Life Advice // Be The CEO Of Your Young 20’s

BE THE CEO OF YOUR YOUNG TWENTIES DIVA ON A DIME INTERIORS MARISSA IACOVONI

Polka Dot Obsessed: Gold polka dot wall sticker application shown in the image above by Urban Walls Found HERE! Photograph found from Urban Walls.

 

I started my business ventures by surrounding myself around inspirational people who have paved the way for my success by learning from them.  Looking back, there have been many ups and downs in my career which were all life lessons that have made me a successful entrepreneur.  I received valuable advice from my mother in college which was in order to establish a successful business you need to learn in your field from successful people first.  This advice has been my greatest secret to getting to where I am today.  In order to be the best, you need to surround yourself with the best.  If you aren’t being put outside of your comfort zone or challenged daily you need to reevaluate and make a change.  The only way to grow in your field is to be constantly challenged.   I am extremely fortunate to be able to work for such an amazing design firm and still be able to blog to inspire young individuals entering the field of interior design, event planning, and life in general.  To be very honest, its hard to do it all.  There are days when I am on top of everything and days where I would like to lay in bed and turn off my cell phone.  In all reality, your young 20’s aren’t always fun.  The reality of having a “big girl job” is not always as glamorous as your would expect.  The thought you will have to work every day of your life until retirement will suck all of the energy right out of you, but if love what you do this will be more of a passion than a job.  Progressing and accomplishing goals will make those days of long hours worth being tired.   All of us have a passion that we feel defines us.  Some woman feel defined by a relationship, kids, or a hobby.  Then there are a group of woman who are defined by their career.  There is nothing wrong with anyone’s passion being different than yours.  After all, we are all made differently in Gods eyes, and we are all on this earth to be challenged by different things.  Do what defines YOU.  Do what makes YOU happy.  Nobody knows YOU like YOU .  I am a small town girl from Michigan and believe me many people told me my dreams were too big and I was crazy.  Let people think you are crazy..if you aren’t scared of your dreams, you are doing something wrong. If someone asked me 5 years ago where I saw myself,  I would have said married with kids and living a glamorous suburban life.  To be as honest as possible, life never turn out the way we had planned.   The one thing I wish someone would have told me when I turned 20 is to have NO EXPECTATIONS.  I am a few days away from my 26th birthday.  I can say leaving my young 20’s is a reality check..30 is not so far away.  I am going to share with you all of the life lessons I learned from 20-25 that impacted where I am today in both life and my career:

1.MY MOM WAS RIGHT..ABOUT EVERYTHING: Sad..but true.  You are a product of your up-bringing and whether we want to admit it or not we all turn out to be just like our mother.

2.POSITIVE THINKING: When working in corporate America it is easy to go down the negative of complaining about your job, the way the company is ran, or your life outside of work.  Many people fall into this slump.  Look at all the positives in your life and it will be radiant to others making others want to be around your positive energy.  Take this advice..you will notice all the difference  not only in your career but life in general.

3. CONFIDENCE: A current question I get asked a lot by clients and friends is how are you so confident in your career and life in general?  I feel being positive and feeling grateful for what you do have and not dwelling on what you don’t have is the secret to confidence.  More than ever many girls today have lots of issues with body image.  We are always feeling we have to look a certain way or be on that next great diet.  The secret is having a positive Body image is when you perceive your body as it is and that’s imperfectly perfect. You should appreciate your body and feel proud of it. You should feel comfortable and confident in your own skin. It is not about one’s appearance matching someone else’s ideal or the media’s ideal.  Stress, aging and natural processes can affect the way one may see themselves.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL in your own skin and you should rock it out always.  Having amazing positive woman in your life always helps.  I have the most amazing friends who never let me forget how amazing I am as I am always reminding them as well.  CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!

4.DIAMONDS POLISH DIAMONDS: We as woman need to realize we all are one in the same. You will realize early in your 20’s how many woman are jealous of other woman.  People will be very quick to judge or comment on someone else’s life rather than looking at their own.  I remember thinking in college that I saw more woman acting catty as I get older than I did in high school.  The reality of life is there will ALWAYS be someone out there prettier, more successful, richer, and more powerful.  I am a huge believer in bringing woman up and cherishing there triumphs whether mine aren’t as great as theirs.  We are all in our lives for a reason and I am very blessed to have all of the woman I have in my life who are constant cheerleaders of my career.  Surround yourself with woman who accept and cherish everything about you. Always know true friends do not talk crap about you if in the case things are said they should be deleted.

