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12 Professionals Give Advice to Their Younger Self

What is one piece of advice you could give your younger self, just starting out in the professional world?

To help those entering the workforce, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best advice. From trusting your intuition to finding a mentor, there are several tips that may help someone just starting out in the professional world. 

Here are twelve tips these business professionals would give to their younger selves:

  • Stretch Yourself to Grow
  • Maintain Fruitful Relationships
  • Trust Your Intuition 
  • It’s Okay to Have Multiple Paths
  • Get Ready for the Ride
  • Don’t Worry About the End
  • Prioritize Yourself 
  • Keep Going
  • Try New Things
  • Find Yourself a Mentor
  • You Don’t Know Everything
  • Success and Money Are Different

Stretch Yourself to Grow

The advice I would give my younger self just starting out in the professional world is that it’s okay to not know it all, but don’t let that stop you from continually learning new things on your own or from others. You will frequently encounter things you haven’t ever seen before in life and in your career and may not know how to handle. That’s okay! The best thing to do is to talk to someone who does know more, like a mentor or a friend. Or, in the alternative, reach out to a co-worker and put your heads together 一 two heads are better than one. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself to grow. 

Eric Blumenthal, ZoePrint

Maintain Fruitful Relationships 

Be strategic about the relationships you develop over time. While some relationships may not stand the test of time, others can be life-long if you put in the effort needed to maintain them. But don’t just maintain any relationship. You’ll want to maintain the ones that add value and enrich your life personally and professionally. The relationships you maintain should be a part of your network that opens up access to opportunities for success now and into the future, so choose wisely. 

Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors

Trust Your Intuition 

I would advise my younger self to trust my intuition more. I would tell my younger self that those gut feelings were the key to finding clarity about the direction and choices I should make as a young professional. Moreover, I would advise him that following his intuition was the only way to remain authentic to his true purpose in both life and work.

Gregory Rozdeba, Dundas Life

It’s Okay to Have Multiple Paths

I wish that I was not focused on one path specifically. There are so many different professions and businesses to get into. I should have broadened my horizons and seen or tried different internships to get my feet wet. It is okay to have different paths.

Bari Medgaus, Stabili-Teeth

Get Ready for the Ride

My business grew at such speed I thought it would continue indefinitely. I wish I had known it would be a rollercoaster 一 I would have planned for lows as well as highs! Sometimes you’ll move quickly, and sometimes you’ll move slowly. Sometimes you’ll have the impression that you’re going round in circles. 

Alain Sobol, Red Sea Diving College

Don’t Worry About the End 

I would tell my younger self to not get upset or disappointed if the result is not in my favor or as I expected. The secret is all about learning from failure and moving on with our lives as quickly as possible. Realize that careers and lives won’t fall apart from mistakes. Instead, look at failures as stepping stones to success. And when you change your perspective and begin to view mistakes as opportunities for growth,  you expand your horizons a lot more.

Harry Morton, Lower Street

Prioritize Yourself 

Many times, when we enter the professional world, we start prioritizing work over everything else. We start sacrificing our health, relationships, and overall well-being. These things soon start making our lives miserable. Everything becomes so troubling that we can’t even give our best as a professional. So, it is important to prioritize yourself over everything else. 

If the work pays you well but is too stressful for you, just quit. If the work makes you feel suffocated and you don’t feel good in the workplace, don’t keep going. Find a better workplace that can help you create a better work-life balance and support your well-being. As you look after yourself first, you’ll be able to work as your best productive self and excel in the professional world too.

Jessica Robinson, The Speaking Polymath

Keep Working While in College

In the early days of my career, I started off as a retail manager while going to college part-time. As I began to see my peers graduate, I started to feel left behind. Then the market collapse of 2008 happened. While my friends were trying to get their first jobs in a non-existent market, I had a job in which I was able to put food on the table. Looking back, I also realize how much I learned about business during this period of my life. When I finally graduated, I found myself in a position of having a degree along with considerable experience to back it up. 

Steven Brown, DP Electric Inc

Try New Things 

When I first started my career, I was still somewhat stuck in the school mindset of following a rubric for success. I would tell my younger self to take more initiative and present fresh ideas. It’s okay to think outside the box.

Marissa Litner, SmartRent

Find Yourself a Mentor

Mentorship is incredibly important for success in life and in business. Mentors can help guide you through the corporate world and show you how everything is done. A good mentor is someone who cares about the well-being of the person they’re teaching and offers viable solutions to problems as they arise.

Fred Gerantabee, Foster Grant

You Don’t Know Everything 

There is so much to learn. Learn as much as you possibly can. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions either. Talk to colleagues and other professionals. Ask for advice. Realize that everyone has a different approach and a different style. The more people you talk to early on in your career, the more insight you will gather. Don’t be afraid to have these conversations early and often.

Jennifer Holtz, Second Wind Career Strategies

Success and Money Are Different

If I could, I would tell my younger self to stop chasing the money and start focusing on building businesses and relationships that last and are more meaningful. Making a lot of money does not mean one is successful. Success is waking up every day in pursuit of something you love 一 and that is impactful to those around you.

Sai Blackbyrn, Coach Foundation

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