Poll Results: Career Advice I’d give to my Younger Self.

I polled people 35+ about what career advice they’d give to their younger selves. Here is the list.

  1. Take Risks
  2. Follow your passion/Go towards what Lights You Up
  3. Know Worth/Believe in yourself
  4. Build a Network of Support (coach, mentor, colleagues etc)
  5. Listen to your Instincts/Intuition (esp. in icky situations)
  6. Advocate on your own Behalf
  7. Talk about Salaries with Men
  8. Always Negotiate
  9. Don’t miss Life for Work
  10. Everyone feels like a fraud at the beginning. No one knows what they are doing, some are just more confident about faking it.

What I hear and see in this list is how important it is to prioritize self in all ways — your passion, what you enjoy doing, your worth (monetarily and beyond), your intuition, your relationships (personal and business). I have a hunch, even #1 (taking risks) is really taking risks on behalf of self.

Patagonia or a Cubicle?

It makes sense. For us “grown ups”, we have a bit of hindsight and experiences where we DIDN’T prioritize our needs over work. Maybe you skipped a vacation to Argentina because you thought you couldn’t reasonably ask for two weeks off (guilty as charged), or you skipped a friend’s wedding to work all weekend on a new business pitch. And you had the very real sense that you didn’t need to be there over that holiday or over that weekend, but there you were. (Maybe feeling a bit resentful about it, too!) Instead of celebrating your friend’s nuptials, or instead of wine tasting in Patagonia. And the times we DID prioritize life over work, well, the world spun round for another day, and no one flew out of orbit over it.

But it’s intimidating and daunting to advocate for yourself. It’s terrifying to negotiate based on your worth. (what’s even more terrifying though, is to negotiate yourself out of even having the conversation, meanwhile your counterpart is in there crafting his rationale for promotion).

healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships at the office.

It’s scary to set boundaries when our instincts say something is REAL amiss in a work dynamic. Esp. when you have no sense of how the person in a position of power (your boss) might react. The fear based ego voice tells us (especially women), “go along to get along” or “just deal with it.”

And it’s precisely because of our early inexperience that we feel intimidated and afraid about prioritizing self. That’s ok. This is where you begin to take risks (TAKE RISKS — most popular career advice, per the hive, btw!).

We ALL felt like frauds at the beginning (#10 is 100% true). And is some ways, we were. So what? It’s precisely the experiences you must risk tackling – especially the difficult ones – which will give you the knowledge and experience to more easily respond or go forth the next time. That’s what gives you the confidence – being BATTLE TESTED.

Take the very next step.

It takes guts. Hell yes, it does. Here’s the thing. Courage doesn’t enable action. The actual act of taking the risk is what builds courage.

That means taking one step. Even if it’s simply putting the meeting on the calendar with your boss to discuss promotion/vacation/new idea etc. I invite you to take one small step.

Get Battle ready in whatever way works for you. Hire a professional coach (shameless plug), develop a breathing technique, memorize and chant a mantra, or simply get clear on where you want to go next. And one step at a time…Go forth.

And as you do, my recommendation is to keep these three values close: purpose, passion, & relationships.

This is your life.

As the old saying goes, “on their death bed, no one ever says they wished they’d worked more.” Amen.

PS: did you notice “making more money” wasn’t in the top 10? although a couple of folks called out “put more money away early” which gives you more freedom to choose HOW you prioritize self.

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