10 pieces of advice I wish I had been given before I hit 40

You know when you’re a teenager, and you have this vague idea that 40-year-olds have everything figured out? Well, that’s not always true. I don’t have the job, the house, the family or the stability my grandparents had at 40. And I may never have it. Times are changing, and after your 20s everything will go too fast, life will be too crazy, and when you’re 40 you won’t have everything figured out either. That’s ok. There are other things to celebrate, because we improve with age. With time, you learn to leave all the drama behind and focus on what is important.

1. Love.

Regardless of age, love can be a mess. Sometimes we do some very stupid things for something we believe is love, sometimes we feel undeserving, sometimes we can’t feel it. It starts to change once you learn how to stop worrying and love yourself. That’s when things start to come together, and you’re able to love your people, animals, the world. Also, in times like this when there is so much hate going on in the world, love is an act of resistance. Age should make us more capable of loving, and not the opposite. Keep this in mind.

2. Take care of your body.

I don’t mean “beach body” or “bikini body” (although, if that’s your thing, go for it). I mean taking care of your physical health. In the past five or so years, I started noticing that there is a lot I can’t eat anymore. I also noticed that if I stay seated for too long, my right knee hurts. And, strangely, the texture of my hair has started to change. Our body is always changing, but from now on, it’s just a long way down. It’s up to you to treat your body right because you’ll soon have time to do a lot of stuff. Because, yes, there is life after raising children!

3. Keep up with the times.

It will be harder and harder to understand what the “kids” are talking about. And although you don’t have to force yourself into pop culture, staying curious and connected with the world around is a survival skill.

4. Be good at something.

One thing that will be more difficult with time is getting a job. Trust me. Especially if you have children, are a single parent, or didn’t go to university. But it should not be a reason for you to get stuck. We live in a time when it is not only possible but mandatory to create opportunities. If you live in America or some European countries, chances are you have more opportunities than most of the world. Look around, get inspired, work, create.

5. Forget the opinion of others.

What other people have to say about you and your life is of no importance whatsoever. The sooner you realize this, the better. Worrying about the village’s opinion will give you a lot of disappointment and bad skin. If you didn’t realize it yet, now is the time.

6. Change, if you must.

There’s a lot of stuff you can’t change in life. Your height, the weather, the past, the family you’re born into. But there’s also a lot you can change. So, if you’re not happy with your work, your marriage, your haircut: change it.

7. Stop the “I deserve it” trap.

Yes, you deserve a dress, an expensive pampering session at a spa, that bottle of wine, travelling, etc. But you know what you truly deserve? Peace of mind. Make choices that will make you genuinely happy.

8. Walk.

Walking is one of the pillars of humankind. Our ancestors walked from Ethiopia into the world. Children start independence from parents with small steps. First thing we do when arriving in a new place is to walk around and get a sense of it (you don’t? well, you should!). Walking keeps your blood flowing, keep your bones in place, keeps the mind working. It also helps being more creative — next time you have to deal with a problem, take a walk and see how it goes.

9. Learn a new language.

People say it’s easier when you’re younger, and it may be true. But no one said it’s impossible to learn a new language at any point in life — my grandfather learned English after his 40s! It does wonders for the brain, opens news doors, and makes you a more interesting person. Trust me.

10. Be thankful.

Look around and see what you’ve achieved so far. Say thanks. Not just this Holiday season, but every day.

15 Pieces Of The Best Career Advice Successful Business Leaders Ever Received

Throughout your life, you will always receive career advice – some bad and some good. What you do with the advice you receive is up to you, but in some instances, it can prove to be invaluable. A report from CNBC showed that the top women CEOs received valuable career advice from their moms that they still adhere to today.

Whether you have received advice from a mentor, peer or family member, it can help change the course of how you go about your career and the path you decide to take.

Below, 15 Forbes Agency Council members share the best career advice that they ever received and how it helped them throughout their journey.

Fifteen Forbes Agency Council members share some of the useful advice they've received during their careers.

All photos courtesy of individual Forbes Agency Council members

1. Work Hard, Play Harder

In the creative industry, hours are long. You must work hard to succeed. But to be inspired and keep your finger on the pop culture pulse, you also really need to play hard. You need to get out there and live life. See the play. Hear the music. Go on the trip. A life lived solely behind a computer screen leaves little to the imagination. - Abby Downing , ZinePak

2. Avoid Being Paralyzed By Fear

When I graduated from college, I interviewed 300+ people about their best career advice. Not to downgrade their advice, but the best career lesson came from a fainting goat. Adult fainting goats experience temporary paralysis when they face fear. On the other hand, baby fainting goats know nothing about fear and move about the farm freely. The key to a career: Avoid being paralyzed by fear. - Brett Farmiloe , Markitors

3. Have A Path But Be Flexible

Have a general career path in mind, build relationships along that path, and be willing to accept challenges even if it seems they may lead you down a different path. You never know where those may lead. - Brian Sullivan , Sullivan Branding

4. Don't Let Others Manage Your Career

One of my mentors always said don't let others manage your career because you will be unhappy with the results. What he meant by management is focusing on what skills and experiences you need to ultimately be in your dream job. I managed my moves carefully, making sure that I built the right skills to be a CEO. In the end, he was right and I am happy with the outcome. - Gina Michnowicz , Union+Webster

5. Earn Their Trust

The best piece of career advice I ever received was "earn their trust." Whether it's a client, a coworker, a vendor or a boss, once you have earned someone's trust, new opportunities, information and cooperation come your way. I've found this to be true for the more than three decades of my career. - Drew McLellan , Agency Management Institute

