Your 20s are the time when you discover who you are and set the stage for who you will become. They are both exciting and challenging. On the one hand, you'll never be more free to have fun and pursue whatever excites you. On the other, you're setting the trajectory for your future, both personally and professionally.
The pressure to go in many different directions, coupled with the anxiety that comes from inexperience (and options), can make your 20s tricky to navigate. Here is a list of advice that will help you maximize your 20s while setting the stage for a fulfilling and productive life.
1. Have some fun
Here's what people don't tell you about hustling 24/7: All of the money you make can't buy back the freedom, friendships, or spontaneity you gave up to earn it. I know plenty of investment bankers, attorneys, and entrepreneurs who would gladly cash in their Porsches for a chance to go back in time and have the experiences they gave up.
2. Invest in meaningful relationships
Success is more about whom you know than what you know. Turn your focus on creating meaningful relationships instead of simply accruing contacts. Contacts are superficial. Meaningful relationships, on the other hand, are deep connections in which the other person becomes an advocate for you and actively supports your success.
3. Ignore unsolicited advice
Sometimes older adults feel it is their right or responsibility to tell you what you should do with your life. Though they often mean well, much of this advice is rooted in their own insecurities or self-limiting beliefs. It's often best to ignore it.
4. Discover the magic of "flow"
I define "flow" as the process of setting intentions, putting energy into those intentions, and then allowing the results to unfold without trying to control the process. When I learned to trust that things would work out, amazingly, they did, and many times better than I could have imagined.
5. Say "yes" to opportunities
Serendipity favors those who say yes to meet-ups, events, trips, and meetings, even if there isn't a clear reason for going. I didn't begin doing this until late in my 20s and wish I had started sooner.
Successful people crush it during their 20s. They meet lots of people and try lots of things before narrowing in on their purpose. Get out there and meet people, go to conferences, learn as much as you can, work hard, start a business, add value, etc. You have the gift of time in your 20s--use it.
7. Get a mentor
A great mentor is a role model who will pour gasoline onto your fire. Find someone whose life, career, and character exemplify the vision you have for your own life. Lean on this person, learn from this person, and listen to his or her advice.
8. Read as much as you can
Your ability to acquire knowledge and learn from others will help you exponentially, so make reading a top priority. Want a great place to start? Here's a list of books that all entrepreneurs should read.
9. Take care of yourself
Your business won't work if you don't work. Learning to eat right, exercise, and meditate have been key to my health and success. The entrepreneurial journey is hard on your body, mind, and spirit, so invest in all three, starting now.
While many of my peers regret not traveling more in their 20s, I am very grateful I made it a priority. By the time, we started SkyBell (I was 28), I had already visited nearly two dozen countries and lived in China for a year, which meant I could focus on my business without any fear of missing out.
A final word
Professional success, in my experience, is the number of meaningful relationships you have multiplied by how hard you work. Personal success, by contrast, comes from your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle while living the life that you want (and not the life that others want for you). If you consider these formulas, and heed the aforementioned advice, you can build the sorts of habits that lead to a more satisfying life--no matter your age.