27 Life Lessons That Improved My Leadership Skills in My 20s
Last week was my 27th birthday and I must say, it was a birthday like no other.
COVID has shed a dark cloud over many things in life right now and honestly I didn’t think my birthday was going to be any different. But, lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends and family who went above and beyond this year to show me how much they care. Despite not being able to be in close proximity to them, I have never felt more love and recognition.
I am super thankful to be surrounded by such a beautiful family and an amazing group of friends. All of them have played a significant role in shaping me into the person I am today. So, in celebration of them I decide to write out 27 lessons I have learned from their guidance and words of wisdom over the years. I hope you find some wisdom in these words and can use their advice to help you on your own path to success.
27 Lessons That Helped Me Find Success in my 20s:
1. Stop worrying about the things you haven’t done.
Worrying about the shot you haven't yet taken is like throwing your spirit in prison for a crime it didn't commit. 🤯
2. Build your own community.
If the only thing you ever do is create a genuine sense of belonging with others, you've accomplished all there is to do as a leader.
The best leaders are the ones who create belonging among the people around them. Learn how you can show up as a leader and build community around you in my blog: What New Beginnings Taught Me About Community Building.
3. The people in your life make all the difference.
You share the same birthday as 21 billion people and yet it is your friends and family that make you feel like the world is about you that day.
4. People are inherently good.
Always assume the best, we are not savage animals by nature. We are peaceful and communal. All of us need each other so let's all remember to look out for one another more often.
5. Stress comes from a lack of priorities.
It’s not more time that you need, it’s better prioritization. When we know what our goals are, it makes it easy to manage and focus our time to what matters most. Want to learn how to better prioritize? Check out my blog to Master Your Priorities so You Always Feel Ahead.
6. Time is relative.
Time is relative to the emotions you're feeling in the moment.
By this I mean when we are feeling down we have the impression that time drags on forever and when we are happy time passes us by too quickly.
So the next time you’re feeling down remember time is relative, the feelings you’re having will pass, and those feelings won’t stay with you as long as you think.
But also remember to soak in the good moments. Hold onto them and appreciate them as long as you can because they will always slip through your fingers faster than you want them to.
7. How to measure a year . . .
Don’t lie, I know you all just sang “Seasons of Love” in your head 😉
I have finally found the answer to RENT’s age old question and no I don’t recommend measuring it in minutes, daylights, sunsets or cups of coffee.
Instead I encourage you to celebrate your next 365 days with the many paths you’ve crossed. Take the time to reflect on all of the people you’ve met and all of the accomplishments you have made in a year.
Congratulate yourself for all of the successes you have received and choose to learn and grow from the stumbles along the way.
8. Adopt a growth mindset.
Perfection may not be unattainable but finding our best selves is and the only way to do that is through growth and learning.
Live life with an open mind and realize where you can improve and what you want to work on.
You’re only going to get better if you try so might as well hurt. As our Mom’s used to tell us, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Not convinced yet? Check out Carol Dwek’s Ted Talk: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.
9. When are you the happiest?
Figure it out, don’t judge it, and then repeat it! And don’t just do it a few more times in a month, do it a few more times a week.
If singing makes you happy then who cares how you sound, just belt it out for the world to hear. Joy is underrated and so are the little things in life so don’t be afraid to repeat them more often.
10. Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional
We can’t control our age, but we can control our maturity level.
There are definitely times where maturity is necessary but don’t let that stop you from kicking back and letting loose once and awhile.
Take a tip for the kindergarten kids and make fun out of nothing. Enjoy the simple things and never stop learning … I would recommend getting out of school eventually though. 😲
27 Life Lessons That Improved My Leadership Skills in My 20s.
11. Be your own Guru.
Nobody can give you better advice than yourself.
Listen to your thoughts, emotions and what your body has to say. If you really want to move to a new city don’t let someone else’s advice hold you back, go for it!
In the end it is your life and you know what you want out of it so go on and have the courage to take it.
12. Nothing in life is black and white - embrace the concept of fluidity.
Rules are meant to be broken and the only absolute is that there are no absolutes.
Everything in life is in shades of grey … and yes many more than 50 shades of it I might add. 🙄
Take the time to notice the fluidity of life, soon you will notice that every truth lies in between two opposites.
13. Life is a series of multitudes.
There are multitudes in every person and everything in life.
Multiple truths co-exist within our reality and can’t be categorized.
Our job is not to classify and sort, but to accept and empathize with the multitudes of each person.
14. Always make time for lunch.
… and never eat alone. Everything in life is better shared, yes even your fries Joey.
15. You are the people around you.
Now usually the saying goes that you are what you eat, but you are also defined by the company you keep.