6. Fight For Happiness

A fairy tale misconception is that happiness (in work or in life) is presented to you by someone else (like a knight in shining armor). Truth is, your life, happiness, sense of balance and even how people treat you, are completely in your control. But the kicker is you have to fight for these things each day. - Jaymie Scotto Cutaia , Jaymie Scotto & Associates

7. Learn Something New Every Day

The pace of business is grueling and the energy required is exhausting. But, as one of my trusted mentors reminded me, our brain needs exercise each day. He suggested to seek new knowledge and become a student of the industry I serve, of my profession, as well as in parenting and in my faith. Learning something new is a privilege we can ill-afford to sacrifice. - Dave Wendland , Hamacher Resource Group

8. Treat Everyone How You Want To Be Treated

Anyone who comes in contact with your business or employees deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. I’ve held to this belief when dealing with rude inquiries, tough clients and bullying peers. The result is a company with a reputation for helping others, sticking to their word and producing results while being courteous. - Leila Lewis , Be Inspired PR

9. Don't Be The Smartest One In The Room

Oftentimes, leaders feel that they need to be the "smartest guy or gal" in the room, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Good leaders are the smartest one in the room, great leaders surround themselves with smarter people that will challenge ideas, bring new perspectives to the table and drive innovation. - Jacob Hanson , PR with Panache!

10. Improve, Don't Perfect

Success doesn’t come overnight. The ascent toward your vision is long and steep, but only you can see it, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Start climbing and you’ll realize you’re on a never-ending hike. Strive for constant improvement, not perfection. - Lindsay Mullen , Prosper Strategies

11. Never Complain When There’s A Lot Of Work

I was told by a mentor very early on that I should never complain when there’s a lot of work to do. I agree and tell my team the same thing. Be thankful there’s work to do. When something becomes easy or routine, it’s a clear sign you’re not growing. - Nicole Rodrigues , NRPR Group, LLC

12. Don't Tie Your Sense Of Self-Worth To Your Job

Regardless of how good/bad your job is going at any time, you're a valued individual regardless. If you're finding that your emotions are held hostage to how you're performing at work, it's time to rethink your priorities and what truly matters to you. - Jeff Tan , Dentsu Aegis Network

13. Slay The Dragon

Dragons take on many forms – the hardest task of the day, a new responsibility, an impending deadline, or even dealing with conflict – and the trick is to just slay the dragon and move on. Don’t overthink it. To succeed, you have to have the confidence to take things head on and keep moving forward. - Sarah Mannone , Trekk

14. Market Yourself

When I started my career, I was told, "Market yourself because no one else will do it for you." I passed along every "great job!" email to my managers and then filed them away to read again whenever I needed a pick-me-up. I shared the work I had done of which I was proud and others might not be aware. And I counsel everyone I mentor to do the same. If you don't have your own back, who will? - Starr Million Baker , INK

15. You Are The CEO Of Your Life

As entrepreneurs, we're going to work 100-hour weeks and get little thanks. So we have to be clear about our "why." If you can think of anything else you'd rather be doing with your time, then what you're doing today is not right. When you fully, deeply commit to your "why," the grind is just part of the game. My "why" is to breathe life into the dreams of entrepreneurs. I can't get enough of that. - Randy Shattuck , The Shattuck Group

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Find…

1. Don’t Rush To Grow Up

When you reach your teenage years, you might wish to be treated more like an adult, to be given more independence and more say over your life, to wear more grown up clothes, to watch more grown up movies, and to do more grown up things.

Growing up shouldn’t, however, be something we try to make happen, it should just happen by itself as and when the right time comes. In all honesty, you should try to embrace your childhood for as long as you can because this is the time when you will live the most carefree of your days on this Earth.

2. Start Taking Care of Your Health Now, Not Later

“Your mind’s acceptance of age is 10 to 15 years behind your body’s aging. Your health will go faster than you think but it will be very hard to notice, not the least because you don’t want it to happen.” (Tom, 55)

We all know to take care of our health. We all know to eat better and sleep better and exercise more and blah, blah, blah. 2 , 3 But just as with the retirement savings, the response from the older readers was loud and unanimous: get healthy and stay healthy now.

So many people said it that I’m not even going to bother quoting anybody else. Their points were pretty much all the same: the way you treat your body has a cumulative effect, it’s not that your body suddenly breaks down one year, it’s been breaking down all along without you noticing. This is the decade to slow down that breakage.

The key to salad is to laugh while eating it.

And this wasn’t just your typical motherly advice to eat your veggies. These were emails from cancer survivors, heart attack survivors, stroke survivors, people with diabetes and blood pressure problems, joint issues and chronic pain. They all said the same thing: “If I could go back, I would start eating better and exercising and I would not stop. I made excuses then. But I had no idea.”

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” — L.M. Montgomery

I know I’ve said a lot about how time is precious and how important it is to find a good major, choose a career, stay active, participate in clubs, do more, be more, be yourself. taken as a whole, it can all seem so overwhelming. It’s human to be afraid. Don’t worry if that is how you are feeling. You are off to a new adventure. Being afraid means you are challenging yourself, trying something new. Be excited and proud that you are rising to the challenge and believe in yourself. That is why I say don’t worry too much. Life has a way of falling into place if you work hard, try new things, be kind, and ask for help. Everything will be okay.

Hopefully, some (if not all) of this advice has resonated with you and brought some peace of mind or sound suggestions to keep yourself on track as you head off to college. Seeking guidance from others at this formative time is smart, and you'll only thank yourselves in the long run. So take the advice you need to heart, and good luck on your blossoming college journey!

For more helpful advice from fellow college students, check out the student vloggers on our YouTube channel!

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