[infographic] what leaders wish they could tell their younger selves

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provided by: octanner.com

No matter what stage you currently are in life there’s always a lesson to be learned, a strength to be fine-tuned, and wisdom to be acquired. We think the best people to learn from are the people you work with every day. Your leaders. Your colleagues. Your peers.

We asked 12 leaders across O.C. Tanner to give one piece of advice they wish they could tell their younger selves. Their answers were diverse, honest, and encouraging.

Generally, nothing is ever as good or bad as you think it is in the moment. Earlier in my career I tended to get overly excited or stressed depending on the situation. I’ve learned that typically it’s best not to overreact either way and to take a more moderate approach. That approach has allowed me to take a deep breath, clarify the reality, and respond rather than react to situations.”

-Gary Beckstrand, VP of Marketing

The advice I would give my younger self is best reflected in a quote by Les Brown, as follows:

 “Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.”

I would tell myself to think much bigger, aim higher and have no boundaries or limits to what can be achieved.”

-Ian Feaver, Director European Sales and Marketing

I would tell myself to never back down from a challenge because you think you don’t have what it takes to pull it off. Don’t assume that someone else is better suited for the task. You are capable of extraordinary things if you make up your mind to succeed.”

-Sandra Christensen, VP of Awards

The thing that took me the longest time to learn was to stop thinking that because I was the leader I knew what we should be doing. The collective wisdom and knowledge of the team is an amazing asset and my arrogance and misunderstanding about my own role caused me to not respect this wisdom and knowledge.”

-Niel Nickolaisen, Sr. VP Chief Technology Office

Leadership is not what you think it is. It is not about having to be authoritative, or popular, or about being in charge. It’s much more real and natural than that. Leadership is about caring, it’s about connecting with people, and it’s about working together to do great things. You can do that!”

-David Sturt,
EVP of Marketing & Business Development

Balance your efforts in raising your kids with your career. It’ll pay huge dividends, and make you better at your job.”

-Gary Peterson, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain & Production

I would tell my younger self to not be so ambitious that you don’t slow down every once and a while and appreciate the here and now.”

-Beth Thornton, Executive VP of Sales

The advice I wish I could tell my younger self, is to FORGIVE. We often talk about forgiving a spouse, sibling, child or friend. We seldom talk or hear about forgiving a colleague or co-worker. I now know forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength, maturity and humility.”

-Denise Page, Director of People & Great Work

Always start with an objective. This forces you to prioritize, focused and in perspective. Challenge your thinking. This will ultimately lead to a greater likelihood of success, because you’ll know what success should look like.”

-Dan Martinez, Director of Marketing and Communications

When I started my career I wanted to be the top performer. I didn’t care much about work relationships as long as I was in favorable light with my leadership team. My advice to my younger self is to be nicer, easier to work with, and not sacrifice relationships for short-term success. At the end of the day, it’s just work.”

-Ty Nilsson, Director of Inbound Marketing

Your leaders are interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas — speak up.

-Steve Newman, VP of Creative Services

Go for it. Follow your instincts. Take risks. Energy is a finite thing. You have more of it in your 30s than in your 50s. So spend your energy wisely. Build something you can own— something that makes the world a better place. Trust yourself and go.”

-Chris Drysdale, Creative Director

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