Often, we are asked “what would I tell my younger self.” This question has led to so many conversations on blogs, podcasts, books, and interviews. We have gathered so much great information to share with those “younger” than us in hopes of avoiding some mistakes and closing the gap on time with success.

Well, we decided to FLIP THE PHRASE. Let’s mix it up. As female leaders, what messages are we sending to the upcoming female leaders? Are we giving them glimpses of what they have to look forward to? Or is it discouraging to them on many levels? What would “they” say is their hope to tell “their older” self? Where do they hope to be? What have they seen and learned by observing our behavior. What can “we” learn from the younger leaders? We asked Olivia to give us her thoughts below.

We are given one life on this earth, why not start doing it for myself instead of always trying to please others. – Olivia O’Keefe

Life isn’t always so easy being an 18 year old girl. I get told many different things on how to act, what to wear, what I should be doing in life. Every few years, whether it was middle school or high school the person leading our little presentation would always ask “what advice do you wish you could have given your younger self” I never really thought about it at the time, but why would I want to give advice to a person who I only know in my past memory. That version of myself doesn’t even exist anymore, and they want me to give it some sort of advice? What we should be teaching in schools is giving advice to our future self. I’m 18, almost 19, figuring out the world, tossed into a worldwide pandemic and expected to be somewhat perfect all the time.

I am at the age where I can look at adults and realize how confused they still are with themselves. When I was 10 it seemed like everyone over the age of 25 knew what they wanted in life. Now that I am older I see that everyone is just as confused as I am. Some people my age say how they would rather just stay in school forever so they never have to get thrown into the real world. I want the opposite. I want to experience the stress, the bad ideas, the mistakes I made because in the end that makes me human and I can only grow from them. But, on the flip side I also want to experience the beautiful things in life, working in a career that I love, helping others, experiencing the little things in life and most importantly, taking risks.

I was going to say the name of the person I am about to use as an example, but some things are better left unsaid. This amazing person always tells me not to worry about the money aspect with my job and instead do what I love in life, yet they come home from work every night disappointed and exhausted because it isn’t something they are excited about pursuing. I am more than aware that life doesn’t always go how we want it to and it seems like the world is against us 24/7, but my goal in life isn’t to work a 9-5 job in a dull office room. I hope when I am out of college in a few years I am able to take some risks so I don’t miss out on some of the best opportunities I could have in life.

After all of this, do you want to know what I would tell my future self? Not to be afraid to change my path. To take some risks and discover new opportunities. I feel most people don’t do what they want to do in life strictly because of fear.I have the opportunity in life to really change other people’s lives. I am my own person. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am smart. I am able to achieve anything. We are given one life on this earth, why not start doing it for myself instead of always trying to please others.

Written By Olivia O’Keefe