What Advice Would You Give To Your 20 Year-Old Self? Here’s Mine.

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice on business, money, life, etc., what would you say?

I recently was asked a phenomenal question by a new young insurance producer. He is only 20 years-old, but is ready to take on the world. He reminded me a little bit of myself at that age, but honestly he is already much wiser.

He had several questions for me, but I told him if he had a great question, I would address it in a blog post.  Mission accomplished.

His question has had me thinking for the past couple of days. Here was the question.

“If you could go back in time and talk face to face with the 20 year-old Brent Kelly, what advice would you give him?”

Whoa. That is a loaded and awesome question.

Like many 20 year-olds, I thought I knew much more than I did. I grew up in a small town and went to college at a big university.

I had public education, but no “real world” education. Public education can be challenging, but “real world” education is where you get bruises, bloody noses, and realize how much you have to learn.

Today, as a 35-year-old, it is amazing to think how much has happened in the past 15 years. I have finished college, worked at two insurance agencies, got married, had four kids, owned two houses, lost loved ones, met 1,000’s of people, and have experienced successes and failures.

In short, I have grown-up…………….a lot!

So what would I tell my 20-year old self? Here are five things I would start with. These are not necessarily all business related, they are life related.

1) Work harder on yourself than your business.

“If you work hard on your job, you can make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune,” Jim Rohn.

This is one of my favorite quotes. One of my regrets from my 20’s is not spending enough time working on improving myself. I worked on sales projects, strategies, and tactics, but where I should have been spending most of my time is working on myself.

Personal development is often overlooked, but if you listen to successful people, they always attribute success to growing personally as much as they have professionally.

I would tell my 20-year old self to start reading books, listening to podcasts, and learning from mentors today. Consume as much as possible to make yourself better. Find it, eat it, digest it, and utilize the wisdom you will gain.

2) Your success is directly tied to the positive relationships you build.

Regardless if its family, friends, or business contacts, your relationships will either make or break you. Shortcuts don’t work. If you genuinely care about others and strive to help others, you will achieve success.

The positive relationships you form may not generate immediate gratification or income, but they will become the life blood of your long-term success.

I would tell myself that every interaction is an opportunity. An opportunity to help someone. Maybe it’s just a smile or a quick conversation. Maybe it’s going out of your way to be a resource.

Don’t let it slip away.

3) Work when you are working and play when you are playing.

I still struggle with this one, only for different reasons then when I was 20. In my twenties, play often rolled over into work and affected my productivity. Late night fun or discussing sports often took over for being mentally focused for the task at hand.

Today, with four kids, my work often bleeds over into my play time with my family. This isn’t good either.

My advice is be specific on what you are doing. When you are working……work. When you are playing……play. Novel concept right?

Work is too serious to mess around with while it’s work time, and play time is too precious to let your work interfere.

4) Take care of your body today.

At twenty, we think we are immortal. We can often eat or drink about whatever we want with no worries. We exercise if we want to, not because we think we should.

As I approach 36 years old, I better value the fact that I have one body and it is my responsibility to take care of it. The choices you make today may not show up tomorrow, but they eventually will catch up with you.

To be the best, you have to mentally, emotionally, and PHYSICALLY prepared.

Start thinking about the food you are putting into you body.  It’s fuel for success.  Make sure you are exercising each day.  Get the blood pumping.  Use that extra energy to go kill it.

5) Start building winning habits now.

Habits are hard to break. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad habits.

Commit to start building winning habits today at 20, so they will become part of your success journey into your 30’s, 40’s, and beyond.

Ask yourself and others, “What daily and weekly activities will create a foundation for long-term success?” Then act on those tasks.

Each day you have a choice. You can take the easier road and let life dictate your direction, or you can take charge today by making wise decisions to start blazing your own path to success.

No one will do the work for you. There is no easy way to success.

You earn it.

Good luck.  Now get to work.

Question: What’s one piece of advice you would give to your 20 year-old self? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Brent,

    Great stuff dude. If I could go back and talk to my 20 year-old self, my message would be this: “No is going to choose you.”

    We’re self made or we’re not made today. It’s that simple.



    • brentmkelly

      Love that line Hanley. Thanks for chiming in.