They say it’s important to find mentors, and who better to be your mentor than a successful woman who’s already figured it all out? We interviewed 10 successful women to find out what they know now that they wish they’d known in their 20s. The path to success can be difficult, but with this advice under your belt, making your way in the world might just get a tad easier. See what they have to say and decide how you can take on the world.
1. Slow down
Dia Simms, president of Combs Enterprises, tells us, “If I could talk to my 25-year-old self, I would reiterate that life is not a race. Walk steady in your purpose and enjoy all that is around you. Most importantly, you cannot change time, so enjoy it instead of speeding through it.”
2. Don’t let other people’s timelines dictate your life
Nicole Swarts, attorney and founder of Sprout Law, shared her advice: “There’s no timeline to life. You can be in school after 21, married after 25, have a baby after 35 and retire before you’re 65. Find what works for you!”
3. Any job can be therapeutic
CNN cohost Alisyn Camerota learned this lesson after losing a job she loved and taking on a new career. “I was so busy chasing stories that I forgot how sad I was,” she said. “I learned that there is a psychological payoff to working hard every day. Get to work doing something, anything, even if it’s not your dream job.”
4. Make fun a priority
Though hard work is important, you’ve got to let yourself have some down time, says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder of global branding and marketing firm Mavens & Moguls. “Make time for friends, hobbies, exercise, hanging out, etc. It will never be as easy as it was in high school or college to round up a group of buddies to play, but do not let that stop you.”
5. Take care of your body
Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, founder of Charisma Speakers, emphasized taking care of the basics. “I wish I knew at 25 the importance of sleep, good eating habits and pacing. You don’t have to go so fast. You can have it all — but not all at once.”
6. Break the rules that don’t make sense
Shelley Zalis, workplace equality advocate and founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, says that not all rules need to be followed. “I’m a big believer in ‘uncorporate’ rules. For example, I don’t believe in punching a clock 9-to-5. I tell my people, ‘Don’t miss the moments that matter — if your kid has a soccer game at 4 p.m., block it on the calendar like a meeting you can’t move, and go!'”
7. Keep learning
Your education isn’t over after high school, even if you don’t pursue a higher degree, said Miko Branch, CEO and cofounder of Miss Jessie’s. “It’s extremely important to remember to take what you learned, either at work or in your personal life, and apply it to the next situation. We need to remember to take every experience you gain as a life lesson and apply it to other situations, even during the tough times.”
8. Get out of your comfort zone
“At 25, whenever I thought of a goal that seemed beyond reach, that made me uncomfortable, I would rely on that adage and wouldn’t challenge myself to do more,” shared Nicole Sodoma, family law attorney and managing principal at Sodoma Law. “Once I gave myself permission to be uncomfortable, I was able to be better, do better and continue to grow personally and professionally.”
9. Go with the flow
Don’t fight what’s happening around you. Sometimes, you just need to go with the flow, slow down and smell the roses, advises Sharon Miller, head of small business at Bank of America. “Be still and see the wholeness around you. Life moves incredibly fast, and it’s easy to get swept up in it. Especially in your 20s, you need to remember to relax, take a deep breath and flow with the river sometimes.”
10. Network, network, network!
Tracy Steinwand, director of global operations at Subway, told us that building relationships is essential for career development. “At 25, I wish I truly knew the power of building a strong network and relationships. You never really know when your network will support you. Looking back, I realized how much of an impact my network played in every role I’ve earned. “
With these tips, you can set yourself up for future success in all the years to come.
This post was sponsored by thinkThin®.