Lessons from a 25 year old student-athlete turned entrepreneur
What turning 25 has taught me.
I am so grateful for the opportunities and plethora of the lessons I’ve gone through while being alive for 25 years.
Some things on here I wish I knew earlier, which is why I thought to share this. This is the best way I could put my thoughts onto paper, I'm sure I'll come back later to edit this to add more clarity or a different view on it.
This was definitely one of those things that for me was better off being done than perfect. I don't doubt that I could have probably rewritten this post a million times (I already have re-written a bunch many times) but the deadline was May 9th and I did my best to finish it before I turned 25.
So for now, I hope you enjoy 😊
- Define success for yourself. Everyone has such different timelines, journeys, and circumstances, it wouldn’t do your path justice to compare it to others. What do YOU truly want to do? Is it really going on a vacation to cabo all year round because that’s what’s on instagram? Is it really a 6-figure salary living in a downtown condo? If you don’t define this for yourself, you’ll be going with the flow and through the motions and before you know, years will pass by before you realize you’re not where you want to be in life.
- Self-discipline is the biggest form of freedom. Get out of your own head. Change the way you think and react to the circumstances around you. Overthink? Make a list of all the things that can go wrong. Write off the things you can’t control and change the things you can control. Scared about what others think? No one cares as much as you think they do, if they’re making you doubt yourself, you need other people in your life. You will never feel more free than by taking control of your thoughts and doing what you know is best for you to live the life you want.
- Your habits are your life. All the small things you do everyday is who you are as a person. You know that saying that goes “how you do one thing is how you do everything”? Well, your daily actions dictate what your life looks like in the long run. After work do you sit on the couch and watch netflix or do you go for a walk? Do you go to sleep early enough for 8 hours or do you stay up and feel rushed the next day?
- WWTBVOMD. What would the best version of myself do? Continuing on the habit point above, everytime I come at a crossroads with what I know I NEED to do vs. what I WANT to do, I ask myself this question. Sometimes I respond with my want rather than my need, and that’s okay, but most of the time, I execute what I need to do in order to be closer and closer to that best version of myself.
- Surround yourself with those who inspire you. There are people directly or indirectly in your life that will make you feel like you can conquer anything. Find those people.
- Your thoughts are more powerful than you think. Your thoughts are what starts your actions. What you think, negative or positive, radiates out of your body. Change your thoughts to change the way you feel and act. Everyone has negative or self-doubting thoughts, it’s your responsibility to control them. Point 6b. BE YOUR BIGGEST HYPE PERSON. If you don’t believe in yourself, how could you convince other people to?!
- Ask for help. Honestly, take this one line in any way you need it. Whether it’s for your personal or professional life. You don’t know what you don’t know, and talking to other people that have been in your position or if you're feeling down not only saves you time from researching a solution but also helps increase the connection with other people around you and yourself. There’s literally no shame in not knowing the answer or leaning on others for help.
- Invest in learning about yourself. I don’t mean this by spending hundreds of dollars on clothes or fancy items in a “treat yo self” kind of mood. I mean truly learn your own strengths and weaknesses and be self-aware of your worth and the value you bring to the table. It could also help you choose the right career that you would love because you’re so good at it. Do you work best during the morning or at night? What are you motivated by? Understanding yourself helps you understand others and how you think and act differently than other people. Gallup’s Clifton Strength tests would be an awesome start. If you learn what your
- Figure out your why. Similar to defining what success means to you, align that definition with your why. Why you do things. Why some things bring you joy and why some things don’t.
- Put yourself first. You are only one person, you cannot do 193832 things by yourself. You can do A LOT, don’t get me wrong but you can’t keep putting out your full effort if you don’t give yourself enough energy. What energizes you? Usually it’s 8 hours of sleep, good food, and resting when you need it. You’ll realize that all those deadlines you may or may not have made for yourself are arbitrary and if some tasks spill over to the next day so that you can spend some time recharging, it’s not the end of the world. Yes work hard, but you can only work for so long without burning yourself.
- Exercise (almost) daily. This DOES NOT have to look like a 2 hour weight lifting session of a 90 minute spin class. Yes there are guidelines to reach for physical activity but getting out to walk or doing activities that get you moving instead of sitting in a desk or car all day. Your body will feel good and so will you.
