50 not-so-cliché advice for 20-somethings


In general, I like to give advice more than I like getting them.  Don’t we all?

Still, there are a few instances (when it comes to money, career and style for sure) where I’d much rather learn from your mistakes than mine.  And if you’re an expert in something that I’m in the market for, then certainly, bring on the advice. I may be listening!!


Not ideal for the pear shaped :(

For example, if you know that pear shaped women (which I tend to be when I’m over 125 pounds) can’t pull off these Rag & Bone Samurai Leather-Patch Leggings, you have an obligation to say something — like, “take that $495 and go to Vegas!”

Life has taught me a few things. For starters, it’s taught me to pay attention when wise people like Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, kids and addicts speak.

And I’ve learned that some advice are not as cliché as they sound.

With 2016 approaching and a desire to “take stock” that I can’t shake, I find myself reviewing some of the best advice I’ve ever heard or gotten. And my next thought of course was…how can I turn this into a post that might help one or two of you.

Note: I skipped the commentary on most of these (or this article would be too long for you to care) but please, feel free to ask me about anything you want more info about. You can leave a comment below or  write to me here.

1.  Accept yourself for who you are.

Cliché? Not at all. It took me many many quietly-anxious years to learn to accept myself; so I played small. It was long after my high school English teacher offered up this little nugget of wisdom that I realized, and accepted, that I was an uncommon blend of rebel/consensus-seeker, introvert/extrovert, high-maintenance/no-maintenance, agnostic-leaning/true-believer; and it’s all good!  Even up to recently, I struggled with being considered “spiritual” because I’m all too comfortable with the F-word, hate labels I don’t give myself and some part of me, didn’t want to be held to that standard. But time and true self-acceptance has taught me that it’s not what anyone call you or thinks about you that matters. My journey to radical self-acceptance led me to understand that even the most organized person can be a total mess when it comes to paperwork and being a good person doesn’t mean you can’t wish the Kardashians would find another planet to inhabit! It led me to understand that accepting yourself exactly as you are is essential to finding your genius, your super power and to gaining unshakable confidence. Struggling with what you look like, being ashamed of any part of yourself or things outside your control can be very limiting. We will only rise to the level we can envision ourselves at and a poor self-image limits our vision.  Try this: Say this affirmation to yourself (in the mirror if you can) every day: I AM ENOUGH THE WAY I AM.

2.  Your passion may not pay the bills but by using it, anyway you can, you’ll feed yourself.

About five years ago when tennis became too expensive to play (I was living in NYC where finding free courts were virtually impossible), I stopped, and for a long time didn’t have a real hobby outside of wine, pot, hanging out and Netflix. Then one day I bought a Groupon for 10 dance classes because it seemed interesting and the price was good. I didn’t except to make it past 3 classes. To my shock, I loved this class (and then I remembered, I’ve always loved dance!).   The more I danced, the less I was tempted to overindulge in my other…err, hobbies.  A psychologist colleague of mine explained that the high we get when we feed our passions and express ourselves creatively is better than almost any other high. Today, both dance and tennis are regular hobbies (never mind that I’m not great at either).  So if you love something, make time for it even if it’s not a paid career.  I genuinely believe that doing what you love is the way to create a life you love.

3.  Write down your work accomplishments all throughout the year.

4.  Do good work – you never know who will see it.

5.  Just go out there and try.

6.  Being able to connect with people is key to career and personal success.

7.  Stay curious and never stop learning – in life and in your career.

8.  You always have more options than you think you have.

9.  Focus on improvement, not perfection.

10. Everyone has imperfect parents, forgive yours.

11. Treat everyone you meet with respect.

12. Practice gratitude.

13. Speak up for yourself.

14. Most of the things we fear, will never happen.

15. Respect money if you want to build wealth.

16. We write our own destiny; we become what we do. Madame Chiang Kai-Shek is on my list of “badass women to emulate” and it was when I considered what my future self would be if I continued to live the way I was living way back when, that it hit me that my future self would not be happy and would remain unfulfilled.

17. Be someone’s role model.  Doing this will force you to step up your game and force you to “walk-the-talk.” You see, we tend to be more consistent and do better when others are watching.

18. Be sincere. People are more perceptive than we give them credit for so if you’re in the habit of befriending people just for what you can get from them, that won’t fly for long and it won’t work on people with high-esteem; you know, the major players you want to roll with.

19. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Live by this advice and you may never have a weight problem.

20. Wear sunscreen.  Yep, even if you’re all stocked up on melanin.

21. Dress well.  You and I know that people love making snap judgement about you based on how your appearance.  What better way to silence them than by looking too good to hate. The real reason to do this though is because it’s a real confidence booster.

22. Be loving. This is another super cliché advice, but please don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it. By being loving, you will rise above your haters, have more compassion for yourself and exude a confidence and likability no one can resist.

23. Have more to offer than just your looks.

24. Sleep and water are two of the best beauty treatments.

25. Don’t think of travel as a luxury; think of it as an opportunity to grow.  Get a passport!!

26. Serve others.  I learned this one from Oprah and some of the thought leaders she’s introduced us to over the years. I’m part capitalist, part socialist and for a little while, I didn’t want any part of this particular advice because I thought I didn’t have the time or money to be philanthropic.  But according to Stephen G. Post, the author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, a part of our brain lights up when we help others. There is scientific evidence showing that philanthropy floods our brain with feel-good chemicals like dopamine.  Businesses use it to gain goodwill and after every disaster, Americans (who I consider to be the most generous people on planet Earth) will step up in such extraordinary ways that it reaffirms my faith in humanity.  When I decided to become an entrepreneur, the most important question I asked myself was, Who can I serve? and I can’t tell you how much it fuels me.

27. Don’t lend money you can’t afford to part with.

28. Be persistent.

29. Believe in yourself.

30. Whether you feel it or not, you’re as brave as the next person.

31. Laugh every day, and regularly at yourself.

32. Don’t let your emotions  overpower your intelligence.

33. To have better communication, ask open-ended questions…

34. …Then really listen to the answers people give.  It can give you helpful insight into their mindset and worldview.

35. People are always showing you who they are. Shut up and pay attention. This one is an Oprahism inspired by a Maya Angelou quote. It has served me well when I’ve heeded it, and I’ve had disastrous outcomes when I didn’t.

36. Acknowledge your opponent’s need and humanity if you want to win him over. Think about how Olivia Pope fixes problems on Scandal.  She finds out what the person on the other side of the table REALLY wants.

37. Don’t make decisions when you’re angry. Don’t make promises when you’re happy. You can see how by doing either you could screw yourself, don’t you?

38. Give before you beg.

39. Wait until you know someone before falling in love with them. We women tend to fall in love with who someone is on paper whereas men tend to take longer and are more discerning.

40. When you don’t know whether to go left or right, go inward.

41. Take care of your health…there’s every indication you’ll live past 80.

42. It’s polite to make eye contact. Plus, people might think you’re shady or insecure if you’re don’t.

43. Feeling stuck? Create a shift by doing the opposite of what you’ve been doing.  If you’ve been slacking off, get productive. If you’ve been busy and over-committed, stop and take a beat.

44. Notice the impact you have on others.

45. Learn as much as you can about your job. Expertise makes you more marketable, gives you job security and best of all, gives you pride in your work.  While it may seem like fun to slack off and do the bare minimum, you’re not building any useful or transferable skills.

46. Be kind – some people will forget your kindness, but the right people will remember.

47. For the most part, Live within your means.  I say “for the most part” because I also believe you should…

48. Buy the best you can afford. Do these two ideas contradict each other? Not exactly.  It’s really about the balance and ultimately, learning how to…

49. Act in your highest good.

50. Enjoy life!  All the self-improvement in the world and financial success you’ll ever have, means nothing if you don’t make this journey called life fun WHILE you’re doing it.  Your parents and grand-parents worked themselves to the bone.  Let’s thank them but also learn from their mistake and live today AND tomorrow.


Did any of these advice speak to you?

When it comes to advice, I tend to be more of a giver but I’ve learned to pay attention and use the ones that resonate with me.

Just last week I was listening to Marianne Williamson’s Super Soul session about the spiritual purpose of relationships and something she said stuck out immediately like a message on a blimp. She said…

It’s in relationships that we learn who we are.

I’ve been mulling that one over ever since.  A very wise older friend told me to pay attention whenever something speaks to me because it’s usually advice/info I need or will.

Do you have a piece of advice that you hold dear, or would like to share?

Join the conversation below by sharing your insights or commenting on this post.




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