advice to your younger self

The cost of well meaning, poor advice for busy executives

Ask most people the best way to get a raise, a promotion or a better opportunity and chances are they’ll say: “Just go to more networking events!”

Or - “Just get more active on LinkedIn!”

Or - "Work hard! Volunteer for more projects! Cycle with the boss!”

Somehow it’s as if randomly working hard on a whole heap of stuff, something will somehow magically help you find your next perfect opportunity.

If you’ve ever tried that approach, I’m betting you paid the price in terms of feeling worn out, worn down and then falling back into the trap of doubting yourself again.

Rejection is exhausting. And so is well meaning, poor advice. When you don’t know how to discern the difference between great or poor advice, it’s no wonder people continue to play a waiting game.

You're likely already working hard enough, so it's time to work smarter instead. And my favorite piece of advice is, “Stop being busy, start being strategic".

So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.
— Caterina Fake

And that’s what this article is all about today.

There was a blog I wrote a year or so ago about finding the sweet spot, applying the Goldilocks Principle and using the Minimum Effective Dose.  It’s still relevant today.

But if you don’t have time to read the blog, then simply ask yourself this one question every day ...


“What’s the #1 thing I can do today that will move the dial on my goals?” 

Then just do it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sometimes less truly is more, and leaves you feeling stronger, more certain and far more confident about your ability to make better decisions.

Hope is not a strategy and knowledge is no longer a form of power.  It’s what you do with both your hope and knowledge that truly makes a difference.

Remember - smart and savvy truly is the name of this game! 

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution #executivebrand

Expertise + strategic action = priceless

Email me if you have a strategic success story you want to share with me!

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Advice to my Younger Self

I wrote this article as part of my preparation to speak and emcee (MC) at the 2015 APAC Women in Leadership and Management Summit (see summary here). The theme of the Summit was Advice to My Younger Self and the program liberally sprinkled with sessions about mindset, courage and confidence along with technical case studies in leadership, customer service and leading culture change projects.  So in preparation I scoured the interwebs for ideas, videos and some inspiration to see if there are any common themes or threads and also put a call out to my readers - you. 

WireTap: How to Age Gracefully

CBC Radio's WireTap is saying farewell. In this special video message, people of all ages offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts.

Posted by CBC Radio on Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Helen Mirren - need I say more?

Helen Mirren - need I say more?

The internet is FULL of advice to your younger self. It seems that hindsight truly is 20:20 vision. 


So to keep with the theme of encouraging women to step up, speak out and take charge here are some thoughts from my own community of readers plus a couple of goodies that you might enjoy.

Dear younger self- when you decide that you will risk everything for happiness, that’s the point where you will start to grow and understand that every challenge makes you stronger and wiser.
— Alison
Go with your gut and don’t be influenced by people that tell you it will be too hard, you know better than anyone else what you’re capable of.
— Rennae
Dear younger self … don’t waste time trying to change who you are… invest time in being the best leader you can be.
— Judith
My mother always said to me “Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better best”. I followed her advice, which I believe this attitude has helped me succeed at most things that I have attempted, both professionally and personally.

Therefore I would tell my younger self: “Mum was right. Have confidence in yourself: Don’t give up, persevere, do the best that you can and you will succeed!”

That said, I am very happy with who I am and what I have achieved so would not change anything. I am who I am because of everything that I have experienced; good, bad & ugly.
— Sharon
I would learn to say ‘No’ earlier in my life and to cull negative people a lot quicker than I did! I have told my children not to wait until my age to learn these things!
— Tina
Be brave, take the job that you don’t think you can do. I look at where my (male) colleagues are now, that were clearly on par with me “back then”, and wonder, if I had gone for that job instead of the one I took….
— Elizabeth
Follow your instincts and gut feeling. If something doesn’t sound right question it. Understand your surroundings and people around you. Dream big and plan how to get there.
— Josie
Write it down. Make it happen! And believe you can, because challenging yourself more reaps greater rewards!
— Violet
Make the best of every situation. And the best revenge is definitely happiness!
— Anne
Keep a handwritten or electronic journal.
Have One Page Personal Improvement Plan.
Practice value to others.
— Barry
If it feels good it is right. If it feels a little scary it is right. Still not sure? Ask yourself …If I do this what is the best thing that could happen? The worst thing that could happen? The most likely thing that will happen?….then take the leap of faith.
— Melanie
Take on the boys and challenge things that don’t feel fair”
“Seize the opportunity and don’t overthink”
“Don’t be afraid of change”
“You will fail at times but don’t be afraid because this is where the learning is”
“Look after your body now so it doesn’t let you down later. Nurture yourself”
“Take that step… stretch yourself and be surprised!”
“Trust your instinct because you will be right”
“Take more risks. Looking back that were not that scary”
“Life is too short to self-doubt
— from the team at SA Heart Foundation
Dear 56 year old - you are still young do anything you like! Don’t pigeon hole yourself.
— Jane
Look after your health because everything else is useless if you are too sick to enjoy it.
Work out the common illnesses in your family history and then take all the necessary dietary and exercise steps to prevent them.
— De
Be confident in who you are, have clarity and be proud of all of the strengths you have are and don’t compromise your values for anyone. Be true to yourself always.
— Julie

My advice to my younger self? 

Dear younger self: Be bolder and more brave than you could possibly imagine. Worry far less about what other people are thinking about you because they most likely aren’t. And love more. Don’t let the distractions of being busy get in the way of your connection with people.
— Amanda

Thanks to those in my Facebook community and email newsletter subscribers who contributed!

I work with women one on one to keep them agile, ambitious and focused on making a difference in their careers and communities.

I work with organisations who are working on empowering women into leadership roles.

I also help budding info-preneurs to create key messages that resonate.

What's your advice to your younger self?  Comments below.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months