Navigating through life can bring the most exhilarating and terrifying experiences while you are in your 20s. Each experience will bring you closer to your purpose and give you an opportunity to find your passion in the process.
As I matriculate through my 20s, I am learning more each day that knowing myself and what I stand for makes a difference as I take steps to develop myself personally and professionally. Along the way, I’ve learned a few lessons, some the hard way and some through observation and listening to others. I am sure these lessons impact me and other ambitious, highly-driven millennial women on a daily basis as we move forward in life with experiences that shape our values. I hope the lessons learned from my mistakes and triumphs can be a starting point or confirmation that you are a millennial woman headed in the right direction.
Without further ado, here are five life lessons you can use to kick butt and live with confidence:
Stop explaining yourself. Now.
It is easy to fall into the trap of constantly explaining your decisions, self-worth, or power moves to others. While it may be tempting to prove a point or your value, refrain from delivering too many details. Learn the appropriate times to elaborate and the right opportunities to be brief and direct. Over explaining can indicate a lack of confidence or bury the focal point of your statement. Practicing directness and brevity will help you get your point across and help eliminate the chance of being misunderstood.
Don’t allow others to dictate your choices.
Everyone has an opinion; however, everyone’s opinion may not reflect your potential to grow. It is critical that millennial women develop an instinct of learning how to choose their own path early on. All advice is not good advice and others may offer advice that reflects their own fears and insecurities. Life is meant to be experienced first-hand and you ultimately must make choices to determine if they were the best fit for you in the end. Consider the advice of those you value, but remember you must boldly pursue your own endeavors in order to live a life full of memories rather than a life filled with regrets.
Putting others’ needs in front of your own is a no-no.
You want to save the world. Understandable. Although your intentions to help others are noble, you have to remember that even Superwoman has to address her own personal needs. When you place the needs of others as high priorities, you slowly begin to neglect the elements that keep you going. Don’t burn out from doing good deeds – take personal time for yourself to reflect and rejuvenate so you can be your best self. After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, it will be impossible for you to continue being an asset to others.
Know when you’re stretching yourself too thin.
When you have to schedule time to meet your most basic needs, chances are, you may be stretching yourself too thin. You may feel on top of the world when you volunteer here, take on leadership projects there, and genuinely aim to be a holistic and well-rounded millennial woman. No challenge is too big for you and the more you involve yourself the more valuable you are, right? The number of activities you involved yourself in should not quantify your impact in the world. Make the word “no” a regular part of your vocabulary and strategically align yourself with constructive activities and favors for others that do not require all of your time or energy. If you find yourself saying “yes” all the time and later on wonder why you are always committed to something halfheartedly or with disdain, make an effort to say no until you are comfortable accepting and denying requests at your leisure.
Self-doubt is the number one killer of dreams.
You unconsciously forfeit opportunities when you don’t believe in your abilities. When negativity spreads throughout your mind, it sabotages your confidence to pursue the things you desire and deserve. It is common to blame your inability to gain success on external factors. You say things like,”There are people trying to hold me down,” “The economy isn’t right,” or “My college didn’t prepare me for the real world.” Sound familiar? At the end of the day, these things are non-factors. Success ultimately depends on your motivation to look beyond your circumstances and rise to the occasion to prove you have what it takes to pay it forward. Identify your strengths and map out what your success looks like based off of your own standards and values. Face areas of improvement with optimism and do not dwell on what you can’t do; focus on what you WILL deliver. Developing a strong sense of self will instill the confidence needed to take your first step. Once you have fully gained belief in yourself and your abilities, you are halfway on your upward path toward success. Your success.
See you at the top.
What lessons have you learned as a millennial woman? Tweet me: @TheWriteGirl_
Whitney L. Barkley is taking life one experience at a time. She enjoys offering advice for millennial women and is an advocate of success by our own standards.