We asked 5 women in their 40s about things they wished they did differently in their 20s and 30s, hoping to inspire women to take a look at their actions and make any necessary changes to start improving their lives starting now.
1) “I wish I had not questioned myself and all my actions and feelings so much. I think as women, we always believe we are doing something wrong or responsible for things when they do go wrong. I wish I knew back then that it’s okay to make mistakes, and not to be so hard on myself.”
2) “I wish I had learned sooner than not everyone’s opinion matters. I would beat myself up about something mean or hurtful someone said, only much later to realize that what they think of me does not matter one bit. Ultimately, you have to learn to tune out the voices that are critical and not constructive, and let those voices that lift you up be the ones that resonate most.”
3) “I wish I would have taken more risks. I was always afraid to travel, to see the world, to meet people that might push me outside of my comfort zone. I made all the ‘safe’ choices, and now looking back, I believe your 20s are a great time to experiment and learn more about who you are. Of course don’t do things that put you at risk, but that trip to China with friends? Go!”
4) “Challenge yourself more. You can handle it, and will be better for it in the end. I was terrified of public speaking for so long, and all throughout my 20s and 30s it plagued me through my career and even when speaking in front of other parents at my kids school. Then when I turned 40 I decided to join a Toastmaster’s club, where you learn to give speeches and speak well publicly. It changed my life. I wish I did it sooner.”
5) “I wish I remembered to love myself more, and always. Don’t put yourself down. You are your own best friend, your own biggest cheerleader, and you can be your own biggest enemy. Too many women I know — who are incredibly bright, talented and wonderful — constantly put themselves down, never thinking they deserve good things. The universe feels that, and you get out of it what you project into it. As cheesy as it may be, BELIEVE in you. Always.”
What do you think of these bits of advice? What would you have changed? Tell us in the comments below!
For more articles that share bits of personal, lived wisdom, visit Challenge 2 Change.