I was recently asked to write a letter to my younger self to be included in a presentation that will include the excerpts of several successful women in the business world imparting their lessons learned on their journey to a successful career.

Aside from the fact that I was incredibly humbled to be included in such a presentation, the writing of my letter served as a source of reflection, gratitude, and as a sheer confidence boost at just all that has transpired over the last ten years.

If you haven’t before, I’d encourage you to take some time to write a letter to your younger self, if only for the mere chance to put yourself in the shoes of the younger you looking towards future you and having questions about where your life has taken you. It’s thought-provoking to both look back at what has transpired and forward at what’s to come.

I wanted to share my letter, because I believe that we each have our own ups and downs in pursuing our passions and careers and it’s helpful to know you’re not alone and to simply learn from another.

Mary Beth,

It may be hard to see the light right now. It’s hard to be the youngest kid on the block and even harder to do so in a male dominated industry. You feel insecure and out of place. Sometimes you even feel angry because you’re being intentionally made to feel as if you’re out of place. I know you’re questioning if you’re in on the right track. Wondering if you should switch career paths and get out of the personal finance business altogether. Trust me when I tell you to stick with it. Not for the money, or because you don’t want to let anyone down. Stick with it because this is your passion. Your career may not be evolving the way you had hoped it to, but the experiences you’re having and the opportunities (perceived or not) are shaping you into exactly who you need to be in order to reach your dreams. There will be hard days, and a lot of them at that. You’ll work hard, be tested and struggle. You’ll face ageism, sexism, and a lot of other isms on your climb up the career ladder. Ultimately you’ll learn that nobody will look out for you like you will, how to take constructive criticism with grace, that the lifelong learning model is the best model, and you’ll build a support network of entrepreneurs, mentors and colleagues who will assist you in following your passion and building something bigger than you could have imagined. Don’t discount the tough times and difficult people in your career, because those are the lessons that will stick the most. Also, continue to advocate for yourself. Learn to compromise, but continue to seek the positions, income and opportunities that you believe you are worth. You have the drive and work ethic to get where you want to be, you just need to have the confidence in yourself and your skills to get there. It will happen for you. It will be a windy, curvy road as you’ve heard most career paths are, but you will launch your own business before the age of 30. It will be the scariest and most liberating experience of your life, but one that you can handle. Believe it or not, you will become one of those people that others will turn to for professional and career advice. You’ll coach your peers, students and those older than you. You’ll surprise yourself, Mary Beth, in more ways than you can imagine. Keep at it and you’ll touch more lives and effect change where you were told you couldn’t.

Your Older Self

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