By Lara Dudley, a passionate consultant, an amazing mentor and friend – Singapore
Your 20s are for learning
Take that burning desire to DO SOMETHING on a journey of curiosity & discovery.
I was 21 years old and had just declined a Corporate Finance job in London to jump on a plane to China. My mission … errr … to be honest – I wasn’t too sure! I just knew that I didn’t want to be in an office for 80+ hours a week.
The optimism of escape turned into self-doubt a couple of months in. I couldn’t
concentrate during my Chinese classes (note to self – rote learning doesn’t work!) and
my insecurities mounted as Facebook stalking led me to believe that all my friends were
Living It Large in London having just banked their Goldman Sachs bonuses.
“Ahhh – What am I doing with my life?“
I could feel this burning desire to DO SOMETHING, yet was hugely frustrated with my
lack of direction. I simply didn’t know where to start. My head was saying “Economics
Degree + Dwindling Savings = Get A Job In Finance”, yet, my gut was saying that there
had to be something else. I turned to a friend, who ended up saying …
“You know Lara …. There are some people in life that know exactly what they want and
just go straight for it. They’re totally driven towards that goal. And you know what? …
You ain’t one of them Lara!”
Great! That was reassuring! My friend went on to say that my lack of direction was
a-ok! It was normal and there was nothing wrong with it. He recalled a saying I’ve
adopted ever since …
Your 20s are for learning and your 30s are for earning.
My mindset suddenly shifted. Instead of going into analysis paralysis over how I was
going to earn my way through life, I started to look at life as an opportunity to learn.
This is especially true in our 20s, when the majority of us have no kids, no mortgage …
and no mega responsibilities other than to pay our basic bills.
So that was all 10 years ago. Now that my 30s are on my doorstep, here’s a summary of
the top 4 things I’ve learnt so far:
Learning #1 – Everything is figureoutable
Even rocket science. No matter what we want to create or make happen, we can figure it
out. Consulting The Google is an easy first step and thanks to LinkedIn you can always
get connected to the right people.
Learning #2 – Celebrate the (F)learnings!
A flearn is what you learn through a failure. A brilliant word that’s celebrated all the
time in the Start Up world and deserves to be embraced in all schools & companies too.
If you’ve ever done a complete belly flop, don’t shy away. Instead, reflect on your form,
see where you slipped up and go back onto that diving board to give it another go.
Learning #3 – Gather a Tribal Council
It’s pointless thinking in a vacuum. You’ll go into analysis paralysis. Save yourself time
and energy by assembling a core group of trusted friends, family and mentors to act as
a sounding board to your ideas. They’ll soon become your chief cheerleaders as you
embark on something new and face those inevitable flearnings.
Learning #4 – People pay you for your talent passion
PowerPoint finesse and excel financial plotting aren’t anything special. There are many
super talented people out there and you’re kidding yourself if you think you have a
unique skillset to bring to the table. My Dad recently reminded me of this and told
me that people don’t pay me for my talents; they pay me for my passion. If you’re not
passionate about something, either drop it or change your mindset.
So as I enter “my 30s are for earning” stage of life, I’ll be adopting this last Learning
- People pay me for my passion – as my new mantra.
So how can you start flearning today? Well, here are a couple of questions that might help you get started on your
● What events/projects/encounters have you had that got you super energized and
● What are some of the things you really want to learn in 2014?
● Who’s a person you could talk to figure out the next steps in your (f)learning
Lara Dudley works with mission-driven businesses to turn their biggest challenges
into their biggest opportunities. She’s a pragmatic optimist, partnering with you to
turn new business strategies into something real.