What advice would you give to a 20-year-old woman?
I pondered this question earlier this month, as we honoured International Women’s Day. I am pleased to see the strength, resourcefulness and vitality of women, mobilized toward greater opportunities and success.
What an exciting time for us!
To help me answer this question, I decided to ask all of the women in my life. The people who I reached out to age in range from their late 20’s to almost 80 years old. They come from all walks of life and experience. Here is what they said about….
- Love lots.
- Love someone but love yourself more.
- Be kind to yourself and love all of you.
- Love yourself for who you are and don’t compare yourself to others.
- If you want a partner, choose someone who shares your values and aspirations. Choose kindness, generosity and humility over charm because charm won’t last through the difficult times.
- Don’t be tied down to one person while you are young. There is so much to experience, make sure your wishes, desires and priorities come first.
- If you have a boyfriend, make sure he is not always #1 and make sure you don’t forget the things you want in life.
- There is no “right” age to get married.
- It’s ok to be single.
- Try not to make a commitment too early for the frontal cortex doesn’t develop fully until age 25. That’s the part of the brain responsible for judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior.
- Learn how to be independent however realize that doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
- Know that you are loved.
- Love yourself.
- Get an education; a good education.
- Make sure you pursue your education and don’t wait because there is always an excuse not to go to school and you never want to be in a vulnerable situation where you can’t take care of yourself.
- Education, education, education.
- It’s a starting point full of potential for new beginnings and further growth.
- Knowledge is power.
- Education gives you choices.
- Strive for further education.
- Learn about something that makes you excited.
- Pursue your education early. Don’t wait because “life” gets in the way as you age.
- Learn to do things on your own.
- Read books.
- Don’t stop learning.
- Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable situation where you can’t take care of yourself.
- Set boundaries that protect yourself physically and enforce them.
- It’s healthy to express your emotions and feelings; not doing so may lead to disease.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Pay attention to your health; your body will tell you what it needs.
- Take care of your body. Stay active. What you do now, will pay off in the years ahead.
- Live healthy, with good nutrition and exercise.
- Take time to exercise, and do whatever you enjoy doing.
- Lift weights.
- Stretch. Breathe deeply.
- Avoid addictive substances.
- Ensure that your voice is heard, and someone is listening.
- Nurture your identity and don’t let your identity be defined by or for someone else.
- Be kind to yourself and to others.
- Try to be kind to those who are not kind.
- If you don’t have people in your life to lift you up, go out and intentionally find them and hang on to them tightly.
- You can gain so much insight and often by simply listening. It’s a great way to understand the other side or perspective. Often you find that their perspective isn’t too far off of yours.
- Demand respect.
- Put yourself first; be empathetic but not at the cost of losing your focus or your priorities.
- Don’t burn any bridges; when we destroy a relationship, it’s difficult to go back.
- Communicate assertively and articulate your needs, desires and wishes.
- Don’t have expectations from others.
- Forgive and don’t judge.
- Cherish your friends and nourish those relationships and you will always have a support network.
- Friends will come and go throughout your life as we make changes based on what ‘s going on in life. You don’t need to see your friends every day, you may see them once a year because life gets busy. True friends don’t need to talk all the time, you just know they are there.
- Keep in touch with close friends as family may not always be there when you need them.
- Marriage is a wonderful commitment, but it is not easy and requires daily work to make it last.
- Travel and enjoy life before you make any long-term commitment.
- Be financially independent.
- Don’t rely on a man or your partner for money.
- Never rely on anyone else financially (unless there are extraordinary reasons for why you cannot achieve this).
- Save, even if it’s a little bit each week.
- Try to save ten percent of your pay.
- Invest in a TFSA and RRSP’s.
- Pay your bills on time and invest some of your earnings every year, even if only a little – retirement comes along sooner than you could ever imagine.
- You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.
- Respect your parents and appreciate that they did their best with the skills they had at the time. How well you treat them will return to you one day.
- If you have children, educate yourself on the importance of developing attachment in the early years.
- Enjoy a few years with your partner before deciding to have children.
- Spend time with your parents because you never know when they won’t be here.
