Hello Inspired Ideas Readers! I am so pleased to finally make your acquaintance. I am Caroline Ready, the Marketing and Sales Coordinator here at ConvergenceCoaching®, and I am thrilled to share my debut blog with you on my 27th birthday!

Each year as I age, I hope to get a little wiser. So, as I head into my 27th year, say goodbye to my mid-twenties, and decide where I want to be in 365 days, I looked to my ConvergenceCoaching colleagues for some nuggets of wisdom and asked my team: what advice would you give to your 27-year-old self, or what advice do you wish someone gave you at 27?

To my fellow young professionals who are figuring it out, I am right there with you, and I hope that you will find some comfort, inspiration, and validation from the kind words and knowledge shared by my wonderful ConvergenceCoaching team.

To our leaders, who may not have been in our shoes for a while, I invite you to stroll down memory lane with your 27-year-old self and reflect on where you were and how far you’ve come.

And to my wonderful ConvergenceCoaching team, thank you for being vulnerable and sharing so openly and authentically with our readers and me.

Trust yourself and don’t be afraid of your own power. If you have an idea, share it. If you observe something that needs to change, suggest it to someone in authority. Write articles. Stream your ideas on video. It is never too early to use your voice to make a difference.” – Jennifer Wilson

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it is that I stand in my own way more often than not. I don’t share my opinion so as to not upset the balance or offend anyone by disagreeing. I see my potential but fear falling short, disappointing others, and letting myself down. Heck, I’ve been thinking about writing for our blog for well over a year and only just now added myself to the rotation (I even coordinate the schedule and easily could’ve added myself in sooner). Jen’s right – don’t be afraid of all you can be and all you have to offer this world.

You can do it!” – this may seem way too simple, but as a 20 something person working with credentialed professionals, I often doubted myself. I always wondered if I had enough knowledge, ability, skill, etc. to stay in the profession and contribute. The fact that I had mentors that saw something in me, based on their experience and knowledge, and encouraged me to push myself by saying “you can do it,” changed the course of my career 100%. I then made sure that I kept them as mentors for their continued support and their coaching.” – Samantha Mansfield

I wake up doubting myself sometimes. When people ask what I do for work, I share that I work in marketing and immediately follow with the fact that I went to school for a degree in Dance, and I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s like a self-deprecating defense mechanism. It feels like I am trying to diminish my skills entirely – I don’t have a background in marketing, so I feel like a fraud when I share what I do, but in the same breath I am diminishing the years of hard work put into my Dance degree. This year I vow to no longer present myself as “less than.” I have skills, passion, and a desire to learn as both a Marketer and a Dancer.

“Dear 27-year-old self,

You know more than you think you do! Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, share your insights, and offer suggestions for change. You have a unique view, and your thoughts are needed. Avoid office politics and weird relationship games. As my dad Larry likes to say, ‘always take the high road.’ Operate generously no matter the situation.

Go get ‘em tiger!” – Renee Moelders

Seeing a theme here NextGen leaders? You have something to offer! Don’t wait until you’ve reached a certain level or put in a specific number of years to share your ideas and opinions! Your team, colleagues, and leaders want to hear what you have to say, so don’t do yourself a disservice by keeping your ideas to yourself for fear of failure.

“Take more risks. Go to that concert, say yes to that beach trip, buy those shoes! Live in the moment, before that moment is gone. Stop comparing your progress, or lack of progress, to others. Your professional journey and your timeline are different from everyone else. Take what you’re learning now and use it to continue to grow towards your goals.” – Brianna Robinson

Yes! Say it louder for our friends in the back! Comparing yourself to others is not a productive use of your time or energy at any point in your life. Of course, this is easier said than done, but just think about how much you can achieve when you invest and focus on yourself and let everyone else become background noise.

“Let go of your ‘shoulds.’ You are at the exact right place you’re supposed to be, experiencing and learning all the things you are supposed to be experiencing and learning. You aren’t supposed to be anywhere else, be in a certain role or title, or have achieved anything different. When you let go of the shoulds and realize they’re all made up anyway – often not by you – then you can be present to enjoy all that you’re experiencing and learning now. Relish it. And being present to where you are now will allow you to be present to new doors when they open, instead of missing them because they didn’t fit nicely in your ‘shoulds.” – Tamera Loerzel

I often find myself drowning in the “shoulds.” I should be working harder, I should have at least a five-year plan figured out, I should be looking at buying a house, and honestly the list goes on. It is so unbelievably easy to let the “shoulds” wreck your life. My own pressures, coupled with what society has told me I should be measuring my success by, area recipe for disaster. At the end of the day, you don’t get any gold stars for getting it done on someone else’s timeline. Do it when YOU are ready, not when someone else says you should be.

“Dear 27-year-old self:

Don’t feel guilty if you have no idea what you are doing with your life. It will work out the way it is supposed to, even when it feels like nothing is working and you got it all wrong. Do something every day that scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable. Doesn’t have to be jumping from a plane or getting a tattoo. Maybe you speak up, dare to go to the movies alone, or call that person and apologize, or maybe, go ahead and get that tattoo. Jealousy is a waste of time. Sometimes you will be ahead of the game, other times, you will come in last place. Both are OK. Fight – fight for your freedom, fight for your voice, fight for what’s right, even when you are fighting alone. Your body is better than you think it is and leave your hair alone! Get to know your parents for who they are, outside of being parents. They may actually be pretty cool. Spend the money to travel, but also, go ahead and start that 401k. Dance! Dance in your car, dance in the living room, dance in the shower. The only rule is to pretend no one is watching. It will feel silly, but just do it, and you will smile. Don’t play stupid, it’s not a good look. Know your worth.” – Sarah Sims

I am not the first and certainly not the last twenty-something to have no idea what they’re doing with their life. I am sure that one day I will be a sixty-something asking myself the same question. There’s so much I want to do and accomplish that it feels like I am failing myself if I am not actively working towards all of my goals every moment of the day. It’s important to remember that success is not a linear or quick pursuit, and your worth as a person is not measured by the boxes you’ve checked before certain birthdays.

To my 27-year-old self on my birthday –

I wish you a year full of learning – trying new things, making hundreds of mistakes, trying again, and never giving up on yourself and your dreams. I wish you a year full of love – for yourself, your gifts, and all that you have to offer this world. I hope you take this year by the horns and make something magical, find peace in the quiet moments, and slow down enough to be present for it all. I wish you chaos, joy, tears, and laughter.

With gratitude,