Jamie Meyer, years 2018 to 2023
I've gone to write this piece many times over the years. All the things I would say to a younger version of me. The version of me that was living a life trying to navigate the assumed expectations of others. The woman who was starting her career and then her first company.
Many successful People have a list of things they would advise their young start-up self, things to either do or avoid. A set of instructions for the way to get the thing they achieved done. What advice would I give? What detours or directions would I alter?
I have never been gripped by quite the right words. Until recently. I realized, that while I could write an encyclopedia of advice of everything I have learned and discovered in my life and professional pursuits. A set of instructions simply isn't going to cut it. If I were to arm my younger self with all of it, how much would she really understand? She would know it, but I doubt very much whether it would have as strongly impacted who I became, as living it did.
I question whether I would be who I am today. For there is a vast difference between knowing and learning.
This reminds me of when I travel and try to explain the places I have visited to those who haven't been. There is something different about the description of a place and being in that place. One far outweighs the other in what can be gained. Mostly because it is impossible to fully comprehend something we have never experienced.
I could have dated the guy that wanted me to leave my high school boyfriend for him. But then I wouldn't have married the wrong guy at 23 and realized that I had been living my life confined within expectations.
I could have followed my nose to be a Fashion Designer. But then would I have become as passionate about impacting the Fashion Industry from a sustainability perspective?
I could have gone to Business School. But would not have had as much intimate Business knowledge as I did at 23.
I could have moved to Milan. But would it have been as spectacular and thrilling as when I visited for my 34th birthday? It definitely wouldn't have been such an impactful milestone as it was.
I could have started my Company earlier. But would I have even known how to do what I do if I had?
I could have left the guy with two kids when I already had one foot out the door. Instead of staying because his daughter asked me to and I was concerned for her.
I could have charged more when I started Freelancing. But would I have ever grasped what I could build for other People if I did? And further more, would I have realized what it was worth?
I could have given up every time I nearly did. When I could have sworn there was no way to make it work. The times that self-doubt was suffocating. Would I have even been able to follow the instructions at times like this? Because even with the instructions it would have required everything I was willing to give to get it done. Would I have been able to give that? Would I have even had it to give? If I hadn't had the opportunities that fortified my resilience, could I even call myself resilient? Would I have had that skill to draw upon?
I could have stayed in Australia and acquired an Executive Job with security and no responsibility for my own paycheck outside of doing my job. But would I have helped as many People and Companies, seen as many places, met as many People, had as many experiences and grown as much as an individual if I had?
I could have waited to have more Clients and more Capital before moving my Company to an International Firm. But would I have been as open to learning the International Market if I had already been solidly Successful at home? And would I have been able to serve my Australian Clients as well without that knowledge?
I could have stayed with the guy who was not in love with me. But if I had, I wouldn't have walked all the way out into the world, dared myself to do anything and learnt so many languages.
I could have followed the paths, the standard of what is generally done in the Consulting or 'Expert' Industry. Continued to call myself a Business Consultant. But if I didn't have the knowledge from all the things that didn't work for me, the risks I took, would I have been able to make the things that did work, work as well? Would my Companies look as they do now?
It is natural to reflect and wish you had known sooner, started earlier. But it was through the journeying that I discovered and was able to recognize what I was capable of. Had the journey been altered I wouldn't understand everything that I do. Had I had an assurance what the end would look like, would I have dug as deep, tried as hard, stretched myself to the enth degree to discover what I was made of?
My life has been made of up striving for perfection, messy bits, setting everything on fire and so many new beginnings I have lost count. Every minute of it has been glorious. I wouldn't change it for earlier Success, for avoiding some of the things I lived. I hope it never stops. Because for a reformed perfectionist, the messy bits are my favorites and they are where I get the greatest inspiration.
We take for granted that our experiences build who we are. Always trying to make other People’s answers work for us instead of finding our own. Thinking that by doing so we will be more, do more. But what if we are missing out on the best parts of our own answers, our own building because of this?
I would tell my younger self only this; No matter what, you will always rise to the occasion, in every possible circumstance. You will do so many things you once considered impossible. And then you will make a whole new list of impossible and do those things too. Despite you never thinking so, you are fearless. Enjoy the ride because it will only be as good as you decide to make it. And no matter what, smile, because the worst parts turn out to be the best thing that could have ever happened.