Turning 22 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of most people. Fresh-faced college graduates are setting out into the real world for the first time, leaving the relative safety of university life to begin their professional careers. Many of us look back and wish we could impart some advice on our younger selves to help avoid the inevitable pitfalls and perils that come with growing up.
LinkedIn recently asked its most successful users to share the advice they would give their 22 year old selves. Out of the over 60 responses, we’ve selected 8 pieces of advice from some of the most influential people in the business world.
Richard Branson – Founder Of The Virgin Group
“If I were 22 today, I would embrace the opportunities technology has given us,” Branson says. “While I am in my sixties, I am incredibly excited about the transformative power of the Web and all sorts of new technology. From opportunities to tackle climate change to research to beat terrible diseases, as well as inventions to improve everyone’s lives, I am sure the coming years will be a period of tremendous innovation.”
Jim Kim – President Of World Bank
“You’re never too young to think about your role as a leader,” Kim writes. “There are ‘natural’ aspects of leadership like charisma, emotional intelligence, and visionary thinking, but no single skill by itself will be enough to tackle the most complex and meaningful leadership challenges.”
“Leadership is not about being the head of a large organization. It’s about making groups more effective. And almost no matter what you do, better leadership skills will help. Start now on a lifelong commitment to humbly listen to your co-workers and set yourself on a program to improve those things that will make a difference in accomplishing your goals. If there’s a way of getting some real feedback, start doing it right away.”
Martha Stuart – Founder Of Martha Stuart Omnimedia
“Life will inevitably throw you some lemons,” Stuart says. “It doesn’t matter. Whenever that happens, pour 3 cups of fresh lemon juice (from about 20 lemons) through a sieve into a pitcher. Combine 2 cups of superfine sugar, 4 cups of water, some ice, and a generous portion of perseverance.”
“Stick with it. Don’t give up. Defend your ideas, but be flexible. Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will.”
“Finally there is one more thing every newly minted graduate should do: take the time to enjoy your meal, savor your success, and celebrate it with your family and friends. You deserve it.”
Rachel Zoe – CEO Of Rachel Zoe Inc.
“It was through a combination of instinct and great advice from my parents — for which I am eternally grateful — that I was able to navigate the uncharted territory of the fashion world,” says the world renowned stylist. “If I could go back and do it all over, these are the points I would hone in on; they are also the words of wisdom I offer to anyone who is just getting their feet wet.”
“Don’t look at the clock. Learn what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. Know what to prioritize. Rise above drama. Stand out in your job interviews.”