FastCompany recently featured an article by Jane Porter that was all about what the founder of ModCloth would tell her younger self. I got to thinking about my own history and what I would tell my younger self, if I had the chance. For now, I know of no time machines that will allow me to go back and change things. But when the time does come for the chance to go back, here are the five things that will be at the top of my list to teach myself.
1. Risk sounding stupid for clarity.
There are so many times when I kicked myself for not asking more questions - and the truth is, the primary reason I failed to ask was the fear of sounding stupid. I would tell myself to give up on trying to be "cool" and just take a chance on asking the questions I want to ask. The risk of sounding stupid is not worth dealing with a lack of clarity later on and ultimately, I'm a lot cooler if I know what the f#$k is going on rather than trying to figure it out on my own. Ask more questions.
2. Invest in sleep.
I used to think all I needed for sleep was a solid four hours and I would be fine. This was a ridiculous notion. I've actually increased my productivity and happiness with my life by giving myself a longer time to sleep at night. I'm not claiming that I get eight hours every night, but I do try to make sure I get at least six. I've found that with more rest, I am sharper and quicker on my feet in the mornings during my most productive hours...and I need less caffeine to be "on" for meetings. Now, if only Aptify had nap rooms like the Huffington Post!
3. Read every night.
4. Know your why.
There were so many days that I spent not having a clear sense of why I was doing what I was doing for work. What a waste of time! I would tell my younger self to dedicate some focused thought to figuring out why I was doing what I was doing and what it meant to me and how it reflected my personal brand. There are so many questions that knowing your why can answer - like the projects to get involved in and the projects to run away from. And that is just the beginning.
5. Be your own best friend.
Talk to yourself kindly. Cut yourself some slack. What would you say to your best friend if they were having the same troubles/questions/issues? Do yourself a favor and be your own best friend. It will help you to be there for others on a more authentic level.