I turn 28 years old today. Birthdays are often a reflection point for me (as I’m sure they are for a lot of people) – how has the last year been, am I where I thought I would be, am I who I want to be and am I happy? The answer isn’t always straightforward or positive. This year though has been a year of self-development and yes, I am very much happy. It’s also made me realise how much has changed in the last 10 years (and how much I’ve achieved).  As such, I thought I’d note down 10 things from the last 10 years that I wish I could go back and tell my 18 year old self:

  1. Trust your gut instinct – your gut often knows what is right and can be a centre point for you when your emotions are all over the place and people/situations are pulling you all over the place
  2. It’s okay for your goals to change – you change and so may your goals. You don’t need to achieve one thing to move onto another. If it isn’t what you want or isn’t what is going to make you happy; stop, recalibrate and move forward.
  3. It’s okay to fail, just learn from it – failure teaches us how to pick ourselves up and so much more. Don’t be afraid to fail and make sure you take a chance for things that could make you happy, both professionally and personally.
  4. You will lose friends, it will hurt like hell but you’ll also be okay – sometimes people aren’t meant to stay in our lives forever. Sometimes you grow apart from people and sometimes people grow in ways that don’t complement each other anymore. That’s okay and you are allowed to grieve for that friendship.
  5. Hard work does pay off, but you have to be patient – success doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it can feel like you are working SO hard without any breakthrough or reward. But one day it will pay off and you’ll realise that it is worth it.
  6. Don’t let toxic people or situations absorb your energy – one of the hardest lessons to learn is actually how to step away from these situations. Just do it. Don’t let things harm your mental health unnecessarily. Don’t feel bad for doing it.
  7. You can’t please everyone, not everyone will like you but invest your time in the people that do – learn to accept this and give absolutely everything to the people who do the same to you. Your best friends will be the ultimate cheerleaders for you and everything you ever needed.
  8. It’s totally normal to want different things from those around you – JUST DO YOU. There is no right time to settle down, no right time to want a relationship, no right time or thing to do in your career and you don’t need to know what you want.
  9. Don’t dye your hair blue – because it will stain it green for your graduation, just don’t do it. Ever. Go straight to pink.
  10. You should always be who you are and who you want to be – there is no right way to be and you shouldn’t change who you are or hold back for anyone. This is true even in the workplace. A company worth working for is a company that values your whole self at work.

And 10 things I am SO proud of myself for achieving in the last 10 years – because we should all practice a little self-love:

  1. Starting & graduating university
  2. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
  3. Completing the Three Peaks Challenge
  4. Cycling Palace2Palace
  5. Deadlifting 120kg (over x2 of my body weight)
  6. Getting my job at HPE (and x3 promotions since graduating)
  7. Having the courage to walk away from people/situations that were damaging my mental health
  8. Dying my hair pink
  9. Moving to New York for 3 months
  10. Starting this company

Let me know what advice you’d give your younger self AND share things that you’re proud of with me.