5 Things I’d Tell My 22 Year Old Self About Business


5 Things I’d Tell My 22 Year Old Self About Business

Earlier this week I was chatting to my (almost 20 year old) daughter about work, careers and business. I really love to hear about where she’s at with her studies and work life and what her plans are for the future. But it got me thinking about the stories she’ll be telling 20 years from now. Whether she’ll look back and wish there was some specific things she’d done, or whether she’d be satisfied with her path, up to that point.

The opportunity I see here is to allow yourself to think about what you would do differently if you were much younger but had all the knowledge and life’s experiences that you have right now. How would you make life and business easier on yourself so that you could get the very best results from your work and your team/s in the shortest amount of time possible? A mentor within if you will, and the opportunity to take your own advice.

When I was younger I’d often go to my dad with problems I was experiencing and he’d always tell me to imagine I had a twin, who was sitting opposite me. He would ask me what advice my twin would give me and I would almost always be able to look at the problem with a fresh perspective. A perspective that was slightly removed from the emotional aspects of the matter and one that could demonstrate insight and reason in a useful way.

These are the things I would tell my 22-year-old self:

1. Always Be Open to Learning

Learn as much as you can and always keep learning. Never think you know all you need to know. New learning is essential ‘til the day they put you in the box’, as my mum often says. And I agree. When you learn new things, you are always developing your world view and growing as a person. The same applies to business. Watch and learn from the businesses and people you are inspired by.

2. It’s Hard Work

Be committed to working hard at what you do and never give up. Don’t be afraid of hard work because when you give your all to something, it can be astonishingly satisfying.

3. Be Strategic in Your Choices

Become an expert at something or find a way to differentiate your business from the crowd. Look for the trends in the marketplace and be deliberate about what you choose to get involved in. Industries and professions come and go. We see this all the time. Not too many people require the services of a chimney sweep these days but there is a huge shortage in IT professionals around the world. Think about that right now and how you can tap into a marketplace that keeps you in business long term.

4. Be Innovative

Think about the things that have changed in the world over the past 100 years. So many developments in life and business, and at such a rapid pace. In this respect, it would be crazy to not consider what might be coming next. Look at the structure of workplaces in 2016. Loads of businesses, even the big corporates, are now moving towards what they call ‘action workplaces’ where no one even has their own permanent desk to go to in the morning.

10 years ago this would’ve been considered ridiculous. Now everyone works from a laptop and people sit in various spaces around the office, depending on the type of work they’re doing and the particular groups of people they’re best suited to working closely with, at the time.

5. Find something you really love and spend time doing it

Whether its woodworking, pottery, yoga, surfing, or any number of other leisurely pursuits, be sure to make a point of doing something that feeds your soul, regularly.

Now I challenge you think ahead 20 years. What will you be doing in 2036? Will you be doing the same stuff you do now, or will things have drastically changed? What do you want for yourself and the world in 20 years’ time? And what advice will you be giving your current self, 20 years down the track?

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  • Sharon Chisholm

    A great article Bronwyn and goodness, it’s hard to think if I would change anything if I could go back. I would probably tell my 22 year old self not to be so judgmental of others (something that has very much been a conscious choice as I’ve got older), to be authentic in the person I show to the world and to work on deep connections with others. Saying that, as a 22 year old I probably wouldn’t have listened to the “old” 46 year old person I now am.

    • Bronwyn Campbell

      Thanks so much for your comment Sharon. Totally agree on the being judgmental of others, it’s definitely one worth being deliberate about, and one I struggled with at that age too. And so true, not too many 22 year old’s are lining up to take our advice 🙂

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