What Business Advice Would You Give Your 16 Year Old Self

The world is full of regrets and many people resent lost opportunities. So we polled a number of successful entrepreneurs and business executives and asked them what advice they’d give their 16 year old selves if they could go back in time.

The results are fascinating and provide a great roadmap of how to get ahead in business.

Tim, a highly successful Bay Area IT executive with a large multinational firm didn’t have to think, he immediately offered these nuggets, “If I could go back in time and speak to my 16 year old self, I would tell myself to focus on developing a strong work ethic and to always be willing to learn and adapt to new situations. I would also tell myself to be persistent and to not be afraid to take risks in pursuit of my goals. Honestly, I would advise myself to surround myself with positive influences and to seek out mentors who can help guide me on my career path.

Overall, I would emphasize the importance of hard work, determination, and a willingness to continuously improve in order to achieve success in my career.”

Susan, who is a very successful photographer took a slightly different approach and offered advice for anyone wanting to get ahead in the arts. She thought about the question and then answered quite passionately, “One of the best pieces of career advice for someone following their passion in the arts is to be persistent and to never give up on your dreams. The arts can be a challenging field to break into, and it’s important to have a thick skin and to keep pushing forward even when faced with rejection or failure.

Additionally, it’s important to continuously improve your craft and to seek out opportunities to showcase your work and network with others in the field. “

In Singapore, Jack, a well-respected entrepreneur took this question in a different direction and answered from personal experience, “If I were offering advice to young entrepreneurs in Asia, I would emphasize the importance of having a strong business plan and being able to clearly articulate your vision for your company. I would also advise them to be adaptable and to be willing to pivot their business model if necessary in order to better meet the needs of their customers.

I would encourage them to be persistent and to never give up on their dreams, even in the face of challenges and setbacks.”

And finally, Jing in Taipei who has built a global carer as a high-powered executive in a male-dominated industry, gave a no holds barred piece of wisdom, “Young women need confidence, I certainly needed a push when i was a 16 year old studying and dreaming. I would encourage all young women to believe in their own abilities and to never let their gender hold them back. Women, more than men need a strong network of professional contacts and to support other women in their field.

I would advise them to be persistent and to never be afraid to speak up and advocate for themselves in order to succeed in their careers. My 16 year old self would never speak up, I learned the hard way that you have to.”