Advice for my 14-year-old self

When I got my first degree, I made the decision when I was 18 years old. Everyone told me that I should chose something sensible, which is the best way NOT to live up to your potential that I've ever heard. It's a pretty lame response to the fear of not being able to support yourself. Why be mediocre at something sensible when you can be amazing at something ridiculous?

I love my first degree- but I remember feeling totally lost about why exactly I was doing it (it certainly didn't come from an inward desire to get a management degree, or any understanding of my own likes and dislikes.) My internal sense of direction took 23 years to develop.  When I think back to high school and college - I wish I had developed it a bit earlier. It's a horrible feeling to feel out of control.

If I could go back in time and talk to my 14 year old self, before college, before high school, and before the insanity people put high-school age children through, I would tell her:

  • Figure out what you want and what you love, and how you want to spend your time.
  • Get the best education money can buy in your field.
  • Don't worry about grades in high school. Spend time doing projects in your free time that you are interested in. If your studying gets in the way of that, work around it.
  • Go on Youtube and look up how to do your hair and stuff. People judge you on appearances and you've got to get it together at some point. 
  • Focus on doing things just for you that nurture you and are good for you. 
  • If you don't like what someone's telling you - stop listening.
  • If someone's preventing you from doing something, instead of assuming it's because you aren't good enough, find a different path that will lead you to what you want.

 This sounds like the making of a snotty and self-centered anarchist.  I'm a firm believer that the kinder and more understanding you are of yourself the more understanding and love you'll have for others. If I could have gotten to that realization sooner that would have been great - but the path I'm on didn't have that on it until a bit later. That's OK.

I don't find that being kind to myself gets in the way of my intense desire to help others - that desire is why I became a consultant in the first place. I can't seem to get away from consulting. :)