Originally posted in LinkedIn Pulse: In the series (#If I Were 22), professionals share what they’d do differently — and keep the same.
To be fair, 22 Year Old me was doing far better than he really deserved to be.
Especially considering how little I actually knew and the fact that a number of lucky breaks had made me feel quite successful (which I most definitely was not).
This perceived success went straight to my head – a kid like me wasn’t supposed to be doing this well – and made me think that everything worth having was just going to drop into my lap with very little effort.
My time was shared between a sales job, a rock band and the Pub – although probably not quite in equal measures.
And I had no idea what real success looked like or how to achieve it.
To be fair, if I’d known what to read, I’d have probably read it – but I didn’t have a clue – and the recipe for success was hardly a conversation topic that cropped up with the people I hung around with.
So…….if you’ve got a time machine handy, I’ll jump in, jump back and deliver these bits of wisdom to a young man, and save him at least ten years of climbing in the wrong direction (and while I’m there, I’ll probably have a glass of that beer they don’t brew any more at my old local).
Make Sure Your Dreams Are Enormous
Don’t dream small, dream massive!
It’s pretty much guaranteed that someone – just like you – has already managed whatever it is you’re dreaming.
Go to bed at night dreaming it – and make sure you dream it with confidence too.
If it’s what you really want, there’s no reason it won’t happen.
In fact, because you have no idea what you’re really capable of, even your biggest dreams are only a tiny percentage of what’s actually possible and the world’s a lot more generous than you could ever imagine – as long as you ask it the right questions.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford
Draw a Map
Start from a day in the future, one year after all your dreams have become a reality and then work backwards.
Day by day, month by month, year by year – work backwards through your emerging success, right back to where you are now.
Workout all the people you’ll need to know, everything you’ll need to learn, the places you’ll need to go – then put them in the right order so that you can turn them into a map and take the journey.
“If your ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take gets you to the wrong place faster.” Steven R. Covey
Step Off the Cliff
Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone, if it wasn’t you’d already have it.
Don’t walk around with a pointless map in your pocket – use it, follow it, take the journey, start now – right now.
Forty really isn’t as far away as you think it is.
“You can’t plough a field by turning it over in your mind. Either you get out there and plough it or it doesn’t get done.” The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club
Hang Out With Successful People
There are reasons they’re successful.
They’re not all over-privileged, spoilt brats or chancers who just got lucky – they’re just like you – except that they’re a million times better at turning a pound into a million pounds than you are.
Listen, you don’t have to try and make friends with people you don’t like (in fact don’t) – there’s bound to be some who you’ll get on with.
But don’t ask them for the secret – there isn’t one – just listen to what they’re talking about – and when you’re ready – join in the conversation.
Don’t pretend you know everything, you’re not fooling anyone – it’s fine to just be yourself and settle in.
Oh – and by the way – avoid the criminals.
No really – make sure you avoid the criminals.
“If you go out looking for friends, you will find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you will find them everywhere.” Zig Ziglar
Put 10% of Your Money Away
With the time you have available to you – and the beauty of compound interest – that tiny amount will do you the world of good – and in a much shorter time than you think.
When it’s time to invest or spend it – you’ll know.
“Put each coin to labouring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to the income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse.” The Richest Man in Babylon
Learn To Do It Properly (Rather than Wing it and Hope for the Best)
And by “IT” I mean everything that you put your hand to.
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.” Jim Rohn
Don’t Listen to the Lobsters
True friends will be overjoyed at your opportunities for success.
But lobsters like to pull other lobsters down to the bottom of the tank.
When you start to rise the lobster people will appear and mock your trajectory.
As you slowly start to leave your old groups and gangs, the lobsters will try and keep you down, keep you with them.
When you do well in your career the jealous and incompetent lobsters will try and belittle your achievements to cover their lack of talent and ability.
Those lobsters aren’t your real friends and you won’t miss them – crack on and change the world.
“If you are influenced by the opinions of others, you will have no desire of your own.” Napoleon Hill
Most of all – Try not to take it all too seriously.
You’re 22 – Go and have a ball.
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