5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self to Fast Track Success

Credits: Dylan Siebel on Unsplash

They say you’ll fall many times to getting to your dream goal. What you need to do is get up, brush the dirt off, and keep going. Okay, but that’s not exactly the smartest or fastest way to smashing success. While grit and persistence are essential ingredients to success, this Modus Operandi can be extremely costly.

If your wiser, older self from 10 years down the road could come back and give you the advice to win at what you want, what do you think that would be? I know there are at least 5 big — critical — things I would tell myself 10 years back.

1. Be Well!

I would tell myself 10 years back to persevere, take massive action and be relentless as is her personality. But above all I would hug her and say to her “Know Your Worth!” She knows her worth truly when she doesn’t let life — challenges and dreams — compromise her wellbeing. Wellbeing is so core.

We think that we can control and use our bodies — and we run ourselves into the ground — as if our body is separate and inexhaustible and that we will always bounce back. Wellbeing is critical to long-term sustainable success. I would love to say to me: “Relax and know what is really good for you now and 10 years on, and trust that you don’t have to kill yourself to get to where you want to be.”

So, there are two things I am actually saying here. First point, ruining your health is never worth it — by that I mean not just your physical health but your emotional and mental health. You don’t have to kill yourself to get ahead. In fact, not just that — taking care of yourself is what will get you ahead in the long run.

So, be well!

And to the second point:

2. Is Your Goal Really What You Want?

Is what you’re going for good for you? On one level I don’t regret what I was going for exactly 10 years ago. I fought for my marriage when in that year it was falling apart. That experience taught me so much, particularly about my own faults.

But what I would ask myself then is “Is that what you really want?” “A partnership, a happy home, for my children to thrive, yes, for my family to thrive,” I would answer. But I wish my self today could have shown my younger self back then the bigger picture. I was not going to experience my ideal through what I was going for. And so, I might have known to let go of that particular manifestation. I might have saved myself from burning myself out emotionally, mentally and physically.

Yet, given the circumstance and challenge, I did what was aligned with working on becoming the next better version of myself in way of creating my ideal. I created greater capacity to support others in achieving their ideals. But I lost more than required to learn what I needed to learn.

Is what you’re going for what’s really good for you?

3. Slow is Fast

In strategic planning you set a goal and then work backwards to creating the milestones to getting to your goal and then work in the details to each mountain top that gets you moving to that summit — year ideal, your dream. What needs to happen as part of this process is create capacity. Capacity can only be gained through creating new habits.

If you race to the top without the growth that you need to match each step of the way, you’ll fail. Forcing, pushing, and trying to make things happen is not going to make it happen. Go-getters love the race, they love the thrill of achievement. And very often forget that time is of essence.

In pacing yourself, you stop, look around, for cues, emerging opportunities, a better grip on how to go up the mountain you couldn’t see from the base. Go slow, and by going slow you actually go fast — you get stuck or fall fewer times.

It’s the tiny, every day actions that will get you there. These are the ones that strengthen the right muscles, the habits. To achieve any dream goal, you have to create the habits that form capacity in order to match and sustain your goal.

Take a deep breath and remember that slow is fast!

4. Expect Uncertainty, Create Opportunity

Brace for things not to go your way on the way. Know that to get to your dream goal it might be a bit of an unexpected path up. You may have to go right when something unforeseen happens and the map said left.

Developing habits that form capacity to go where you want to is all about growth. Steps to growth include going vulnerable and opening your heart and intellect to new possibilities on the way up. Steps to growth include also going out of your comfort zone doing things you’ve never imagined doing before.

Expect to take another route, so stop and allow yourself that opportunity that’s probably right there in front of you when the way up you’ve been on ends. Find another way up.

5. You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Falling and standing up to brush the dirt off may be part of the process but you can cut the amount of falling and how painful the fall. You have yourself, your bigger wiser self. And there are people who have gone ahead and know the habits and capacity you need to get you there faster. Here, I’ll say to my self 10 years back, “Kudos, because you got the help you needed to grow!”

Here is the deal. You can try to tap into your self to get to the place where you feel into what is good for you and what you really want. Some day after trial and error and certainly with tremendous determination you’ll get there. But you also don’t know what you don’t know, and falling and getting up again while you learn can really mean over a long lifetime, if you don’t compromise your wellbeing in the process. It can also be much shorter with lots of hard work but right strategy.

If you can picture yourself 10 years ahead in time, what do you think your older self might tell you? I would say get help if you want to fast track your success! AND remember to embrace uncertainty; create opportunity; slow is fast; re-evaluate if what you’re going for is really your ideal; and, be well.

But there is a bigger picture for you that I hope you will see. Right now is the only time that matters. It’s the time to create that bigger version of you that’s looking back. May you choose to fast track your success and see a version of you that’s grateful to the you of today.