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What Advice Would You Give Yourself Long Ago?

I complimented a colleague of mine recently on her icebreaker at a meeting.

She asked everyone to share a quote that has made a lasting impression in our lives. Immediately, the attendees either smiled, laughed, or froze in place at the thought of having to actually contribute to a meeting in a manner that they did not expect.

As each attendee spoke, common threads appeared from not worrying about the things you cannot control to living life to its fullest. As the wave of incredible wisdom and positive energy circumvented the room, it was my turn.

This one was not difficult for me and required no thought on my part as it has become part of my value system:

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. President Abraham Lincoln”, I said. “Preparing for success inevitably creates opportunities”, I continued.

But it was not that crafty icebreaker question that commanded my thoughts.

During a break, I caught up with my colleague and expressed how great it was to listen to a room full of professionals offer their advice based on life’s lessons and complimented her for facilitating that special moment in time.

She then inquisitively looks at me and says, “I have another one for next time.”

Intrigued, I respond: “That one was great, what is the next one?”

She responds: “What advice would you give to yourself 20 years ago?”

Poof … I race in thought back to the past. Robust conversations are all around me but all I hear is a dull murmur.  Nothing is getting in. Nothing is getting out as it is often the case during moments of reflection.

Suddenly, my eyes laser focus on her; still semi-oblivious to my surroundings.

I respond: “I know what advice I would give to myself long ago.” “Really? What would it be?” She inquires.

“I would whisper to myself that there is no “I” in anything you do”, I said.

Poof … Back to the present. The once dampened room conversations are now bursting with energy once more.

As you read this blog and count the number of “I”s in it. Know that there is a long list of wonderful people behind every one, each contributing to my advancement in their special way. Indebted to them I will always be.

What advice would you give yourself long ago?

By J.A. Rodriguez Jr. a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.