5. MAKE TIME: In this hectic world we live in many of us forget to stop, take a break, and appreciate the small things.  Something as simple as small gestures, actions, or words all will have an impact to improve someones day or even yours.  There are many small things that we do every day and that naturally express our heart.  Many times due to our hectic schedules its hard to always appreciate these small things our loved ones may do for us.  When we were younger and in a more selfish state of mind all we had time was for hanging out with friends, the new clothes we were getting, or what car we wanted when we turned 16. As most of us have grown and matured we realize how many of these”so-called” friends are no longer in our loves and how many family members and very close friends are still present in our lives.  I have grown to know that a simple lunch with a cousin, or night out with old high school girlfriends mean the most to me.  I try to even send thinking of you cards to my loved ones to remind them how much I care.  Take time today to appreciate the small things and let a loved one know how much you appreciate them in your life.

6. GIVE PEOPLE MORE THAN THEY EXPECT: Always go above and beyond to prove to people you are a determined employee ready and able to go beyond the task at hand.  Most people will do the bare minimum job and let others do the extra work.  If you want that next promotion or bonus..take the extra steps needed to prove you deserve it!  This may be staying late and/or working weekends but hard work will always pay off.

7.  DO WHAT YOU LOVE NOT WHAT WILL MAKE YOU THE MOST MONEY: A very successful CEO once said to me, ” If you do what you love, you will be successful.  The money will come at some point in your career  because you will be willing to take the extra steps to get there because you are passionate about what you do.”  Once you are passionate about something you will never look at it as just a job.

8.  DATE SOMEONE WITH SIMILAR GOALS: This decision will have a extreme effect on your success.  Make sure you date someone who believes in your career ambitions and always supports your happiness whether its not theirs.  This decision will effect and determine 90% of your happiness or misery at the end of the day.

9. PERSISTENCE: Never be afraid to annoy a company if you want that job…if you annoy them enough they will have to call just so you will stop calling!  Prove you want that job and be persistent.

10. MAKE LISTS: For example, writing down goals or challenges you would like to conquer.  There is something so amazing about crossing things off of my list that make me push harder to accomplish all things on my “to-do” list.

11. ADMIT YOUR LIMITS: You will not be able to accomplish everything on your list as fast as you’d like.  The reality of life is we all have a lot going on between dating, family, friends, pets, and hobbies.  I have realized there are some days green juice doesn’t seem as appetizing as a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks—and that’s OK.  Take time to rest and do nice things for yourself.  In my early 20’s I was so busy trying to build my career and having fun on the weekends I didn’t take enough “selfish days.”  Its OK to tell your girlfriends you would rather stay home on a Saturday night than hit up the bars all night long.  If you don’t take time for yourself you will run yourself down.  Always remember if you don’t take care of yourself nobody else will.  This is knowing your limits to balance your life and everyone in it.

12. CHOOSE YOUR “GO HARD” DAYS: Choose up to four days a week you will concentrate on being the most efficient.  Its easier said than done but small baby steps to getting your mindset in a “go hard or ho home” attitude will benefit you.  Someone once told me it was easier to work out hard 4 days a week than all 7 because they had the energy to push themselves harder on those four days than all seven.  I surprised how much I accomplished after starting this weekly routine.

13. YOUR FRIENDS WERE THERE FOR YOU BEFORE THE BOY: Girlfriends are EVERYTHING. I have been in 3 long term relationships from which I learned different things about myself in all of them.  If you look back, your girlfriends went through all of this with you.  Every girl in a long term relationship feels that they will marry that person, and in most cases there is always a tragic break up. No man will be there to wipe those tears or sit and eat an entire pizza and 2 tubs of ice cream with..your girlfriends will.

14. YOU WILL FAIL AND ITS OK: The greatest accomplishments in my career have been failing before I made it.  The key is not caring what anyone thinks and working hard.  Good things happen to those who work hard and aren’t afraid to fail.

15. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU: This is one life lesson that you will understand more as your mature. Not every man or girlfriend will get along with you.  At times its difficult hearing from friends..”he is just not that into you.” but on the flip-side of this is there is a lot of positivity in realizing this early on and saving you from many long nights fighting because your personalities just don’t work well together.  Date someone who accepts YOU and meets all of the criteria you are looking for in a man. DO NOT settle for anything less because you feel you need to save someone.

16. VOTE, BUT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE VOTING FOR: Watch the news, read a blog, know whats happening in the world.  I have learned the past five years nothing is sexier to a man than a smart woman.

17. IF YOU THINK YOUR DRESS IS TOO SHORT, IT PROBABLY IS: There comes a time we all need to reevaluate the wardrobe. I recently took half of my closet to Buffalo Exchange to get money for half of the outfits I wore in clubs when I was 21.  The phrase “Leave more to the imagination” is true and I wish I would have realized this earlier in life.  You can still be sexy without having the goods out for everyone to see.  Believe me, you will have a Carrie Bradshaw moment when trying on these old club outfits over wine with girlfriends and you will laugh you actually a.) fit into the outfit and b.)your friends let you leave the house with it on.

