Imagine for a moment you could go back in time. Knowing what you know now about work and life, what would you tell your 22-year-old self?

LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on this idea in the last two weeks, writing about what they’d tell their younger selves — or anyone just graduating from university and starting out in the work world. Here’s what two of them had to say.

Juliet de Baubigny, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufied & Byers

“At the age of 22, I had just graduated from college in the United Kingdom and I was beginning my career at a Fortune 50 company. I had everything that I could ever want: I was on a track toward leadership at the company, I had just bought a new car, I was earning money and my parents were proud,” wrote de Baubigny in her post Don’t be Afraid to Bet on Yourself. “But surprise, I hated it.”

The job, the life, it wasn’t what de Baubigny wanted to do or where she wanted to be, she wrote. So she thought about what she had loved the most.

“While at university and all my life, I was the type-A student who was always involved in connecting people and ideas — whether clubs, charities or varsity sports,” she wrote. “I loved every minute of it. The best part about it, I realized, was that I was creating opportunity and connecting people to opportunity.”

De Baubigny quit her job to work in executive search. “I had this gut feeling that this was the direction that I wanted to take my career,” she wrote. “It was terrifying and risky. Looking back at it, it was a great choice that defined my career and my life.”

“At 22, you have very little to lose… so what was the worst that could happen?” she asked. “At any age, any new opportunity can be scary and high-risk opportunities are terrifying. But what I would have told myself at that age is that it only gets worse as you get older and you have more responsibilities. If you want to take that risky job, if you want to learn something or if you want to take that leap of faith and start a company — now is the time to do it.”

Colin Shaw, chief executive officer at Beyond Philosophy

“When I was 22, I hated it when people said, ‘You need more experience for this role’,” wrote Shaw in his post Being Qualified Doesn’t Entitle You to Success. “But now I realize they were right… I needed more experience to make good decisions.”

Shaw offered five things he he’d now tell his younger self. Among them:

  1. Being qualified is good, but it doesn’t entitle you to success. I have met many people who believe their qualifications mean the world owes them a living. Well, it doesn’t. Many clever people fail because they choose not to work hard. In my experience, employers want people who do things, not talk about doing things,” he wrote. “A key ability is to apply your intelligence to implement things.”
  2. “None of us are as clever as all of us. At the beginning of my career, I thought it was my job to know everything and make all the decisions,” Shaw wrote. “I learned over time my job is to inspire people, create the work environment culture and give them room to do their jobs. It’s important to hire people who are smarter than you because they make your team stronger and your organisation better. We all learn from each other, and we all bring different strengths to the table. When we put all those together, we can accomplish much more.”
  3. “Body language speaks volumes. What you say with your body language is what people often hear first. The self-awareness of one’s body language in social situations can make a huge difference in how people remember you,” he wrote. “Make sure you know what yours is saying.”


This article was written by BBC Capital from BBC and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.