Five Lessons My Oldish Self Would Teach My Young Self

Something about having kids causes you (or least me) to reflect quite a bit on the past. I imagine that a lot of it has to do with thinking about how I want my kids’ lives to be different from mine, and in what ways I would like it to be the same.

That line of thinking kind of dovetailed into an examination of what I would do differently if I had the chance. And, as with many things, I tried to figure out how I could make a blog post out of it. Here goes nothing.

If I had the opportunity (at 42) to come face to face with the 18- or 22-year-old me, what would I say?

The following are the thoughts that are fit to print in a business magazine. I will spare you the reflections on bad perms, roommates and happy hour at Rick’s.

1) Work harder than you think you need to.

Oh, this is HUGE! As I breezed through high school winning awards and ranking in the top 1 percent at graduation, I’ll admit I did not work very hard. Then I entered The University of Michigan, and everything changed.

As were not automatic. The reading was crippling. And, yet, rather than strive for the As, I became complacent, and was satisfied to round out my college career with a solid B-minus average.

Eighteen-year-old Kelly, listen carefully. WORK! Work hard! Forget about some of those frat parties and act like this education you are getting actually matters! Because it does!

And, while you’re at it, extend that new work ethic to your first job out of college and kill it there too! Impress people with your stamina and drive! Don’t wallow in mediocrity and complacency!

2) Don’t listen to those abysmal statistics.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

Related Content
  • CanonKelly

    More great observations from a reader….

    1. Life is about choices: The choices you make today will affect you the rest of your life. Good or bad, you have to live with your choices. So make informed choices and your future you will be happy for it. A perfect example is the butterfly tattoo that you get when you’re 19 that looks like a bat by the time you’re 30. People spend as much annually removing tattoos as they do getting them;

    2. Try not to be a “sheepeople”: These are people that just go along with the crowd because that’s how they get along. The world needs leaders and decision makers, not people who join protests protesting protests. While 95% of the people you meet in life will be sheepeople, you don’t have to be. Do things that work for you and your values. If you do have to join a bandwagon make sure they’re playing your song;

    3. Don’t work hard, work smart: Coal miners work hard, laborers work hard. There are plenty of people that work hard and never get ahead. We call them worker bees. If you want to succeed you have to out-think a process or project. Find a better way to do something, in other words always be looking to re-engineer what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Inventions and innovations start with the question “Is there a better way?” This country was built on hard work but it’s a world leader because of the innovation that it brought to the world.

  • Bill Farquharson

    Okay, so the next question is: What will your 60 year old self tell that 42 woman that you are? Ready? Go!

  • Jim T

    It may not be the best thing to say on this website/blog, but I’d tell the young Jim T to avoid the print industry. That does not really fit the theme here, but if I had the opportunity, I’d say it.

  • Kelly Mallozzi

    another set of observations from a reader….
    1. Follow your heart find something you enjoy then make a career of it.
    2. Thirst for knowledge – continue to educate and grow your mind. Read more.
    3. Find a mentor or respected people in your field to emulate.
    4. Work hard every day do your best work
    5. Be considerate of others be a good listener – thats not easy.