28 Lessons at 28
I’ve just turned 28. I started FB Comms at 24 and it’s been the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I still (and won’t ever) know everything, but I’ve still lived enough of a life to have picked up some nuggets I’d like to share!
Here are 28 lessons I’ve learnt at 28 years old:
1. Social media isn’t reality.
I literally work in the field and curate content for it. Even that influencer doesn’t look like that 99% of the time and probably has a PR team with a plethora of rules on how and when they can be seen.
2. Nobody else is doing as well as you assume.
You have absolutely no idea what’s going on off someone’s feed. Don’t assume anyone is way more successful or happier than you because they post more highlights.
3. Time invested in yourself isn’t wasted.
When you think ‘I don’t have time to go to the gym or to relax or to go on a walk’ is often when you need it most.
4. What you say when you talk to yourself matters.
If your internal and external dialogue is one of being overwhelmed, busy and stressed, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. You can choose the story you tell yourself.
5. Saying yes to one thing means saying no to another.
Taking on unpaid opportunities or trying to help everyone means saying no to time of paying clients, my team, or my free time. It’s ok to say no if it means compromising on your non-negotiables.
6. Your team are your greatest asset.
Do everything you can to look after them. Without a great team, happy in what they do, there isn’t any great work, results and happy clients.
7. Nobody is going to do things for you.
A teacher isn’t suddenly going to make you smart, a PT isn’t suddenly going to make you ripped and a mentor isn’t suddenly going to make you a success. You’re the only person that can take action and be responsible for yourself.
8. Contract the daylights out of everything.
From the number of posts to time on engagement to delivery dates, payment terms, expectations, policies and everything in between. Protect yourself, your team, your clients, and update or review those contracts regularly.
9. Running isn’t awful.
When you get better at it.
10. Read books you wouldn’t usually pick up.
Finding multiple points of view, realities and stories you wouldn’t usually pick up expands your thinking. I’ve joined the Propel Her and Leeds Feminist Book Club to find reads I wouldn’t otherwise pick and to hear viewpoints I wouldn’t otherwise hear.
11. You can’t uphold everyone else to your standards.
Just because you’d never cancel last minute or pay an invoice late, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. If you expect the best from everyone at all times, expect to be disappointed. You can only lead by example. And contracts.
12. If you can’t switch off, switch over.
Write, stretch, play tennis, do something that’s immersive if you can’t just sit still without your brain stressing itself out.
13. Find your people.
We all change and need people at different stages in our lives who can relate or understand or want to pursue new hobbies with us. Look online, join a workspace, find a sports team. They’re out there.
14. Never stop learning.
Especially important in my field with social changing FAST. If you don’t keep up, you’re getting left behind.
15. Thoughts aren’t facts.
We all have crappy automatic thoughts but you can pick which ones you pay attention to.
16. It’s ok to drop the ball.
When you’re juggling so much, decide which balls are made of glass (my team, clients, health, family) and which are made of plastic you can drop without a catastrophe (washing, cleaning, nights out you don’t want to go to).
17. Always make time for fun.
I’m spending my birthday at Alton Towers and have a silly party planned like a film premier where we can all dress up and watch Shrek on a giant screen. There are always opportunities for fun when you have connection + playfulness + flow. Create more of it.
18. Asking for help is a strength.
Also finding the right kind of help. I’ve got a VA, accountant, HR, opps manager and hired experts in their field as well as a business coach and therapist. I can’t do everything on my own and need to leverage the expertise of others to level up.
19. You can’t mindread.
You’ll never know exactly what others think about you. Yes, you can influence it, but you can’t control it. That’s about them and their perception of the world, not you.
20. You’re not a fortune teller.
You’ll never be able to predict what’s going to happen. Hell, I didn’t predict a national lockdown the week after going self-employed! There’s no point getting anxious about a future you can’t control.
21. You can’t control everything.
You can control yourself and influence others, but you can’t control them, the environment or the current climate. Focusing on your locus of control is the only place where you’ll be productive.
22. Creativity bombs when you force it.
There’s a reason we think of our best ideas in the shower. Take time away from a problem if you want a solution.
23. Change up your environment.
After 18 months of working from home in my spare room, alone, I was fast running out of ideas and inspiration. Working from NYC for 5 weeks I had fresh ideas and perspectives on everything across the business. Even sitting in a cafe for a few hours over my desk helps.
24. Never neglect friends and family.
It’s easy when things get hectic to pause socialising, but those friends and family won’t always be there at the drop of a hat. Jobs and projects come and go and so will social ties if you don’t put time into them.
25. More people need to do yoga.
It’s hard to think about much else when you’re focusing on matching your breathing to the movements. Getting through the discomfort of stretching is something you take off the mat to get through discomfort in life.
26. Stuff can still happen and be valid if it isn’t shared online.
You don’t need to be constantly achieving ‘announcable goals’ like winning new clients, getting a new car, going on holiday and getting awards. But those tend to be the things people share. Taking time off, improving results slightly, enjoying your day are all still great things.
27. Hustle culture is bollocks.
The people spouting about working 2 days, passive income, taking time out is oh-so-important most likely put in way more hours than is healthy to get to that point. If you work your arse off without a break, what’s the point if you can’t enjoy the results and also if you spend all your time on ‘self-care’ over working towards something meaningful, don’t expect great results.
28. Your best years are ahead.
Every year I learn things, discover tools and meet people that make each year better than the last. At 13 I was chronically miserable. At 20 I was having an identity crisis. At 28 I’m finally getting the hang of it.