The Genius Advice Misty Copeland, Chelsea Clinton, and More Would Give to Their Younger Selves
Consider your life for a second. Consider all of the lessons you’ve learned on your journey and all of the experiences that have helped mold you into who you are today. Consider the bumps and bruises and the setbacks you’ve encountered as you did things "your way."
We asked some on our Levo 100 list to do just that. To reflect on their path toward pursuing their passions. If they could write a letter to their younger selves, what would they say? What would you say? Would you plead with yourself to break out of the traditional 9-to-5? Would you warn yourself to get more sleep?
Here’s how they answered:
"The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think. You can do anything you want, even if you are being told negative things. Stay strong and find motivation." —Misty Copeland, principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre
"It's better to ask and be told ‘no’ than to not ask at all … recognize that you’re not alone." —Chelsea Clinton
"People in their early 20s, and even I did this, tend to think that they're way more capable than they are. You start out in the wrong way by over-promising things and overselling your skills. It's this desire to meet someone’s needs and be that go-to person. I see networkers all the time promising big things and big connections, then they fall short. If you just say what you can actually deliver, it can be really impressive." —Kevin Conroy Smith, founder of The Number Project
"Take pride in your work and celebrate the victories — both big and small." —Ivanka Trump
"Don't believe the hype of the dream. At 21, I was moving to New York City to attend grad school at NYU for journalism, and I was very much chasing after Carrie Bradshaw’s dream. I wanted to write for a magazine. I wanted to have some sick fashions. I wanted to have girlfriends and have brunch and kiss boys on St. Mark’s Street. But once I accomplished so many of the things that I thought were my dream things, it wasn't fulfilling. So I would tell say, don't believe the hype — but this is a part of the process for you to get to what your vision is for your life." —Janet Mock, author and host of MSNBC's So POPular!
"The funny thing about time is that you actually can't manage it. Time is constant. No matter how many projects you take on, meetings you schedule, or deadlines you assign, there will always be 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t stretch to meet our professional and personal commitments (if only!)." —Erica Dhawan, CEO of Cotenial
"It would be a waste of time to learn all this stuff and not be able to remember it or apply it in relevant situations. Being able to learn provides an exponential return on the investment. It’s like wishing for more wishes." —Emerson Spartz, CEO of Spartz Media
"I would just try to tell myself to take it easy. You don't have to be in such a rush. I always felt like I was running out of time and that’s not true. Slow down, take it in." —Austin Brown, singer-songwriter
"Be confident and don't be afraid to be smart. One time a woman said to me, 'Oh, well aren't you a little smarty pants!' because I was speaking up in a meeting. I wish I had said, 'Yeah, I am!' I wish I was more confident back then." —Jesse Draper, CEO of Valley Girl, Inc.
"Don't slow down in terms of working hard, but stop being frustrated by not being where you want to be. Take that energy and be more strategic instead of being frustrated." —Rebecca Minkoff, fashion designer
"If I saw my 25-year-old self, I'd just look at him and say, 'It's going to be OK. Don't ever stop trusting your gut. When you trust your gut, it always works out.'"—Scooter Braun, founder of SB Projects
More From Levo:
• Ivanka Trump’s Secrets to Being “The CEO of Her Household”
• Redefining “Millennial”: TV host, Author & Transgender Rights Advocate Janet Mock
• 4 Reasons Why Nepotism Doesn’t Guarantee Success, According to Michael Jackson’s Nephew
Photo Credit: Andrew Burton via Getty Images