I love 20 something leaders. And I once was one of those crazy young leaders intent on changing the world, not that long ago. My 20′s were a special decade in my life, and a few key lessons emerged from that time that might be helpful for those of you in your 20′s, or those of you coaching/leading those in their 20′s.
1. Use your 20′s to build a foundation for your 70′s. Create deep roots that will give you a foundation for when you are older. Finishing well means starting well.
2. Don’t worry about climbing the ladder. There’s no longer a ladder anyway. It’s more like one of those spiral staircases. And sometimes you are going across or down when you think you might be climbing. So don’t worry about it. Spend your 20′s learning and having life experiences. Travel, explore the world, take on projects that seem fun.
3. If your “career” path doesn’t make sense to anyone except for you, it’s okay. My 20′s: college at University of Oklahoma, wrangler on a guest ranch in Colorado, management consultant, business development officer, Magazine and media company, strategic business plan developer. Leadership development facilitator. WOW. That is all over the map. But God was orchestrating steps very clearly for what was next in my story. And continues to do so.
4. Be diligent and aggressive in developing your friendships and relationships. Create a core group of close friends who you want to do life with. This group may change a bit over the years, but it is imperative to find a circle of trust that you are committed to and they to you.
5. Figure out who you want to be, not what you want to do. Who you are is more important that what you do or where you live. Spiritually, financially, family, emotionally, relationally. Find two or three older, wise “sages” that you can learn from and count on as help.
6. Say yes to as much as you can. Your 2o’s are typically a decade with minimum responsibilities. So because of that, say yes to everything you can. Global mission trip… yes. Mentoring from a respected leader…. yes. Chance to learn from a top notch CEO…. yes. Spend a season working in London or Hong Kong or Sydney or New York… yes. You get the point. Pursue lots of opportunities- it will help you refine and define your calling.