tldr; We just celebrated the two-year anniversary of Plucky’s first product, a tool for managers to elevate the conversations happening in 1:1s. To date, we have sold more than 650+ packs. You can check out the 1:1 starter pack here.
I’m going to try something meta and answer this question myself. I’ve added comments along this post to show you the value of this kind of question and what’s happening underneath the convo. Managers, steal this — it’s a fun one!
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
I’m going to cut to the chase here, girl, because YOU. ARE. GOING. PLACES. You don’t need my advice on ambition, intuition or the power of people. You know deep in your heart that you’ve got what you need; indeed, at 20, you’ve already tapped into this to get you through a decent amount of tangled situations.
What you do need is a model to see what a nontraditional life looks like. Because that’s what you’re going to have.
Remember last semester at the study abroad fair, when you tried to convince your mom and dad that you should not only do a semester in France, but ALSO a semester in… Greece? And remember how your mom thought you were bonkers and your dad just shut you down because, wtf? Greece? Sounds expensive.
They were totally being normal parents. And you were starting to feel the call of things that don’t make sense on paper.
This brings me to my first piece of advice.
Advice #1: follow WHAT makes you curious.
It doesn’t matter what your resume looks like, kid. Curiosity about the matter will trump obligation every time. You will go in a million directions — from teaching ESL to User-Experience design to starting a business. All of your best decisions will be fueled by your true interests.
People will notice how much you’re INTO it — they’ll give you chances and they’ll pay you and you’ll attract many opportunities because hanging around with someone curious is addictive and super-fun.
Advice #2: follow WHO makes you feel alive.
Speaking of who you hang around with, here’s another thought. There’s a saying, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Use this metric ruthlessly. Fill your calendar, your Twitter stream, your volunteering and your dating life with folks you believe will change your average for the good. I was really optimistic about how many alive humans are out there but I will warn you: they are a rare breed.
Lots and lots (and lotssssssss) of humans are scared of change, nostalgic for the past and damning about the future. Wave hello to them, send birthday cards, smile vaguely. But do not let them into your daily operation.
Instead, choose folks who inspire the hell out of you. And then use your working hours to help cultivate more alive people, to help them find their way. You’re good at this.
Advice #3: there will be no final medal ceremony.
Use your vacation days. Save enough money to be responsible but treat yourself along the way. Grieve your regrets and then move on. Know what the word ‘fun’ means to you.
At least once in your life, you will think you might die before you’re old. You will realize that none of these societal tallies matter. They are traps and distractions from doing good work and loving as much as possible. Instead, wear your gold medals all along the way, share them, high-five others about their successes.
There is room in the world for everyone to win their own race.
Advice #4: take your time.
I end with this because I’m still working on it. Some days I want to logic out why I haven’t already written a book, incessantly reconfiguring my schedule to do it all. Get less sleep, Jen, so this will GET ACCOMPLISHED!
But “get accomplished” isn’t why you want to write a book anyway. In fact, “get accomplished” isn’t why you do anything. 20-year-old-Jen, you don’t yet know this but stamina is your second superpower. Your first is intuiting your path.
And this is how you’ll live an alive life, friend. Listen to your instinct — and follow it for as long as it’s valid. You will get everywhere you ever need to be — and whenever you arrive, you will be right on time.
Trust me. Trust yourself.