reach out to this person or apply for that job.
Interestingly, I do not regret that my younger self did not understand the value of my instincts because now I do it with an unmatched vigor. Regret nothing. Learn from everything. Trust your instincts.