- Take time to appreciate all that your parents have done for you.
Setting goals for success…
- Look for a job with a good benefits package and a pension.
- Aim high to reach your goals and don’t ever settle for less.
- Pick a career for its purpose, not for the salary.
- The biggest barrier to success and confidence is often our own self-doubt. Don’t doubt yourself.
- There are so many rewarding careers that women can have today.
- Set goals and start a bucket list. Periodically check to see your progress or check in to see if your goals have changed.
- Short-term goals are important but so is the long-term.
- Finish your education and work for a while and travel some before you even think about settling down and starting a family.
- Take some time to figure out who you are and what you value in life.
- Set some goals with a view to keep an open mind and heart yet be flexible enough to recognize opportunities that may come along.
- Have grit and perseverance.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes along the way.
- Continue to try, even one more time.
- Never give up on your dreams.
- Be the best that you can be.
- Don’t hold on to anger or resentment.
- Stay positive, even in challenging situations.
- Get enough sleep.
- Find a purpose; something that you are passionate about; something that makes your eyes sparkle when you talk about it.
- Travel, it feeds your soul.
- Take vacations and see places for its so refreshing and healthy for your soul to take breaks.
- How we respond to stressful situations can hurt us, especially in the future.
- Give back to the world.
- Serve other, for in that, you will find happiness.
- Breathe; take a few seconds to think, feel and make a choice.
- Let it go!
- If something is bothering you, no matter what it is, talk about it. There is always someone who is willing to listen and help you to sort it out.
- Challenge yourself to explore things you don’t like for you will experience growth that you wouldn’t have imagined.
- Challenge brings opportunity.
- Find a way to keep your passion.
- A traumatic event can happen to anyone.
- You can’t change people. What you can change is how you respond or react.
- There is no growth without loss.
- Hold your head high through adversity and tell yourself, “I’ve got this!”
- Realize your value.
- Stand up for your beliefs.
- Make a choice based on what is good for you.
- Men don’t get to be called boys, so why do we allow ourselves to be referred to as girls?
- Be yourself, not what you think people expect you to be.
- Be true to yourself and strive for authenticity.
- Do NOT compare yourself to others.
- Believe in you. You are enough.
- Put the phone down; talk face to face. People will remember you, not your phone number.
- Be careful what you post on social media, it will be out there forever.
- Use it wisely and especially, DO NOT use it to compare yourself to others.
- Tell your story but be cautious for what you read is not always what you should believe.
- Be grateful and in love with your life.
- For bad times, be grateful for the strength you had to make it through.
- Always think about what you have, this creates abundance and satisfaction, over scarcity and disappointment.
- Tell the truth, even if the truth is hard for you or the recipient. It’s better to lay all of your cards on the table. That way, everyone is privy to what is at hand. Most importantly, the truth offers freedom to lay a situation to rest, freedom from guilt, freedom from unnecessary obligation and freedom to let go. The fear of speaking the truth will keep you trapped. The truth is a precipice.
- Do the right thing and you won’t lose any sleep.
- Live with integrity.
- Live a life you want to be proud of so that when you look back, you won’t cringe.
- Be true to yourself and strive for authenticity.
- You get or you become what you concentrate on so focus on what you want and not what you don’t want.
- Stay in the present moment; avoid thinking of the past and future.
- Power is in the present.
- Find a spiritual practice in order to connect with your higher consciousness. this will create an awareness and sense of peace/calm & wholeness.
- Meditation and spiritual practice will help you to realize that you are loved.
- Investigate your “beliefs” – dig deep! As they will form your experience in life. Feelings, thoughts, and emotions causes all experiences, and the nature of your reality.
- Rely on God to help you make every decision.
- Go with your gut instincts.
- Have grit and determination.
- Don’t be afraid to be happy.
- Be joyful, do what you love. If you find your passion and pursue it with a purpose, careers and relationships will flourish.
- Travel as much as you can.
- Make your bed every day; it’s a great way to start the day and nice to come home to an organized room.
- Enjoy every day.
- Enjoy the journey as the destination is the end.
- We live in a friendly universe. If it’s not friendly, it’s temporary. Relax, everything is okay.