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A Letter To My 20-something Daughter

A Letter To My 20-something Daughter

Recently I was reading an article written by Whitney Fleming. It was a letter to her daughter before she heads into her teens. This got me thinking about what will happen when I have a daughter that is going through her 20s just like I am now. What will I want her to know?

To my daughter,

I write this letter to you as I am working through my 20-something years. There are some lessons I’ve learned and I hope that I can pass on my knowledge to you.

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1. Choose a career that matters to you

Sometimes it isn’t until you hit your 20-somethings that you really start to understand what matters to you. Take your passion and make it into a career. When you choose something you’re passionate about, you’ll never really feel like you’re working.

2. Don’t be afraid to open your heart

You will with no doubt have been burned by a love, if not more than one, by this point in your life. And while it won’t be easy to open up completely again to another person, just try. Don’t ever sell your love short because you’re afraid of getting hurt. You will get hurt over and over until you find the right one. And when you find the right one, it’ll all be worth it.

3. It’s ok to let go of friends

Friends, unfortunately, come and go. Sometimes they fade away, sometimes a fight will damage the best of friendships. But remember, you don’t need to hold on to everyone. Some people are meant to stay in your life, some are meant to teach you things, and some are meant to leave you with amazing memories. Take each situation as its own, so that you can learn and grow.

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4. Smile at your memories

Wether it’s losing friends or boyfriends, you’ve once had amazing times with these people. Don’t ever let anger or sadness of a situation ruin your memories. Let yourself smile when you remember these times because at one point, they were exactly what you wanted out of your life. And the good times can’t ever be erased.

5. Be indepepdent

Learn how to be on your own. Learn how to navigate directions, hang pictures, find studs in the wall, and cook. Become your own independent woman. No matter if you’re still living with me or a roommate or a boyfriend. Learn how to stand on your own two feet and know that when the cake burns, the picture rips out of the wall, or your get lost, you’ll be proud because you will be able to manage it all by yourself.

6. Don’t worry about money

There’s a secret to money. You’ll always need more and you will never have enough. So let what you have be enough. As long as you can pay your bills, eat, and keep yourself safe, you have enough. Don’t worry if others are going on vacation or have better cars than you. Your day will come for those things, too. Appreciate what you can afford.

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7. There’s no time limit for finding “the one”

I found the man I married at only 19 years old. But that doesn’t mean that if you’ve hit mid-way through your 20’s and you haven’t met him all hope is lost. Mr. Right will come for you when the time is right. Don’t rush it and don’t worry yourself looking high and low for him. You WILL find each other.

8. Embarrass yourself

I was always someone who was too timid to make a mistake. So afraid of making a fool of myself. You WILL make mistakes. You might over sleep and miss your class, or drink too much and dance on the bar. I’m not saying go wild, but I’m saying let yourself go. Embarrassing yourself is unfortunately life. And your 20s are usually the time when you’re exploring so much that you will make these embarrassing mistakes. So laugh it off and remember that it’s turning your face red now, but will make for some pretty funny stories one day.

9. Enjoy the present

Today is today. Tomorrow is tomorrow. I tell you this incase you forget to live for today not for tomorrow. You don’t know what life will hold for you in the future. It’s always smart to plan, but don’t stress over what will be. What will be will be, so embrace your present and live it to its fullest.

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10. I have been there, done that, and will help you through it

I was a 20-something myself years ago. I made mistakes, worried about the future, embarrassed myself, lost friends, had heartbreaks, and many other obstacles which you will no doubt go through as well. Talk to me. Even though you think I’m old and out of touch with life, I’ve been where you are. Never forget I’m your mother. I will love you unconditionally no matter what mistakes you make. I will give you advice when you seek it and I will listen when you want to cry. I will help you through.

I wanted to share something I’ve learned while I worked through my 20s but there are many more lessons about life that you will learn on your own. But remember your 20s have to be embraced. Explore life and enjoy every second. Just know there will always be a light on for you to come back home.

Love you always,
Mom

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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