That means that if you have a tendency to hang out with a bunch of narcissists you will likely be thought of as one too.
In other words, pick your friends wisely. It can make a huge difference in your life.
In fact, the people you surround yourself with make-up one of the 4 most important factors to predictions of success in your life. Interested in knowing how? Check out my Youtube video, The 4 BIGGEST Factors That Make Up Success.
Choose people who push you to be a better person and help them in their journey too.
Don’t just build a group of friends, build a team.
16. Take care of your body.
You’re not going to be young forever and even when you’re young you’re not unstoppable.
Eventually your knees will give out if you don’t take care of them and yeah your risk of dying in a car crash dramatically increases if you’re not wearing a seatbelt when you’re young or old.
Take care of yourself, you only live once so might as well drag it out as long as you can.
17. Write little thank you notes to people.
There is no purer way to show your appreciation.
If you don’t believe me check out the concept of Love Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher.
18. When are you most at peace?
When you achieve peace you reduce stress and anxiety which has numerous health benefits both physically and psychologically. It also increases awareness and be present in the moment.
With so many benefits why would you want to avoid it? 🤷
Whatever brings you peace is something you should focus on and prioritize in your day.
If it’s running, then make sure you get a run in every morning, if it’s drinking tea trying adding it to your morning or evening routine.
Regardless of what it is that brings you calm and serenity in a day, just take the time to practice it as much as you can.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of meditation? Check out the 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation.
19. You grow as you go.
It’s ok to mess up and make mistakes so long as you use them.
Take those moments of failures and turn them into inflection points.
Choose to see them as opportunities for improvement so that you can become a better person than you were yesterday.
Yeah sometimes you’re going to be embarrassed about what happened, but that only means you’re growing. Brush it off, laugh at it and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Not sure how to train your brain to see progress instead of failure? Watch my Youtube video, “The Failure Story” to find out how. You can also try exercise: Reverse Gap - Rewire Your Brain with Neuroscience.
20. Your potential is greater than where you’re at right now.
The expectations you have of how life should be are more powerful indicators than your willpower.
Just because you feel like you’re not where you want to be in life doesn’t mean you can’t get there.
All you need is some faith, trust, and pixie dust right? 😅 Alright so maybe the pixie dust isn’t legit, but a little hard work never hurt anybody.
21. Be a Realistic Optimist.
This is the concept of the Stockdale Paradox by Jim Collins. The idea that you must maintain faith that you will succeed despite the roadblocks that you come across along the way.
Being purely positive is false. Not everything in life is sunshine and flowers so don’t be afraid to dream, but be realistic about it.
Am I ever going to be an astronaut? … NO!
There’s no sense going after something I KNOW I can never attain. But, can I achieve running 10km? YES! So that’s a goal I can go after.
Still confused? Check out the concept from an expert of Good to Great to see what I mean.
22. Hug people more often.
Nobody lives forever so enjoy them while they’re here!
23. Logic isn’t enough to get you by.
Emotion is an essential piece of the human experience.
To deeply understand something we must feel it, empathize and emotionally connect to it.
Rationale will never be enough, you must emotionally know it too.
24. Life isn't a journey.
The point is that there is no destination that you need to reach in life, instead life is a tune to be enjoyed while it is being played. 🎶
It’s a song, so sing it loud and sing it proud. Dance and spin, enjoying it as much as you can because you can’t play it on repeat
For further inspiration check out Alan Watts’s video Life is NOT a journey.
25. Play more.
It is the pleasure of joy that brings us all together most easily.
What if there is no other meaning to life than simply enjoying it?
Maybe we should take a few notes from children and learn to stop taking things so seriously all the time.
After-all, who has more fun and more friends than a kid in kindergarten?
26. We are the ones that get in the way of our own dreams.
Your limiting beliefs are not facts, they are what you tell yourself to be true. But they’re lying to you, so stop listening. 🙅
Question them and find different perspectives. Challenge yourself to prove them wrong and believe in what you find.
27. Fall in love with the process.
By focusing on process goals we are able to stay actionable and accountable which allows us to feel productive. It also prevents us from falling into the trap of success where we stop when we reach victory.
This is important because if we stopped every time we were successful at something all of us would have only ever learned to walk.
In the end the joy of results fade, but the pride in your efforts and ambitions never do.
If you want to learn more about process goals and how to use them check out this blog: Mind The Process, Not The Results.
I use these tools to help me show-up everyday, in both professional and personal walks of life.
These words of wisdom have given me the courage, lightness and appreciation to become an active participant in my own life rather than an observer in the stands.
They are a collection of ideas, thoughts, realizations, and learnings that have not only helped me shift my mindset, but also my actions.
It is my hope that these 27 lessons are as helpful to you as they were to me.