11 Bits of Advice I Would Tell My 21 Year Old Self

Costa Rica, 1996

Today is my 41st Birthday. And while some people think I still live like I’m in college, I’ve actually learned a few things in my first two decades of adulthood. Here is some advice I wish I got at 21 — or at 31. Or even yesterday, because it’s a daily practice to remember this stuff.

Dear Edward,

  1. The Best Places Aren’t In the Guidebook. There are those moments when life asks you to say YES to the unknown. Some of my most wonderful memories of traveling around the globe began with a simple decision — should I be open to the unknown or not? When we try to plan everything out, we preclude the limitless possibilities. Like the time a couple guys I’d just met and I trusted a Costa Rican fisherman to take us an hour up the coast to a “playa bonita” he said he knew. We ended up having a mile-long stretch of virgin beach and one of the sweetest little surf breaks in the world all to ourselves for the better part of a week. All because we trusted in the unknown.

Love ya, kid.

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Edward Sullivan is the founder and head coach at LeadWell.co — a boutique coaching and training organization that helps start-up CEOs and corporate executives navigate the challenges of leadership with authenticity. With offices in San Francisco and New York, LeadWell helps leaders and their teams optimize their performance and overcome obstacles to growth. He can be reached at edward@leadwell.co.

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