Ask Rhonda: A Letter to My Twenty-something Self

April 12 - Rhonda Vetere

“What advice would you give your younger self?" is your classic introspective question. I’ve recently given this topic a lot of thought. For as joyful as I am with my life and where I am, I’d love to have the ability to ease the mind of my younger self and give myself some heads up to avoid missing out on various things.

So, to my 20-year-old self:

Start being mobile. Move outside of where you’re most comfortable and leave the United States. Start living in multiple countries and experiencing as much of the world as possible. There is no line on the globe other than the equator, so don’t allow any borders within your mind to keep you from seeing the world.

When you’re traveling, don’t just stay in the boardroom. You have the rest of your life to climb your way to the top. I wish I could rewind and spend the time I devoted entirely to working, to actually experiencing what was just outside my hotel room.

Get outside and actually see the world. Take weekend trips to neighboring places and soak it all in. I wish I could rewind and make myself spend more time doing just that. Learn and live in the different places that make up the world, and truly embrace the culture. You’ll discover that those cultures, while different from your own, will begin to directly shape the woman you’re becoming.

Learn to play golf early. You’ll find as you grow that so many of your best business conversations will happen on the golf course. Golf brings business to a space that feels friendlier. You have the ability to network with colleagues, senior leaders of management, and clients. Give yourself the opportunity to grow by learning new hobbies and pushing yourself as far as you can.

Furthermore, know your elevator pitch. At some point, you will be caught in an elevator with the CEO of your company. Be prepared to tell them who you are and what you’re working on. The goal is for them to leave, knowing who you are. And while you’re at it, dress for the job you want. You truly never know when an opportunity might present itself, so you better be dressed to impress at all times.

While you’re in what will be one of the busiest times of your life, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy where you’re at. It’s easy to throw yourself completely into work and forget to take care of yourself as a person. Take time separate from work to grow your mental and physical health, as well. You won’t be of any use to anyone if you’re not mentally healthy. Pour time into developing those aspects of yourself as well.

Continue to be confident in everything you do. Believing in yourself and demanding that same level of respect from others, will take you far. Your success can only go as far as you believe you’re capable of. Push through to your dreams, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it along the way. You’ll witness so many others being afraid to pick up the phone and call to ask for help. Be unafraid and courageous.

Love, my older (and wiser!) self.

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