Who knew that being interviewed by a 17 year old for a class assignment would bring me such perspective. I received an email requesting a 15-minute interview for a class assignment. The young girl's father is a friend of mine and very entrepreneurial and homeschools his daughter.
After the year of Covid, many of you have decided that you are not teachers, and online school is just about the worst thing since a snake in your shoe. This young lady was tasked with interviewing 10 business people via zoom and asking them 1 question… "what would you tell your younger self about life or business if you could go back?" I thought this through, and here were my answers:
1- Travel and see the world before the responsibilities of the job, family, and mortgage payments take hold. Don't go lay on a beach somewhere; go work for a few months in a country and immerse yourself in the culture! Earn some money, travel on, work some more, earn some money, and keep going for 6-8 months. I graduated from the University of MN in 3.5 years and jumped right into working. Gaining some life experience outside the classroom would have made me a better person and employee.
2 - Take more chances and make more mistakes. Nobody likes the perfect girl. Don't play it safe. Try more jobs, try more hobbies, and really dig for what brings you joy and what doesn't. Mistakes are meant to be learned from, not avoided.
3 - Work harder at friendships and maintaining relationships. I was so excited to leave high school and get out of small-town USA that I left many of my friends behind too. Once I got into the work world, I was focused on what was next and did not do a great job of keeping in touch or staying connected. A simple song on the radio or a phrase can bring you back 20 years to a memory of a friend or co-worker that you simply got too busy to stay connected with. Jobs and money will come and go, but the people you meet along the way are the good stuff, so don't bypass it.
I share this with you because it made me think about what I would say to my younger self, and heck, what would I say to myself right now, because it is surely not too late to take my advice! This was an excellent assignment and I will be passing this one on to my own kids.