Photography by Andrew T. Kearns (@andrewtkearns)

15 Influencers Share 15 Pieces of Advice For Their Younger Selves

What would you tell yourself if you could travel back in time today?

Cheyenne Noelle

I think a lot of people get wrapped up in the destination of life, rather than the journey.

On a daily basis, we are constantly bombarded with expectations from others — expectations from our spouses, colleagues, peers, children — expectations from the world. We have pressure on us to deliver. We have pressures on us to succeed.

How do we rise above the noise and stay on track? How do we convince ourselves that we are doing great, even when we don’t feel like we are?

The entrepreneurship road is hard. There are ups and downs, periods of self-doubt and uncertainty, mixed feelings of hardship and — of course — the small wins. It’s all one great learning experience that involves many moments of quiet introspection and reflection.

I had the opportunity to connect with a few people from the NextGen Summit community recently, seeking some life advice for my own worries. I reached out to my peers on Facebook — CEOs and digital professionals — about what wisdom they would give themselves if they could travel back in time. The response was overwhelming.


If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice for your personal growth, what would it be and why?

1. Visionary Dylan Gambardella, Co-founder of NextGen Summit

“It’s a longggggg game! Be patient, play it for the right reasons, and you’ll be alright. Don’t forget your #team on the way!”

2. Content King Roberto Blake, CEO of Create Awesome Media and Founder of Awesome Creator Academy

“My advice to myself would be to let go of all of your hurt, it’s holding you back and we win the long game anyway…”

3. Master Storyteller Tayo Rockson, CEO of UYD Management

“…Believe in yourself more. You’re closer than you think. Almost everyone is winging it before they actually become subject matter experts.”

4. Brand Guru Allie Felix, Marketing Manager of Draper University

“To take advantage of every opportunity. There were times in college I felt lazy or less confident, almost didn’t apply for certain pitch competitions or opportunities… looking back those were the most valuable for me and my career. Can’t believe I almost passed it up. Gotta to after it and say YES!”

5. Networking Genius Sivana Brewer, Speaker and Digital Marketing Consultant

“Anyone who thinks results are the result of age are not worth your time. You’re never too young to have better results than someone in their 80’s if you know your stuff. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.”


6. Design Strategy Innovator Sunny Su, CEO and Director of Paradigm Innovation

“It’s scarier before you do it! Looking back, you’ll wonder why you were ever afraid.”

7. Motivational Wordsmith Justin Lafazan, Co-Founder of NextGen Summit and Author of What Wakes You Up?

“A big personal growth trend I’ve adopted that I wish I would have found earlier would be to get the little things done right. We are always ‘rushing’ to finish the day/to-do list/project and move on to the next one. Stop that. Enjoy the task for the task’s sake, for the day’s sake. I wish I had done this more.”

8. Progressive Design Mentor Eli Wood, Founder of Reagant Design

“Resist dwelling on the question of, ‘Do I️ deserve this opportunity or situation that I’m in?’ Both positive and negative scenarios this can hang you up and prevent progress/productivity. Wish I️ could have (and continue to) stay focused on opportunities that I️ have to be filled up by service and mentors.”

9. Software Expert Jonathan Kingsley, Vice President of Engineering at MirrorWeb

“The darkest nights make the brightest stars”. It usually takes a while, and there is rarely a day in which you can say everything went flawlessly, but that’s just what makes life. The sooner you can learn to accept that, the quicker you’ll make it to the point where you can start to really push up the chain.

10. Fashion Connoisseur Teddy Baldassarre, Director of Business Development at Wisr

“If I had to say one thing it be fall in love with the process and embrace the setbacks. As an optimistic and entrepreneurial minded person, it is easy to fall in love with the big payoff and outcome, however, we often overlook what and how long it takes to get there. I would want to make it clear to myself that anything worth while takes time and won’t happen overnight. The world is a tough place and there are going to be days that you don’t want to take action and days you want to quit. Make success an inevitable outcome by accepting no other end result, even if it takes a lifetime!”

11. Certified Hustler Kylon Gienger, Owner at Successful Dropout

“I ask this question a lot with the people I interview. So does Tim Ferriss. The most popular answer has always been ‘don’t worry so much’, ‘spend less time worrying’, and the like. I would say the same to my younger self.”


12. Entrepreneur Powerhouse Haley Hoffman Smith, CEO of Lit Without Limits

“The greatest lesson I had to learn for personal growth was to love myself and my life NOW, instead of predicating my happiness on some future event / something I wanted to happen. The truth is that if you aren’t happy with yourself when you are at your lowest, periods of accomplishment won’t bring happiness either. When you’re coming from a place of contentment and inspiration driven by your own energy, that’s when things start to flow!”

13. Finance Specialist Daniel Sigal, Founder of Millennial Wall Street

“When you’re done working, just put in 5 more minutes.
2. Find the positive in everything.
3. Stay objective and calm while others freak out.
4. Laugh at the bullshit.
5. Talk less, work more.”

14. Healthcare Industrialist Andrew Schneck, Co-founder at Ohmaic Group

“Focus on your values (what you care about, why you do what you do, what your end game is, how you want to be remembered, etc.) every day. Talk to people you are close with about yours, and theirs.”

15. Information Architect Cheyenne Noelle, Influencer Ghostwriter and Editor-in-Chief of The Catalyst

“Pay no attention to the people who laugh at your dreams. Pay no mind to the elders, peers, ‘friends’ who tried to bring you down. Spend zero energy on the things you cannot control — life happens. You are strong, capable, and worthy. You will be great. You already are, so there’s really no reason to fret.”

What would you tell yourself?

The Catalyst is a digital publication sparking creative conversation around entrepreneurship, innovation, business strategy, and design. Thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of Paradigm Innovation, a global design strategy firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina. This article was written by Editor-in-Chief, Cheyenne Noelle.

A letter from the Editor

By Cheyenne Noelle

On behalf of Paradigm Innovation, I want to say thank you to all of the incredible people who volunteered their words of wisdom. Several of you gave pieces of advice that hit home hard — all of you said things that resonated with our company.

I hope as you and others read this article, the words of advice will be a great source of inspiration as it was for me.

At Paradigm, we take pride in sparking conversation between people making a difference. We value each and everyone person who contributed to the making of this creation.

The Catalyst by PARADIGM

“Our purpose is to inspire change.” | The Catalyst is an digital publication by PARADIGM, a global innovation and strategic design studio. | | #TheFutureIsNow

Cheyenne Noelle

Written by

“The disciplined in life are free.” 🌊 Lionhearted wordsmith. Mom. Christian. Altruist. | Content Strategist @paradigmid | also known as @_artofharmony

The Catalyst by PARADIGM

“Our purpose is to inspire change.” | The Catalyst is an digital publication by PARADIGM, a global innovation and strategic design studio. | | #TheFutureIsNow