24 life lessons I’ve learned failing my way to success
I was asked to speak to students at my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Latinx Center.
I wanted to tell them all the things I wish someone had told me when I was graduating.
And let’s be honest, most of the things I’ve learned have not come from my gleaming, shiny, instagramable successes.
They’ve come from failure.
Here are 24 life lessons I’ve learned from my many, many failures.
1. Try not to let yourself be exploited. You deserve a job that pays a living wage — and benefits.
2. You need enough money to cover your expenses. Don’t live outside of your means. Try to save for a rainy day. Pro tip: start investing early.
3. PROTECT YOUR BOUNDARIES. Protect your time. Protect your health (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) at all costs. This is actual ‘self care’ — not bubble baths.
Shi*t is gonna happen. You are gonna make mistakes.
Things are not going to go according to plan.
And you know what? You’re going to be ok.
4. No job or company truly cares about you. They will protect their interests — you have to protect yours. There will always be more work. It is rarely an actual emergency. Take care of yourself and LOG OFF.
5. Always negotiate your salary. And talk about money. Not talking about money only benefits corporations.
6. Nurture your life outside of work. Your hobbies. Your friends & relationships — the people who WILL love you back. Nurture your interests and your passions. You deserve a FULL and multi-dimensional life, no matter how junior you are.
7. Trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it probably is.
8. Who you work with matters, not just the work you do. Who your boss is matters. The biggest impact on your quality of life is going to be from the people you work with every day —so make sure it’s a positive impact.
9. It is ok to quit a job. It is ok to leave a toxic environment. Not just ok — you owe it to yourself. It is ok to have a gap on your resume.
10. If you express you are ready to leave a job, be prepared not to have one.
11. Your career path doesn’t have to be straightforward for you to be successful. It can take many twists and turns — they all have value in the end. You can learn something from every experience.
12. You never know what someone else is going through — Be kind. Give grace.
13. If you ever experience a mental health crisis…it is scary AF. EVERYTHING seems SO LOW… and it feels like it will be that way FOREVER. Remember that there is a way out. It can be temporary. It can pass. Get help.
14. It is ok to accept help. People love you. Let them. You don’t have to be strong and independent all of the time.
15. No job is beneath you. Any job is a good job. You’re lucky to have it.
16. Sometimes a job is just a job, and that’s ok. Not every job has to be perfect / prestigious / part of your 10 year plan / putting you on the perfect career path. Sometimes a job is just about making rent.
17. Odds are, you will get fired at some point in your life. It’s ok. It’s likely at some point you’ll be unemployed and desperate for work and unable to find it. You might think you’ll never get another ‘good job.’ You will.
18. Have savings for a rainy day.
19. It’s not always about you. You may never know why.
20. All feedback is a learning opportunity. You can decide what applies to you and what doesn’t.
21. Define success for yourself. Success doesn’t have to = money, or the perfect job / house / partner / kids. Success could be getting to live every day to the fullest, and being there for your family and friends.
22. Try really hard not to compare yourself to your peers. Not everyone is starting from the same line.
23. Forget what society tells you, what you’ve seen on TV, what your parents want for you, and what your peers are doing. Define success for yourself.
24. It might not work out how you imagined. But it’s gonna be ok.