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 them (not their parents, friends, teachers or society). No more woulda, coulda, shoulda.
Trust your gut. I’ve learned over the years to trust my instincts, be myself and do what I think is right. I know people always say trust your instincts. But what does that mean? How do you do it. If there is something you are uncomfortable with doing, it’s your instincts talking. Face what is and think about your values to get the courage to do something about it.
It could be a guy who made an inappropriate comment or a woman who treats you poorly. A woman I worked with talked down to me all the time. And then one day when she made some shitty, demeaning comment to me and I finally said “Please do not speak to me in that tone. I find it unnecessary.” She backed down. It’s funny. I was so afraid to say something and then it worked. I was 23 and that really taught me a valuable lesson to always stand up for myself. I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman at work or with friendships. You know when you have something you’re not comfortable with. Just stay true to who you are.
Take the emotional out of it. When you do say something, nine times out of ten, you’re right and will avoid regret later on, but you may have to withstand a little adversity in the middle. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. But you have to approach the situation with maturity and calm. Tell yourself, “I’m sticking with my moral code here in a mature and unemotional way.” Then you can hang up the phone or walk out of the room and cry if you want to, but I really feel like that has served me well.
Take empowering risks. It took me until my mid-thirties to learn that taking risks was empowering. I became better because of having taken those risks. It could be in different ways. Whether it was introducing myself to someone I’d been wanting to meet or getting in a helicopter in the Grand Canyon. It’s creates good change in your life.