Three Gifts For A 20-Something – Find Your Onlyness


Emily Ladau, Natalie Zfat, Nilofer Merchant, Natalia Oberti Noguera, Sabrina Hersi Issa

What three “gifts” would you give a 20-something if you were a “Forty-Godmother”? Here 40-somethings share three wishes to help a 20-something get a head start on the confidence to make decisions that are right for themselves. No more woulda, coulda, shoulda. 

This past Friday we hosted one of our Women@Forbes #bossmovesbookclub with Nilofer Merchant, author of Onlyness, Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World, an inspiring guide to how to mobilize people around your ideas and make a difference in the world. Today I’m sharing a few wishes that I took away from the discussion that Nilofer with our reader panel, Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of Pipeline Angels and host of the Pitch Makeover podcast; Natalie Zfat, social media expert; Sabrina Hersi Issa, President at Be Bold Media; and Emily Ladau, Disability Rights Activist

1. See your “too much” as your true north. Has anyone ever told you that you were too much — too aggressive, too weird, too loud, too curious? Instead of thinking that “too much” is a negative you need to fix, zone in on what it is. It usually taps into something you feel passionately about. Instead of changing, set about to change the world to believe in what you see.

2. Care less about belonging. Onlyness is about rejecting otherness. Rejecting that pull to try to fit in with what all the other people are doing and instead, do you. It’s a truly freeing feeling when you stop caring about what other people think you should do and start doing what you truly care about. That is when you will find the confidence to push your audacious ideas and beliefs forward to “be the change you want to see in the world”.

3. Look for the onlyness in others. Think relationally vs hierarchically. Onlyness is about everyone. It’s not about being the only one on top, it’s about creating a distributed network of people who each have their “onlyness” to bring to the table.

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