If I Could Turn Back Time...
This weekend is the birthday of my BFF of over 25 years. After 25+ years of friendship, we have plenty of good times and bad times we shared. But are there things I would “do over” or wish I would have known to follow? It got me thinking, “What words of wisdom or advice would I tell my twenty-something year old self? Lauren and I actually saw Cher together at least 20 years ago in Vegas and she has always been one of my favorites since the 1970s when I had waist length hair just like her. So in the famous words of Cher, “If I could turn back time…if I could find a way” what would I do?
There are so many topics to choose from…big things, career paths to follow, family advice, simple things. But in the interest of time and length of this blog post, I went with the first 10 that I thought of off the top of my head in this list called: Top 10 Things I Would Do If I Were Twenty-Something, Again
Don’t drink (or smoke, take pills, text, etc.) and drive – In the age of Uber & Lyft, there is no excuse for not using these ride services. Believe me, I know from first-friend experience, it is worth the $25 Uber ride to avoid a DUI and the over $40k all-in costs over the next decade (in fines, legal, job hours lost, loss of license, and increase in insurance costs). JUST DON’T DO IT.
Use sunscreen daily – My girlfriends and I went to college at San Diego State University (Go Aztecs). So we had a “minor degree in beach and sunbathing with a major emphasis in drowning ourselves in baby oil." What do we have now from these college efforts? One friend who had and beat skin cancer and all the rest of us battling sun spots. Again, JUST DON’T DO IT.
Do what you love and love what you do – Easier said than done. What I mean here is don’t always go for the job that sounds or looks good on paper. At least 2x times in my career I took jobs for either the money OR the “growth opportunity” and absolutely hated the jobs. Also, besides sleeping you will spend more of your time at work than anything else, so doesn’t it make sense to make it something worthwhile to do every weekday.
Timing IS everything, so don’t give up – “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it” is my favorite, self-promoted quote about starting a digital talent management business before everyone knew what the hell that is. We all love an underdog story. So what if it took you three times to get the promotion, or girl/guy, house of your dreams, job position, etc. Your time WILL come.
Know your worth – Again this is not easy, but there are many references online to tell you how to negotiate and/or leverage your job position and/or a raise. You also will have former bosses, coaches, and mentors (more to come on that) to use as reference. Harder still is knowing your worth in a relationship. But, set at least 3 benchmarks/dealbreakers that he/she should value about you and if he/she doesn’t, “Bye Felicia”. And stick to your guns…don’t negotiate against yourself it’s not “ok” to cave in to your own self-worth!
Start saving your money now (for a house, a trip, retirement—a goal purchase) That old “compound” interest is a “bi-atch”, but it is true and you need to save over time for it to work. Whatever it is you can afford, put it away in a 401k or 529 plan for your kid’s college or invest in a balanced portfolio. Trust me on this one, fifty bucks a paycheck can make a difference…
Love yourself – Should be an obvious one, but can you expect others to love you if you don’t? Nobody is perfect so stop trying to be…remember “Love Trumps Hate”.
Find a mentor – Ask somebody, anybody you admire to be one for you. And remember a mentor doesn’t have to be somebody older, wiser or more experienced. You are looking for somebody who you admire and respect to tell you about their experiences, anecdotes and advice. A mentorship can also be mutual.
Understand and embrace what it means to be part of a team – Cliché as it is: “There is no I in Team”. It takes a village, duo, family, team, partnership, corporation…nobody expects you to do it all. BUT do your designated part to the best of your abilities on each team in your life. You shouldn’t have to do more than 50% of anything team oriented including a marriage or partnership. Of course there are compromises to everything, but if you are doing more than your share, how can the team be successful?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Most of this is FEAR based. And F-E-A-R, like any four-letter, curse word, is something we all experience. Remember though that to “err is human; to forgive, divine”. And who doesn’t like “make-up sex”, “forgive me dinners” or “I am sorry presents”.
So to my millennial friends and family, I hope you will seriously heed some of this advice and won’t throw “shade” for the Cher pic. And to my “Homey”, Happy Birthday and let’s promise to make the list during your birthday lunch of “what advice I would tell our middle-aged selves” because in 25 years when we are in our in 70s I may not be able to remember without a cheat sheet.
Peace and Love,