Growing up in the USA as a firstborn child of immigrant parents can be very stressful AND eye-opening. You see different perspectives, learn to balance the two cultures, and most of all, learn to create your own identity and lifestyle.
I made many mistakes between the ages of 14 to now, 23. Here are some thoughts on what I should’ve taken more seriously to have become better prepared. I know I have so much to learn because I’m still young, but I am a firm believer in these 5 beliefs.
1. Focus on you. In a non-selfish way. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
My story: I learned later in life, to focus on my education and my business endeavors. I shouldn’t have let people get in the way of my blog/Instagram growth. I started my blog and organic skincare brand when I was 18 back in 2014. I was at the edge of a new world. I didn’t know how big influencers would become, and I didn’t know how big the skincare (natural sector) industry could boom, but a year later they did in some sort of way. I was left behind due to my own fear and insecurities. Due to my own beliefs that I must please everyone and make them like me. Obviously, that’s false. But, you get the point. That will be a story for another day.
Example: Personal development is vital for success and cultivating relationships in all aspects. You must learn to set your boundaries, limits, and also learn to stop yourself from self-sabotage. Personal development is personal! It’s all about you, so don’t let it be about others.
Lesson to learn: You can’t satisfy anyone and everyone, so you need to do what’s best for you, and do your research on how to make new habits and break bad ones. What makes you feel the need to please people? What system or routine can you implement to be stronger?
2. Learn to adapt or pivot.
My story: My skincare business was the biggest blessing of my life. But, it was very difficult to start up the right way. I was young, unemployed, and just graduated high school with a taste of entrepreneurship. I couldn’t stop thinking about business, and to this day, I think of multiple types of businesses I should start.
But, I had no capital and I needed to take school more seriously. I was stubborn and prideful. I thought I would become a success by the time I turned 24 or 25, so I delayed school and I delayed getting a job. Little did I know or think I could have learned how to successfully launch a business had I interned somewhere earlier, or saved money to have a proper production for my product. I just kept telling myself I would not pivot or change my beliefs. I manifested success, without the work. In truth, that will never be enough. Here we are in 2020, and I am a completely different person.
Example: Businesses and people fail when they refuse to adapt or change, and this is all due to being too prideful or stubborn. I’m not saying you have to stand with injustice or keep silent when things are going wrong. I am saying, FIND THE SOLUTION and ACT on it.
Lesson learned: Don’t be prideful or arrogant. You have to learn to get along and speak up kindly. Learn to control your reaction, and simultaneously manifest your dreams while you put in the work.
3.Fix your relationship with money as soon as possible
My story: My family has been through tough times, and I’m pretty sure every immigrant family has gone through the same thing, because why else leave one’s home country to journey to the United States of America? For a better future right? My dad taught me that there was an abundance of money in the world and he never let me feel that we were short, and my mom believed that my brother and I needed to know the truth about our financial issues and challenges. I didn’t know the value of money. I felt guilty when I spent on things I needed desperately. sometimes I’d return those things even though I needed it. That sounds confusing, right?
Example: When your relationship with money is clear, you can have a set budget and reach different types of financial goals (buying a house/car, paying student loans). When you don’t have a healthy relationship with money, you splurge. When emotional, you guilt trip yourself when purchasing necessities. Truth is, there is an abundance of money and you will find it. You need to recreate a positive belief when saving and spending money, and that is what leads to a healthy financial relationship with your wallet.
Your to-do list:
Get educated in finance. It sounded boring to me at first, but it was a beautiful topic to learn. Follow the steps below in order:
1. Watch/listen to Dave Ramsey (the man is genius)
2. Read a quick book, “I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi
3. Read Rich Dad Poor Dad
4. Don’t believe everything your bank tells you, read the fine print, or see a financial advisor by the age of 20.
4. Learn to be timely and on schedule. It’s a skill.
Example: When you get into the workplace, you’ll learn soon enough, that time DOES equal money. While you’re young, learn to manage your time.
- Set a schedule to study, spend time with friends and family, and for yourself (alone time).
- Set an amount of time that you will dedicate and honor.
- Also, let your family/friends know about your dedicated schedule. This is how you keep yourself accountable.
Some examples of being timely:
– I will spend 3 hours at dinner/game night.
– Lunch with mom will be 1 hour.
– The study session will be a total of 3 hours today.
– Friday nights will be for self-care and painting.
This will help you create a disciplined schedule where you can meet your own expectations and meet the expectations of your friends/loved ones. Who knows, you might actually influence others to use their time wisely and gratefully.
– Set milestones when completing a project, use apps like Asana or a daily planner.
– For instance, if something is due Saturday, schedule 20 minutes to 1 hour daily to complete the task.
Lesson learned: You can accomplish almost everything within a set amount of time. Challenges will occur in life that may cause a delay or setback, and it’s your job to get back on track, pivot or adapt, and set a new schedule in place. Use this to accomplish simple goals like passing a midterm or launching a full-blown business.
5. Health is wealth.
Your health should ALWAYS be a priority. I am saying this from experience.
My story: As a teen, I loved going for a run, going on hikes, taking dance classes, and being outdoors. I could be on my feet all day long. One day, I hurt my back and knee at work and it changed my life. I was depressed because I couldn’t do the things I loved doing. My body reacted very badly to small movements and I had to lay down for long periods of time to just be able to get back on my feet one month later. I realized I had started to associate this injury with a lot of negative vibes, and it wasn’t getting any better until I went to physical therapy.
My PT gave me hope that all led to one thing: my beliefs about my body and its ability to heal. My mindset was all I needed to change to kickstart my health. Today, I still feel this pain and I know it will take time to heal, but I am confident in my recovery versus 6 months ago when I couldn’t see the bright side at all.
Lesson learned: Go to your doctor and go get more than one opinion if necessary. Learn to heal with the mind and with medicinal properties. You would be amazed by some stories of recovery for those that seemed to have a lost cause, but one day recovered. This applies to mental health as well. Go speak to someone, and don’t be shy to ask for help, because YOU ARE WORTH IT!
What I’ve learned all together…
The topics above were mentioned to me while I was growing up, but I wish I had taken it more seriously. It was hard coming from a culture that confused my gender roles and my personal goals, however, that would be a discussion for a different day. My life has changed in the last 8 months as soon as I implemented what I had already known. On this day, where we so badly want to achieve greatness, we keep forgetting to act on what we know. IMPLEMENT. ACT NOW.
I’ve learned to:
- Control my spending.
- Manage my expectations and the expectations of my friends and family.
- Take control of my time.
- Meet my goals (finally)
- Cry less and smile more, appreciating my health and its growth.
- Take time for myself and learn to step back so I can breathe and regroup.
- Create a life with flourishing success on my terms.