What Twenty-Two Taught Me.

Twenty-two was a year filled with non-stop learning, growth and blessings. It was the year where I spent 11 months living in two new continents: Asia and Africa, aside from North America. It was also the year that I spent the most time alone and took on challenges, regardless if I had people to come along. (Which is tough for an extreme extrovert might I add!). Twenty-two was the first year I entered without having any concrete plans having just graduated from university and leaving the educational system after 18 consecutive years. It was a year that I declined multiple career offers to take on the biggest risk of my life thus far. That’s right, it was the year where I finally said YES to pursuing ethreeone. (full time) after swaying back and forth for the past two years.

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This is the first time I’ve actually taken the time to reflect back on an entire year and put it down “on paper” or “on the internet” for this matter. However, twenty-two was evidently a significant year for me and I am confident that I will be able to look back and smile, knowing that this was the year changed everything. So with that said, I wanted to share the top 5 learnings from my twenty-second year of existence.

[1] Take Smart Risks.

We’ve all heard a rendition of “life is all about taking risks” yet very few people care to add that there is a difference between taking dumb risks and taking smart risks. In choosing the entrepreneurship path, there is no escaping risk taking as I’ve even heard entrepreneurs be simply described as “individuals who take risks”. However, the biggest takeaway from learning what separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest, is their evaluation of risk and how to mitigate it as much as possible. As mentioned, there is no escaping risk when it comes to entrepreneurship, however, if you can take a step back to objectively evaluate how smart/viable the risk is before hand, then you’re already a step in the right direction.

For myself, choosing to go on a somewhat aimless business trip to China for four months wasn’t as much as a risk than it appeared. I was fortunate to graduate without student debt and as a single, young person, with no major obligations and commitments, I saw this trip as an opportunity where I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. In addition, by signing up for Chinese language courses, I was able to decrease the overall risk of going to China by diversifying the outcomes that would determine whether this trip was “successful” or not. If things didn’t work out on the business side, I at least made my time worthwhile by learning a second language that is a huge asset in the business world. However, I still had to ask myself beforehand if I could afford pursuing ethreeone. and going to China: and not just in the financial sense. This brings me to my next learning of opportunity cost or as I will abbreviate it, OC.

[2] Always Consider the OC.

Our main problem as millennials is that we are presented with too many options to choose from in deciding our career path. This in turn cripples our decision-making-process and results in indecisiveness. A tool that I have added to my decision-making kit, is answering the question with a question. That is: “by saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?”. Greg McKeown discusses this key question/answer in his best-selling book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

When I asked myself this question, it actually made me feel a lot more confident in choosing to pursue ethreeone. and to this day, it brings me endless comfort. Sure, there were other jobs that caught my interest, but having realized that I must find fulfilment in my work above anything else, I decided that there was really no opportunity cost in pursuing ethreeone. In fact, I was really saying no to nothing, in saying yes to ethreeone. When times get tough, I ask myself “what else would you rather be doing” and I still am unable to find an answer. Now, that’s not to say that this alone is a good enough reason to pursue something, and especially something as hard as entrepreneurship. Aside from considering the OC, you still have to be insanely passionate about your business idea and by passionate, I don’t mean naive enthusiasm.

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[3] Find Your Tribe. Love Them Hard.

I’ve realized that a spotlight gets placed on your relationships when you decide to chase your dream. At the end of the day, I would love to think that everyone is rooting for myself and ethreeone., even if they don’t fully understand it. The naive side of me did think this at the beginning, however, the reality is is that it’s very obvious to tell the difference between individuals who genuinely want to know and support you verses individuals who just want to be “in the know”. With social media, it’s so easy to compare our lives to other’s, and when you do, all you are seeing is their highlight reel. I always struggle with how much to share because I never want to come across as boastful or “look at me, my life is more important than yours” when in reality, that’s far from the truth. However, I also don’t want to downplay the exciting things that are happening just to make an already insecure person feel better about themselves.

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve mourned some friendships who I genuinely thought would be there for me and ultimately for ethreeone. From this, I’ve learned to be extremely careful and intentional with who I share my vision with and that a) not everyone needs to know or b) not everyone deserves to know all the details. And that is okay!

I actually now see this filtering-out-process as a blessing as it has given me an incredible tribe to share the intimate details, not-so-impressive moments, fears, doubts and concerns about ethreeone. with. A tribe is a group of individuals who are safe, and by safe, I mean individuals who have mine and ethreeone.’s best intentions in mind.

So when you do discover who those “safe” relationships are, hold them tight, treat them well, and don’t let them go.

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[4] What It Actually Means To Be A Go-Getter.

As an accused and self-proclaimed perfectionist, I used to not want to try anything new unless I was one of the best in the room or had potential to be the best. While this mentality has often earned me a “go-getter” reputation, I’ve realized that people and my former self actually have the wrong perception of what it truly means to be a “go-getter”. You see, when you constantly go after things that are easily attainable, that in my opinion, is far from being a “go-getter”. Rather, it is more like being an “easy-getter”.

In the process of holding yourself back from trying something new, you a) limit yourself in ways you don’t even realize/ won’t realize and b) you starve yourself of endless experiences, opportunities and the chance to learn from people who think completely differently than you.

I’m never going to pretend that I feel 100% confident about ethreeone., nor hide the fact that it scares the crap out of me everyday. However, as time goes on, I’m realizing that the uneasy feelings and fear of the unknown don’t go away but instead, you learn how to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. At least that’s the goal.

[5] Don’t Let Age Hold You Back.

One of the biggest lies that I told myself when deciding to pursue ethreeone., was that I was too young and lacked the maturity, knowledge or relevant experience. While this is definitely true to a certain extent, I realized that if I waited to feel mature enough, smart enough or ready enough, I would be waiting for forever. Having talked to several individuals who are older/wiser than me, I’ve realized that these feelings of self doubt or unreadiness do not necessarily go away with age. A pivotal conversation that I had with one of my mentors, Robin Dyke, was when he challenged me with the statement: “how about stop trying to set yourself up for success and accept the fact that you’re probably going to fail… So might as well get the failing over with early and fast”.

I always tried to hide my age or felt embarrassed when people found out because I didn’t want it to affect their belief in my capability or seriousness. Now, I am the one to bring it up as I have also learned that it’s the individuals that are worth your time who don’t flinch when learning your age.23 (5)

From here on out, I don’t just think, but I know that life is about to get a whole lot more crazy. However, I’m learning to embrace the craziness and try to love every second of it.

It’s going to be hard to outdo 22, but I am confident that 23 will also be an unforgettable year! I honestly want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has supported myself and ethreeone. thus far. People say this all the time, but I truly mean it when I say that ethreeone. would not be where it is today without your help and support!

As always, work hard and be nice to people,

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