Good advice for my younger self…
It’s amazing what we discover with the benefit of acquired wisdom, and sometimes I’ve wondered what I would tell my younger self if I had the chance to send some advice back in time. For the purpose of this exercise, I’ll ignore the whole science fiction scenario of disrupting the space-time continuum, and share some thoughts on what I would share with my younger self if I had the opportunity (and was willing to disrupt the universe as we know it)…
So here it is, from a slightly older me, with some advice to my younger self.
Dear younger self…
Given that you’re the younger version of me, and a little more prone to be put off by this kind of advice, I’ll refrain from calling you impulsive or ignorant of due diligence… but I feel that is quite important that you try your best to understand the following (you’ll certainly make life a little easier for both of us if you do).
1. Read more
Okay, so I realise you’re amused at reading something telling you to read more (yes I remember the time in grade 9 that you wrote on your pencil case “You can’t believe everything you read” – sorry to say your humour only gets more corny, or should we say, excellent, as you age), but your greatest success is going to be fueled from what you are willing to learn from others.
Much of your ‘success’ and ability to reach for new things along the way, is going to be fueled by what you read… there are some books that will hallmark pivot points in your life, where you can take something on board that will enhance the quality and direction of your life. Other books are going to be like fruit and veggies… they’re just good for you, so get them often (by the way, you’ll appreciate good food the older you get too… till then, go easy on the fast food).
The fact that you’re reading this, is most encouraging. You’re on the right track, keep going…
“You are the same today that you are going to be five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read.”
– Charles Jones
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” ― Margaret Fuller
Over 400,000 book titles for your iPad. As low as $0.99/book!
2. Hang out with the best people you can find
Added to the reading, there is nothing quite like hanging out with great people… who coincidentally, will often recommend great books (funny how that works).
Look for people who are, or have done something you would like to be or emulate, and find a way to catch up for a coffee or lunch (it’s amazing who you can catch up if you offer to buy lunch). Creating contacts and networks of people you can learn from, is by far, one of the most enviable skills you can ever develop.
Now as you do this, if it seems a little daunting, intimidating or scary to ask to catch up, that’s all the more reason to ask. People who have worked their up are more often than not, willing to those who are keen to learn, you just have to ask.
In the event that you’re not sure how to ask, look for a way to add value… is there a cause they are passionate about, can you create a valuable connection for them? Connecting people that are of value to each other is probably one of the greatest growth hacks ever… the perfect win-win and sure to establish opportunities to spend time with some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet.
This same principle should also be used for relationships, career and business decisions, in fact, anything that involves people (p.s. don’t forget you’re part of ‘people’). A great life is about who you get to share it with, so go for the best, and remember to acknowledge the greatest in those around you… no one ever sinks when elevating others.
3. Ask Better Questions
Since you’re going to spend a number of years in sales, listen in close, I’ve discovered the secret to crazy good results in sales, job interviews, friendships, and pretty well everything…
Ask great questions!
Others don’t really care about what you can tell them, but ask a great question, and you’ll open the most amazing doors. In terms of sales results, the same is true… ask the right questions, and the sale will make itself. Your role is to engage, not to convince… let others convince themselves, it’s easier.
When you go for an interview, make sure you have some questions… if you don’t, you probably don’t deserve the job, as I’m not sure you really want it bad enough. Until you want to ask a question to find out more, you’re not really ready to add value, and as I mentioned before, in the people game, it’s about adding value.
So whenever you want more, you’re feeling stuck, or just want to see what can be done… ask a new question. You can’t get new stuff with old questions, so get curious, ask better questions and let life be fun.
Just out of curiosity, what question would you like to ask your older self?
The great part is, if you’ll just keep reading more, hang out with great people and learn to ask better questions, we’ll have a great foundation to build on. So if you can start on these straight away, it won’t be long before you see just how great it is to be the you that does this.
Would you like more of the advice to my younger self?
Now I’m not sure if this is just because I’m getting older (I’ve never been this old before), but there’s a few other bits of advice I’d like to give to my younger self…
So, perhaps a part two of this rambling is in order. What do you think?
Before I write that though (already have a few cool notes that you may like), it’s obvious that this is not really so much for my younger self, but more for those of us who care to look at what we can glean from the insights of others… with this in mind, I’m interested to know your thoughts… what would you share with your younger self?
You’ve read some of the advice to my younger self, there’ll be more soon, but till then, I look forward to your comments below…