If only I knew this when I was an 18 year old teenager


If only I knew this when I was an 18 year old teenager

By Donovan Grant


“If only I had known!!” Many of us hear or even say to ourselves every single day. Sometimes we say it through loss or frustration and on other days it’s an acknowledgement of an insightful idea we just picked up. Unfortunately, none of us can really see into the future so we have to settle with learning what we can from all failures and setbacks we face.

What about our teenagers? Have you ever considered what you know now that you wish you had known when you were 18?

This topic came up recently when I stopped for a catch-up with some colleagues after work. The group were sharing how they first got into the career of Information Technology (IT) and what challenges they had to overcome to make it. I don’t know about you, but conversations like this excite me far more than what’s happening in the current soap operas. 

One interesting story was from Charles who was raised in Uganda. Charles’s mum was a school teacher and it’s fair to say she was a pretty strict one too. Charles recalled one school year when he slacked off with his studies and got pretty bad exam results and mum was not happy. What would all good mum’s do? She made him sit the whole school year again! “Oh my gosh!”  On the face of it this seemed a pretty mean thing for a mum to do; but Charles puts most of his current success down to the standards that himself after being taught this lesson by his mum?

On the back of this little conversation and contact that I get through social media I’ve created a list of 10 things I wish I had known when I was 18. This list was shared with a group of 16 – 19 college students during a careers talk session and it has helped two of them in particular to get back on track with studies and business plans. Feel free to share this list with young people who have a desire to keep moving forward despite the challenges young people face today.

1. Know who you are – when you know what makes you tick, life is so much easier

2. Be clear what you want – set yourself goals that develop you beyond anything you thought was possible – TAKE ACTION!

3. Find the best role model in your chosen field of interest – copy them, read their biography, study their website, facebook page, twitter page and become an expert in that field

4. Develop people skills and always work on yourself first – people connect with people

5. Continue learning and growing for life

6. Have at least one accountability party to help you on track

7. Be willing to fail! Perfection is overrated

8. Learn as much as you can about marketing

9. Have an hour of power every day ~ 20 minutes exercise, 20 minutes your goal, 20 minutes reading

10. Be honest and smile every chance you get

What do you think? Have you got a nugget of wisdom that you could share with a young person? Join the conversation and leave your questions and comments below.

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com 


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