What would the older me say to the younger me now that the experience has settled in? This is a very good question that evokes great sentiment—joy and sadness all in the same breath for me.
- As a former business owner who loved his business, the first thing I would say to my younger self would be to properly communicate without getting emotional. Emotions centered around strict opinion or a fear of being direct prevent you from speaking your mind in a respectful manner. Communicate to solve a problem, achieve a goal or to get clarity. This is a vital part of life in and out of business I had to learn the hard way.
- “Seek to understand before I am understood,” this is a key ingredient in the business world but also in life as well. You can be smart with a world of experience, but in life and in business you need to interact with people. People are diverse and unique. They have their own needs and challenges, which may impact you on some level be they business or personal.
- Focus more on being the best version of yourself as opposed to trying to improve everyone else. In business, be the best in the world at what you do and focus on your core principals. As a person, be a better you every day. This is a concept I was familiar with, but has been so elegantly laid out to me by our Director of Software Development over the past 5 months.
- Have self-esteem and confidence in yourself immediately. This is easier said than done. As a younger person I was a great athlete and when it came to sports this was a non-issue. As an only child though, I lacked in some key areas of my personal life—I just wasn’t sure of myself. To overcome this, I invested a great deal of time shoring up these holes, gaining knowledge and experience until my confidence inflated. I am not suggesting cockiness, but you have to be confident.
- I have many great friends who tend to look back on the past with great emotion. I enjoy reflecting on the past and I admit I shed a tear or two myself but the direction we all have to row in is forward. The present and the future is the reality of things. Think about the past, reflect on the great times and the times that may not have been so good. Don’t repeat your mistakes, and improve on and share the positives you have experienced. Don’t get caught up in yesteryear… there are better days ahead.
Just thinking about this exercise has stirred up many memories but it has also illuminated the present and the future thoughts, dreams and goals I have.