18. NANNY/BABYSIT FOR EXTRA CASH:  If you can find a family that will work with your school schedule I swear by this job!  You can study while the kids are napping which makes for a weekly efficient studying schedule.  This will pay for all those crazy Saturday night bar tabs for you and your girlfriends. I went to college in Chicago so a night out was always a hefty amount of change.  I was a nanny all through college and wish I would have saved more of my earnings. If you can manage to put away $20 into savings weekly/monthly, you will be astounded by how much money you will have saved by the time college is finished.

19. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY: It is better to have an amazing set of girlfriends over 5o girlfriends who most likely are just acquaintances and are fun for a Saturday night.  It took me awhile to learn how to “delete friends.”   Its OK to not hang out with everyone and just have your core group of friends who you know are always there and have your back through thick and thin.  This does not mean you need to put anyone down or make someone feel left out but this does mean finding quality friends who understand you and will grow with you outside of partying.

20. STAND UP FOR YOUR BELIEFS, THEY ARE NOT STUPID: Always believe in what you feel is right.  You will come across many people in life that will challenge your views.  Never lose sight of who you are.

21. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SHOES. EVER: Enough said.

22.SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO CRY: You will have break downs and there will be days you want to give up on yourself.   People will constantly challenge you early on in your career.  Never lose sight of all the people in your life who inspire you to keep working hard and chasing your dreams.

23. TRAVELING IS THE BEST MONEY YOU CAN SPEND: Travel abroad, go on a girls trip to Vegas, take a road trip=ADVENTURE.  Your young and this is the time you have the freedom to explore the world.  Looking back on memories the past 5 years traveling is what really impacted my life to see the world differently.  I lived in Greece, took one too many Vegas trips, moved to Chicago & Houston, went on a few cruises.  Once you get that “big girl job” its hard to be able to take Paid Time off for a month for a dream European trip.  Looking back..yeah I could have saved more money but I am grateful I used my hard working money making memories with the people I love. I would never take back these memories for anything.   Go on as many adventures as possible!

24. DRINK AT LEAST 2 GLASSES OF WATER BEFORE YOU GO TO BED AFTER A NIGHT OUT DRINKING: This is a life and skin saver.

25.  YOU WILL BE A BRIDESMAID x 10: There comes a time when you will be in everyone and there pets wedding. I have been in eight weddings… and still counting.  As much as these weddings are glorious events for your best friends they also can be serious bank account explosions.  Be realistic with how much you can do when committing because it becomes a serious time and financial commitment.  Also, you may experience a time in your life when you feel left out from the whole “married group of friends.”  You can never compare your life to anyone else’s life.  DO NOT try to settle in a relationship just to “play house” because all of your friends are doing it.  Your time will come and it will be the best time for you.

26. EXERCISE DAILY:  The best stress reliever to keep you energized and feeling good about yourself.  There is something that people do not tell you when you start working…and that is your butt will slowly get flatter and flatter from sitting in a chair for 8 hours every single day.  Turned 25=cellulite. Your body will change and there is nothing stopping it.  The only way to keep yourself feeling refreshed and the pounds off is daily exercise and eating healthy.

27. NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: It is hard living in the society we live in today. I use social media for my brands and  if I wasn’t building my brands I am not sure I would still use it.  This can suck the life out of you and reality.  No friend or potential boyfriend wants someone who is constantly on there phone. Find balance with social media and “real life.”

28. WAIT TO GET A DOG=WORK: I love my fur babies but they are the most expensive things in my life besides my shoe closet.  Make sure you are ready financially for this step in your life before walking into the nearest pet store and rescuing the sweetest pup you see.  There is a lot of sacrifice in being a mother to fur babies.

29. USE SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY. ( WELL…IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN A SNOW TUNDRA AS I DID GROWING UP=MICHIGAN.)

30. TAKE YOUR MAKE UP OFF EVERY NIGHT: We are all guilty of having nights out and forgetting about it.

31. JUDGE LESS:  Spend more time improving yourself rather than concentrating on other peoples problems and/or commenting on them.

32. THE REAL WORLD CAN BE REALLY MEAN:  People can be harsh when it comes to the working world. People do not care if you have a break up or have a family obligation.  All they care about is business.  You will hear the phrase ” Its business..not personal” at least 10 times a year.

33. GODS TIMING IS PERFECT

34.FORGIVE: Life is too short to hold on to baggage..you will be surprised how much better you will feel when you can forgive, forget, and move on.

35. GET INVOLVED: The more you open yourself up to meeting new people, the more potential to establish relationships that can help your career.Never underestimate the power of a networking.

36. BUILD THE BRAND OF YOU: I started college when social media was just becoming the new thing. In the last few years I’ve managed over 10  social media accounts not including my own personal channels. Something people don’t know about me is I have helped companies build their brands as well as my own through social media.  This taught me the importance of building the brand of “me”.  “Every social channel, website, and portfolio site you connect your name to is an opportunity to share your skills, knowledge and creativity with the world.”  Make sure you are giving people a positive reflection of yourself because future employers see everything.