I’m sure you’ve seen the series of celebrity photos that have gone viral. Photos of famous people like Harrison Ford, where there’s a current photo of him posing with his younger self. The photos remind me of the age old question, “if you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?” I would love to go back and hold my own hand through the tough times or help younger me make better decisions.

Actually, I just wish I could go back in time and actually be the younger me, with the knowledge that I have now! But then I would really miss things like my iPhone. Or! Perhaps, imagine my older self, let’s say 10 years from now, going back in time to visit me today and give me advice now! Hummm. Nah. I think I’d rather be younger and smarterBut, I digress.

So if it were possible to go back in time, what advice should my future self tell me? “Set yourself up to meet your goals.” Do what I need to do to get to my goals in 5 to 10 years. “Save your money!” How much money have I wasted on things I never needed? 

If my goal is to be a major player at a high profile company, what am I doing right now to get to the first that goal? 

First, we need to write out a list of things to-do, checking off the achievements. Noting that to get where I want to be, may take some time. And it may take baby steps. I may have to add to the list. Take away from the list. Here’s a small example I first wrote out a few years ago:

1) Shadow my boss(es).

2) Research.

3) Learn from others…even my competitors.

4) Find out what other departments, other than the one I’m working in or want to work within, are doing.

5) Network with others. 

6) Listen to your elders.

7) Be bold and go after what I want.

And here’s something I imagine my future self telling the, right-now me. Something we should already know by virtue of the business. Market yourself. You are the product. Stand out. Stay positive. Oh, and be careful what you say on social media. DUH.

But there is one more thing that is equally as important. You see, all this has been about work. Building my career. I’m sure my future-self would also tell me today, the same exact thing I would tell my past-self. Something I can never get back. And I know it’s a cliche’. But the story of what the guy on his deathbed would say is so true. And I never want to be that guy who regrets all work and no play. 

I so badly want to tell my younger self to set another type of goal. Do everything you can to soak in real life outside of work. Because the older you get, the next 20 years will fly by faster than the last 20 years. 

Don’t stop making friends. Meet new people. Schedule fun. Save money for adventures. Spend quality time with your family and friends. I miss my mom and dad more than I will admit. 

And here’s one thing that hits me. Every. Single. Day. Even after a great fulfilling work day where I achieved so many goals and deadlines. At night, after a very long day at work, I just come home to an empty house full of furniture. 

I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self one more thing. Allow yourself to fall in love again. 


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