I frequently wished I could turn back time to different moments in my career, and live by the principles I have right now, imagining how much I would accelerate my growth….Then I would start monetizing those imaginary leaps and, naturally, start feeling behind in my life and giving myself a harsh time about it.
But you know what… apart from the fact that time travel is physically impossible (although I’m still hoping for a scientific breakthrough, to actually go to that Robbie Williams concert, stay in the first row and get invited onstage), this would also be a huge dis-service to me and to my development!
And here’s why.
It took me many detours, a lot of hurtful head-banging and many setbacks to help me discover and actually incorporate some extremely good life lessons.
I kind of see it like missing the highway entry that would shave 2 hours off my journey, and taking the scenic route instead , where I discover an awesome gelato place and also a fancy vintage boutique. These small detours actually shaped me not only as a wiser professional, but also helped me become a more ‘rounded’ human being.
Another reason I appreciate these harsh lessons now is that I honestly believe I wouldn’t have incorporated them as beliefs or guiding principles if I wouldn’t have lived through them. This is a classic, by the book, example of experiential learning:only by living through certain things, was I able to reflect, conceptualize and then re-apply, ultimately making myself better!
I do not want to diminish the power of didactic learning: there is so much that you can get from reading a great book, a helpful article, or even building a mentoring relationship. However, I do believe that you get the most out of them if you are halfway there: meaning you already went through the experience and are just having a bit of difficulty in conceptualizing it.
So, this is why, when I look back now, I feel like saying:’I don’t want to change a thing. Thank you, life lessons, you made me a better human being.’
And please, repeat after me: ‘My younger self doesn’t need any advice, thank you very much. I’ve got this!’