No matter how successful people are, there are always things they wish they told their younger selves. No one has things figured out right from the get-go, which is something age and experience help with. But if you could go back and give yourself some useful advice? That's something everyone would love to do.
Here's what I would tell a younger Gail Gensler about how life works.
Measuring Up Against Others
You know what else many younger people do? Measure themselves against others. I was fortunate enough to have parents who instilled in me a sense of confidence from early on. They may not have always approved of my stylistic choices (I went through some serious new wave and punk rock phases), but they still accepted me for who I was and knew that my professional and scholastic life would not slip. Looking back, that was a blessing.
As a result, I eventually learned to stop measuring myself against others. While competition can be a good thing, there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy competitiveness. My parents instilled a mindset of always trying to outdo myself. The person in the mirror is the one I have to beat each and every day.
If I could tell my younger self something, it would be that the path to confidence and a sense of self-worth has nothing to do with measuring up against others, particularly as it relates to one thing in particular.
Own Your Body Type
I've always been a bigger person, on the inside and outside. If my friends were a size 5, I was a size 7. If they were a size 7, I was a size 9. I've just never been a skinny girl, no matter how good of shape I'm in.
Unfortunately, inclusivity and body acceptance wasn't really a thing when I was younger. In hindsight, it would have been very easy for me to form self-destructive habits in an effort to fit into the accepted mold of what a woman "should" look like. That never happened, thankfully, but I'd absolutely reinforce the concept of individual uniqueness and confidence I had in myself if I could talk to a younger Gail Gensler.
Being confident and always competing against myself in the gym, workplace, etc. has helped me live intentionally. That's not something I knew much about as a younger person; it also wasn't a concept people talked about when I was growing up. But now, as a 60-year-old pro-aging fitness enthusiast and lifestyle influencer, I'm happy to say I've embraced living in this manner.
The person you are right now will be your younger self tomorrow. Think about that. The more you live confidently and intentionally, the less you will focus on all the things you would have, could have, and should have done.
The evolution of a woman and the endeavor to be self-aware starts from within. The wisdom of the years makes us the people we are today, if we are sage enough to learn. In my eternal forward-thinking attitude, I prefer to focus purely on my future, only gazing back to congratulate myself for my accomplishments, goals reached, lessons learned, and to be grateful for the growth I’ve had.