After seeing the fantastic linkedin influencers theme ‘If I were 22’ I was reminded of my eldest daughter turning 18.

Rather than buying her an extravagant gift I wanted to give her something from the heart. So I created a scrap book of her life with letters from all the members of the family. Everyone was asked to write something of importance to my daughter: A favourite memory, a funny anecdote or some top tips for an 18 year old starting out in the world. This exercise proved to be quite difficult for everyone taking part – especially the older members of the family. It became the topic of conversation for weeks before hand. We were all struggling with the same thing. Which tips should I choose? There are so many things that I wish someone would have told me at that age so that I could have saved time, effort, and definitely pain.

Would I have listened? Probably not…but if it was a letter from myself? then maybe?

So, here are my tips for my 18 year old self

1.      Choose your battles

You might think that something is really important at the time, but often in the bigger scheme of things it’s not really. Decide what you really need to fight for, and what you can let go.

2.      Have fun and be silly

Life should be about having fun, so find it in everything you do. Make sure you commit to doing things that you love and that make you happy.

3.      Follow your gut – Always

Your instincts will usually be right, and tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. These are your values talking. If it doesn’t feel right…don’t do it.

4.      Don’t let fear hold you back

Fear will often crop up when you least expect it, and it’s a common reason people don’t achieve what they want. If you’re afraid because something is new, or big or you’re scared you can’t do it…then do it anyway and see what happens. Often these are the amazing things that you’ll look back on with pride and a massive grin for years to come.

5.      Go, even when you don’t want to…you can always come home again

Something my dad used to say when I didn’t want to go somewhere that I needed to. “Go, you might like it…and if you don’t you can always come home again.” With this in the back of my mind I always went and always had a fantastic time. The moral of the story…sometimes you have to try stuff, but know that it doesn’t have to be forever.

6.      Save for a pension

Yes, it’s a boring one…but oh so true! Start saving for a pension now even though it seems like a lifetime away!

7.      Don’t listen to negative people

Negative people are everywhere, and they get under your skin, find the chink in your amour and set up camp there. Don’t let them. It’s their opinion and not yours. Stick to your plan and keep going.

8.      And…surround yourself with positive people

These people are a little bit harder to find, but when you do surround yourself with them. They will fuel your fire and be there when you need them. These are the people that don’t think you can do it…Know you will do it. (Oh, and be one of these for other people!)

9.      Be nice to everyone

It costs nothing, and absolutely essential.

10.  Wear a smile, everyday

Smiles are contagious…people love happy people, and more to the point, a smile makes you feel fantastic too.

11.  Bonus Tip…Embrace Change

Change is everywhere. It’s the new phone you’re using; the new shoes you’re wearing; and the new film you’re watching. Don’t be afraid of change. Sometimes it might happen when you least expect or want it to happen, but it’s happened anyway. Don’t moan about it, look out for what you can influence and get busy on that. Remember as Darwin said…”It’s not the strongest species that survives, it’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.”