Emma McLeod talks to high achievers from sport, exploration and business and asks them what advice they would give their 21 year old self?

I often think there are so many pieces of great advice I could give my 21 year old self. But then again, hindsight is a wonderful thing. And experience is invaluable. We asked our ‘Road to Resilience’ speakers and event partners to reflect on their careers. ‘What advice would they give their 21-year old self and why?’ Here is what they have to say.

Premiership Rugby player Gareth Steenson says that the single piece of advice he would offer his younger self would be to enjoy making mistakes and don’t get “bogged down”, Gareth explains:

“I used to base my game on my kicking. If I missed a couple of kicks in a game, I would feel I‘d had a bad game. But when I reviewed the game on Monday, I’d think that overall it went well.”

Gareth’s advice to young players is to not put pressure on yourself and compare your career to others, “don’t worry about what other people are doing, but focus on yourself.”

All of those I interviewed were adamant that mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Mark Peberdy, at Leapfrog Animation, says his advice would be, “don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t wait and wonder. Start sooner rather than later, keep focused and energised.”

Sailing and Performance Coach Mark Rhodes believes that looking after yourself, most specifically your health, is of paramount importance. When asked what single piece of advice he would give his younger self, he says, “ You may bounce back when you’re younger, but as you get older you will see the effects of those moments, look after your body.”

When I pose the younger self question to Phil Sampson, leadership expert and Director of Sampson Hall, he cites two memorable quotes, derived from our history, that have stayed with him.

Phil says that he loves Oscar Wildes’ advice to “be yourself; everyone else is taken” and Henry Ford’s observation “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Phil reflects that he wishes he had “possessed such wisdom at 21.”

Ginny at Virginia’s Vintage Hire thinks that spending too much time worrying about what others are doing and saying can be detrimental. She says that she would tell her younger self to “let go of negative people.”

As we journey through life, we learn lessons the hard way and realise that this inspirational advice is exactly right. We spend far to much time comparing ourselves to others, listening to negativity, dwelling on our mistakes, undervaluing our achievements and not giving our health due care and attention. If only we knew then…..

My favourite piece of advice for your 21-year old self, however, has to be the wise words from Rob Hitchings at Nomadic Travel who says to “Enjoy every minute as each minute only comes along once.”

Take note kids!

Gareth Steenson, Phil Sampson and Mark Rhodes will be speaking at ‘The ‘Road to Resilience’ event, at Exeter’s RAMM on 5 October. For more information and tickets, visit: astleymedia-inspires.com