- Your environment matters. That TV in your bedroom probably robs you of your sleep. The phone charging beside your bed probably means it's the last thing you look at before bed. Setting up your environment for success includes everything from your room to your house. If you want to reach your goals, make it easier on yourself by setting up your environment to match your goals. Ie. Want 8 hours of sleep? Put your phone further from your beside, get rid of that TV, etc.
- Stop taking everything at face value. There is a lot of BS out there. It’s easy, and I would argue, almost lazy, to take things as fact or true when said. Sometimes you need the full context to make a decision or you need to ask more questions to get to the true motive or meaning behind certain statements. Being more critical of what you see, hear, and read will help you decipher what is really important and what/who aligns with your values.
- Plan as if you’ll live forever, act as if you won’t. No one actually has their whole life figured out. Life will happen in many different ways, many things definitely does not happen according to plan. However, planning will help you towards a goal, it’s the roadmap. Roadmaps can change, but having a general direction of where you want to go in life will help you decide how to act. With that being said, don’t put stuff off forever, act quickly and with purpose. Embrace the unknown and do what you believe is best with the tools you have.
- Celebrate the small wins. It’s so easy to reach a goal or small milestone but completely downplay it because it’s not where you ultimately want to be. Stop that. You are so much further along than when you started. Celebrating the small wins acknowledges all your hard work and the fact that you are heading in the right direction.
- Practice gratitude. There is always something that could be better but striving for your best does not mean disregarding the good things that are currently in your life. Being grateful brings peace and the confidence in knowing that even if something doesn’t work out, you have so many other positive things in your life.
- Take risks, but minimize them. Anything you do is a risk, doing nothing is a risk too. Whenever you measure out the pros and cons of a decision and you see a big risk, take the steps to minimize it. Want to quit your job and start a business? The real risk is staying in a position you hate and wasting years in it.
- The worst thing that you think might happen, usually doesn’t. There are certain things you can absolutely not control. Once you are at peace with that, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. There are some things you can control and if you can, what would you do to make yourself feel more at ease?
- Life sucks sometimes. Everyone goes through something bad AT LEAST once in their life. Doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go after your goals or dreams. It just means taking a step back, evaluating your situation, potentially changing something up, and going after it.
- Stop rushing. Being patient as good things come to you is a virtue. You don’t need to reach all “life’s milestones” by a specific age, time, or date. Enjoy the process as much as possible because once you reach the milestone, you will realize it’s underwhelming and the true magic was getting there. “Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.” - Billy Joel
- Love is a choice. Emotions and feelings come and go. Just know, whoever you choose as your partner, you will have good, bad, and neutral days. The difference between flings and the real deal is that even when the lust goes away, you are consciously choosing to be with that person. Through their good, bad, and ugly. It’s why loyalty means so much, because no matter what you’re each going through, you’re prioritizing what’s best for your relationship (friendship or romance).
- You can control your perspective. You can be negative or positive. One makes the situation more miserable and doesn’t help. One helps you through the down times and keeps you in a better mood.
- BE NICE TO PEOPLE. How you treat others is a direct reflection of the person you are. Also, if people did nothing wrong to you, why would you want to be mean to them? This is a SUPER small world, and everyone is somehow connected, so be careful about which bridges you burn and how you act towards others. Also, if someone needs help and you are capable of helping, do it. You never know when you’ll need it in return.
- You’ll inherently always want to stay in your comfort zone. Your brain is wired to protect you which means when something feels uncomfortable, your natural inclination is to get out of that uncomfortable feeling. You’ll never grow as a person and reach your full potential if you don’t challenge yourself. Know that if you feel comfortable, it’s probably time to step it up.
- No one’s coming to save you. Stop settling for what YOU KNOW you don’t want. I know YOU know that what you don’t have or aren’t doing is what you truly want. If you want to change your environment, make a plan to do it. If you want to switch jobs, do it. If you want to drop a friendship that’s no longer serving you, do it. No one’s coming to do that stuff for you.
- This is a bonus one: Wear your favourite colour more often. Mine is blue and honestly everything just feels so much better when I wear it and stop caring about whether or not people think I look like a smurf. I normally wear my blue Extra Tough Strongband most days to keep my hair up and out of my face.
If you made it down this far, thank you for reading. I really do appreciate all the support I get from everyone with Hairstrong.
Here’s a token of my appreciation for choosing to spend your time reading something I wrote.
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Keep crushing your goals.