Do you remember who you were at your 20th birthday? I don’t. I was married and had a baby at age 20 but I’m SURE that I didn’t know much about ANYTHING!
How much have you learned since your 20th birthday? I was looking at how much I have learned since my 40th birthday (a little easier to remember). Before social media was … well… let’s just say 2003 was the year MySpace was founded. I was afraid of it. The iPhone was invented in 2007, when I was 43 so at 40 I’m sure I had a blackberry and I remember my sons wanted to carry around pagers.
I have another birthday coming and it’s always around this time that I look back and become more reflective. What have I learned this year? How have I grown? What have I done that is significant?
I can remember in my 20’s I was promoted to a branch manager position at a personnel company (a temp agency). I had major imposter syndrome. I always felt too young. Who would take me seriously? My teammates and peers were all older than me.
Then one day I looked around and realized everyone was suddenly younger than me, including my doctors, which is always really weird. I can remember thinking, “Am I now too old for people to take seriously in my line of work? Am I still relevant?” I think we have about 2 good years—between 39-41 when we feel we're just right!
I’ve never been the smartest one in school or on my jobs. I've also never been the one with the most experience. I can say those things were somewhat out of my control. Genetically, I didn’t have any rocket surgeons or brain scientists for parents and experience … well when you’re 22, you don’t have much control over that one. But what I did have in my control, was the desire to OUTLEARN and OUTWORK everyone. Maybe I was trying to prove to myself and others that I was smart enough to deserve the success I was experiencing.
Fortunately, what I didn’t have in degrees, I had in moxie…or scrappiness. I signed up for conferences and paid with my own money, at every chance I got. I went to Brian Tracey, Toni Robbins. I walked on fire and came home with bags of cassette tapes (that’s right… cassettes!). I have always spent lots of time letting the wisdom and experience from others pour into me through books, blog posts, podcasts, conferences, and face-to-face meetings.
When I speak to people who tell me they are stuck financially or in a negative space in their lives because they are in a bad relationship, or they are a single parent, or they lost their job, or they feel too old… I stop them and ask—What are you going to do about it? What is in your control?
Can you outlearn your competitor? Can you outwork that person who is up for the promotion you want? Do you have the guts and the desire to take the leap and start your own business and learn everything you need to so you feel you can at least dog-paddle your way instead of sinking? I love that scared feeling of being in over your head…just enough to get you moving. There is nothing like looking down and not seeing the bottom of the ocean to make you drop your weight belt (a SCUBA story I will have to share one day) and start kicking harder to get back to the surface.
If you’ve never had that feeling… it’s time. Let me push you out of your cushy but crappy spot you are in and get you kicking! If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am gathering a group of women to go skydiving in a week and a half. I love these experiences that put us in a position to really feel what getting out of our comfort zones feels like. We need these times to remind us we can do hard things! We can do scary things!
Here are 3 things you can do to outwork and outlearn the rest:
Enjoy the Pursuit of Your Potential
You have so much potential. You just need to pursue it with a passion. Be in a crisis to be next best version of yourself. Learn to truly enjoy that hunger and that pursuit to reach your full potential.
What I love about this is, regardless of where you are, we are all starting this pursuit from the same place…our current state. There is no “too old” “too broke” or “too broken.” Just start the pursuit and give thanks each day for your journey and all that you are learning.
Sign up for a conference that will stretch you. One that will put you in the room, not just with your buddies and besties, but one that will put you in the room with people you will learn and grow from.
Schedule one hour a week for online learning—YouTube University! Our kids used Khan Academy for science and math homework help, but did you know there are sites that offer courses on everything from web development to character drawing courses. From photoshop courses to courses on neuroplasticity and rewiring your brain! You can take classes that are very inexpensive or free! Check out these resources to start:
2. Work with a Coach
I loved what Darcy Luoma said a couple weeks ago on our podcast when she said a coach will help you identify and fix your blindspots. She says we all have blind spots and a coach can help you improve in areas you may not even know you have. Whether you hire a life coach, an executive coach, or a business coach, working with one can help get you aligned in the right direction and they will hold you accountable for making the improvements or changes necessary!
3. Build habits and rituals to prevent laziness.
Make the commitment to get up earlier—even 30-minutes will give you that time to outwork and outlearn others. Make this a time to meditate, read, or plan your day. Incorporate listening to podcasts and audiobooks during your drive time or instead of watching lame television shows that do nothing to help you get ahead (unless you are writing scripts for lame television shows, then it makes sense). Incorporate one day or 30-minutes each day to learning. Whether that is attending a webinar, taking one of the classes you committed to or simply reading articles and filling your brain with the life lessons of others. Build these into daily and weekly habits to keep you out of the laziness trap.
4. Harness the Power of YES
Sometimes it's in the serendipitous times that our path is forever changed. Saying “YES” to new experiences, new people, new opportunities will open us up to information or people that expand and enrich our networks and our lives. Start paying attention and listen for those invitations that you would typically say, “No” to. Those things you never make time for or that you have always been afraid to try (like skydiving or dance lessons).
That obscure concert that is free in the park. That invitation to a lecture series downtown. The invitation to join a new group of people for a luncheon. When you open yourself up to new experiences, you will be opening yourself up to new opportunities as well. By putting yourself in new situations—surrounding yourself with people who are where you want to be, you will learn and grow.
So when you feel discouraged and feel as if things are just too hard, stop and take a look back. Look at how far you've come and how much you have changed and grown. You're not the same person you once were and thank goodness you're not the same person you were when you were 20!