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LaNella Hooper-Williams

Personal Branding Tips and Tools for An Authentically Empowered Career

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

October 3, 2019

As I near, let’s just say, a significant birthday, I often look to the future, wondering what possibilities lay ahead. I also find myself looking back and reflecting on where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and what I could have done better.

This photo is my student ID as I entered my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh. My hair was slicked back in the style of the day and thank God I never had to fight acne! I still remember having the biggest stomach ache from nervousness as I was about to take on this monumental academic venture. In the back of my mind I wondered would I be good enough, smart enough, cool enough…enough…enough!

During one of my first classes, a professor gave us the standard orientation speech.  “Look to your left and look to your right, one of you will not be here in four years.” 

I remember thinking, “It’s not going to be me!” And, I had to work incredibly hard to prove this theory wrong as I pursued my undergraduate studies in business administration. 

If I could go back and advise my younger self today, here are 10 things I’d say:

  1. Always bring your personal best to everything you do. Your hard work and confidence are your greatest asset.
  2. You’ll fail along life’s journey. But put your big girl panties on and keep going because life’s failures build character.
  3. You’ll change jobs several times and live in four different cities.
  4. You’ll run a successful business and become a good connector of people.
  5. You’ll teach your craft at a major university.
  6. Ignore criticism, haters will always hate.
  7. You’re going to make mistakes, a lot of them. Consider the possibility though, that your mistakes are actually lessons.
  8. There will be times when you’ll have to tell someone “no” and it will scare you, but you have to set boundaries for others, or you’ll end up feeling used.
  9. Run your own race. Don’t ever judge yourself in comparison to others. Instead, judge yourself against what you know you’re capable of.
  10. Smile more, worry less. Positivity is infectious, and happiness is a choice.

Let me know what advice you would tell your younger self.

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