Let's face it...life can be hard. And confusing. And, at times, just downright intimidating. Everyone needs an encouraging word from time to time, so we decided we'd take a stab at giving some of our best business and life advice. Enjoy!
"It took me a long time to figure out that you shouldn't wait to be yourself around people and coworkers -- it is too exhausting to hide your true colors. It is also good to remember that you are not always going to agree with everyone. It is important to be respectful of others' beliefs and sometimes just agree to disagree and continue to have open dialogue. It is not worth fighting over things just to be able to say you are right." – Kate G.
"My voice is important, and I don't think I knew that when I was younger, so I feel a lot more confident saying what I think, but making sure to couch it in a way that is more gentle, rather than just word vomit. Have confidence in your ideas and your thoughts because they're important.
Wear whatever you want. If you are uncomfortable, you will lose that confidence, and that's the thing that makes people kind of go "huh?". Instead of how you look it's what you're projecting, so if you feel good and confident, you will look good and confident." – Kelsey
"Don't worry about what other people think. If you're so hung up on what everybody else thinks, it's gonna distract you from being yourself, and you'll kind of float around for a while, worrying about making everybody else happy in the world, in the environment around you, and you'll lose touch with who you are and it'll take longer to find out who you are. So just truly be yourself, especially if you're on the road to being a good, positive person, and that will give you self-confidence that will naturally come about. Don't be afraid to poke fun at yourself a little bit for your insecurities, because that also lets everybody know that you're not a threat when you talk to them. That drops people's walls down and they'll open up to you to a whole world of conversation." – Jake (honorary 1canoe2er, pro beard-grower and stellar carpenter!)
"The most important thing that I missed is that I should be confident in who I am in and my skills, because that will take you further than anything. Don't let the fear of failing dull your life or hold you back. Don't always be the nice guy and let others seize those opportunities that come along. Believe in yourself and know that you are just as important and worth it and you should not hold back. Try to go after what you want in life. Go after what makes you happy and completely disregard whatever people will think or might say because what is most important is your own happiness and self worth, and I would just say at the end to challenge yourself every day. Challenge yourself to learn, to be a better person, and live life to the fullest." – Crystal
"I think that my best life advice is to not worry about being weird. Just be comfortable in your own skin. Embrace it and take the things that make you unique and just run with it." – Beth
"I think it's really important to take the time to decide what you want to do. I think that whenever you first graduate college you're like "I am a Psych major. That means I can do this, and only this." But I think it's really important to not box yourself in and explore other options that you might think better suit your interest because you might be surprised. A good life skill is how to market yourself so make sure that when you interview for whatever job make sure you do your homework, your research, and tailor yourself to that company to make yourself appealing." – Angela
"I'd tell myself to be good to the people around you. No one has it all figured out and it's better to be lost together than alone. And an act of kindness goes a long way." –Liz
"I have three main points: the first is to be willing to be surprised. I was always very adamant on life looking a certain way and it had to be my way and I didn't allow possibility for any other options. I really wish I would've been more open to multiple possibilities even if it doesn't always seem like it's amazing at the forefront. You're not supposed to peak whenever you're 21, 22, and I just thought I would, and whenever I didn't I was so ashamed and I felt like such a failure and that's not how it should be at all. Enjoy the journey, let life be life, and be willing to be surprised because that's so much more fun and so much more fluid and organic anyway.
2. Kindness matters so much. One thing I noticed through different employers I had is that kindness is actually really hard to find and it's all about how you treat people. That's what matters -- that's what people will remember is how you made them feel and did you go above and beyond in treating them like people, or were you just in a hurry to get your work done?
3. Work hard, but not at the expense of losing yourself. Working hard is very important. You should always give your all in whatever you're doing. But I think there were times when I definitely lost myself in what I was doing and I let it takeover my life. I know where I was coming from. I was very driven and I wanted to do my best and this was my best but I didn't make many memories along the way. There were times when I became a shell of a person because I was just so stressed with what I was doing rather than having a proper balance in life." – Gretchen
"I wish that I would have started to get to know not only the business world and how the people around me function best, but also myself and how I function best. I wish I would have realized at a younger age that when I go into a job I have a lot of control over how I'm managed and how others around the office interact with me. You don't just have to go in and your manager treats you one way and one way only -- you kind of get to shape that relationship. But the catch is, you can't start to shape it until you realize: this is how I work, this is when I'm most productive. Do I really like being around people or do I like being by myself? Do I respond best to bullet points or paragraphs of details? Answering questions like these will help you define your boundaries, which is super important. No one will respect your boundaries unless you know and respect them.
When I was an intern, I was really eager to please everybody, which is great. Work hard and please the people that you're working for. But now being on the flip side of that where I'm the one doing the managing, I think I would tell my younger self to not let that desire to please interfere with taking risks and being a self-starter. Present an idea to your manager before they even realize that they need it. That's a huge help. Doing what your told is great, but creating work without being told is what will really make you stand out against the rest." – Haley
"I feel like a lot of my advice has to do with being afraid. DON'T be afraid. Don't be afraid to be different. Everybody's different. I tend to be an introvert, and so I always felt like there was something wrong with me. But along the way you learn that everybody has different personalities and that's okay. Be who you are and work to your strengths.
Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Everybody screws up. Don't try to be a perfectionist. If you make a mistake, own it, fix it, and then it'll be good. Don't be afraid to do different things just because you have an education in this or this is what your degree is in. Don't be afraid to learn something or do something different if you feel lead to go that way. Work hard and be nice to people." – Janel
What life advice would you give to your past self? Comment and let us know!
:: Claire the Intern ::
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