A letter to a younger me.
A while back there was a trend of entrepreneurs writing letters to their 21 year old selves. It’s a concept that struck me. And stuck with me.
But I didn’t write one. For two reasons.
The first reason, is everyone started doing it. And I like to think I am above following the crowd… Yeah right – I am utterly affected by brands and trends.
The second, more honest, reason is I was pretty intimidated by the concept. I didn’t want read what I’d have to write. Putting pen to paper on this one would mean confronting some pretty big home truths.
I’ve not always emulated the same success in my ‘real life’ as I have in business.
So, here we are. Finally. After an incredibly reflective period of my life, I feel ready to put pen to paper on a few subjects that I feel are really important for anyone starting out, growing a business, workaholic – but really very important for me. Even today.
More importantly, I think it’s a great opportunity for me to document and put them somewhere I can return to and reflect on. So, my blog is the place.
Why does all this matter? Because we are all human. Not machines – which I once thought I was. ‘Unbreakable’ was how I described myself. Far from it is what I have eventually found out. The harder you are, the harder you fall. And in my personal life, I have. A few times.
What I have learned is the more balance we have in our lives, the more perspective, the more self-awareness, gratitude and inner peace – the better we can actually function and perform in all areas of our lives. Work included. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do and I have a huge appetite for work.
Now, a dose or reality, I am no master of the following advice to myself. I find myself, most certainly, still the pupil.
One who now lives, maybe for the first time ever, with his eyes wide open to my weaknesses – as well as my strentghs – but this letter isn’t about those, so much.
So, younger (and current) me… here we go:
Happiness is an inside job.
No matter what trinket, location, accolade or achievement – in the end true happiness is a state of mind. You can’t chase it. Or buy it. You find it and nurture it. From within.
Fun is no substitute for happiness.
Fun is very temporary. Contentment, peace and happiness are where it’s really at.
Believe in yourself.
Never give up on yourself or what you believe in. Don’t let self-doubt creep in and constrain you. There will come a time when fear will hold you back. See through it. There’s nothing fear. Think freely. Speak openly. Be you.
Work is not life. Or it would be called life. Not work.
Work is important. Especially if you love what you do. But your work will not give you a hug when you need one. Success is work does not automatically translate to success in life.
Be gentle on yourself.
You are a human. If you push yourself to the limits and beyond time-and-time again, you will break. I promise you. You don’t think you will. But believe me. You will. And it won’t be pretty. Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Drink lots of water – and not so much Diet Coke. Take more breaks. Do things you enjoy. Live well. Not hard.
You’re not mad. You have ADHD.
At time you’re going to think you’re going mad with so many things to do, an inability to focus, feeling like you’re unable to balance things, driven compulsively, unable to do simple administration while the whole time you’re smashing the big things on the work front. It’s ok. You have ADHD – and you need to learn how to live with it and harness it.
Take care of the people that matter.
There are not many people that will come in and out of your life that REALLY matter. Probably, over the years, just a couple of handfuls. Family. Friends. Loved one. Take care of those people as hard as they try to take care of you.
Take the weekend off.
Weekends are precious. Enjoy them. Spend them with those you love. It’s two days of the week that are for you. Don’t give them away.
You are not what you do.
You’re not an Adman. Brand maker. Award-winner. Writer. Strategist. You’re a human. A bloke. Navigating life as best you can. You have the answers at work. But not so much outside of it. You are a son. Husband. And the most important thing in the world, a father. Those are the things that matter most – by a long way.
Just slow down and take everything in once in a while.
It’s good to work hard – go for it. It’s good for you. Just build in me-time. Or is it you-time? Doesn’t matter. Just take some breaks. And that includes regular holidays.
Be proud of what you do.
You’re really good at what you do – so do lots of it. But, please, don’t mess about doing things you’re no good at or you have no interest in (accounts).
Meditate. Be Mindful. Be grateful.
You will come to a point in your life when finding peace and harmony will be your most important challenge. Get in early. Start meditating and understand the value of peace and headspace now.
Everything important in life is in reach. Of everyone.
Everything in life that really matters, is free. And available to us all. Look around. Enjoy the small things. They are the big things.
Your talent will get you everything. Consistency will keep it.
Do the things you say you will, on time – and your life will be a lot easier than it could be. Don’t learn this the hard way.
Eat the frog.
Procrastination will never ever help you.
Treat the people you love as you should – like the most precious things on the planet. You will miss them when they’re gone. Show up in life with the same vigour and drive you show-up with at work.
Ask for help.
You’re not superhuman. You’re the only person who doesn’t realise this. It’s ok to ask for help.
Be proud of what you achieve.
You really are going to surprise yourself.
You’re not alone.
Sadly, you’re going to feel it. It’s just the way your programmed, but it’s not true. Reach out – you’re surrounded by people that care.
Everything, in the end, will be ok.
So, there you have it – some non-business life thinking. From me, to me.
With love and hope,
And PS. Gellan. Above all else… over everything, don’t do drugs. At some point, you will end up in recovery, drugs will bring you to your knees – recovery will be the toughest thing you have ever had to do. Avoid it if you can. At all costs. Drugs will take the things you love the most away from you. I beg you not to go there.
No-one that hasn’t gone through the same thing will ever understand it – and you cannot expect them to. People will give up on you. They’ll feel like they have to. But NEVER give up on yourself. Not for a minute.
You must make your recovery your top priority. Or ‘this’ (life) is gonna’ hurt (you and others) and I’d hate to see you, or anyone, go through it. It doesn’t need to be a hard road to be a good life. Good luck kiddo.