5 Tips for 21 Year Olds

Published on March 14, 2012

A few days ago a request came across a PR site for entrepreneurs to submit 5 tips they would share with a 21 year old. Since I started my own business at about that age (and I have two 20 year olds of my own), this intrigued me.

The person compiling the data is putting together a Top 50 list from the responses he receives (which I think is a great idea). As soon as I see the article posted, I will certainly share it here with our readers as well.

Until then, I thought I would share with you my Top 5 Tips for 21 year olds who are venturing out into the world...

  1. Find people who have succeeded at a high level at what you are attempting and interview them. Find out what mistakes they made and ask LOTS of questions. You don't have to do it the way they did and you don't even need to agree with their philosophy. Just learn all you can. Success leaves clues.
  2. Get a mentor or hire a coach at the beginning. When you have outgrown one (and you will), find another one. You can have multiple mentors and coaches at the same time with different areas of expertise. It is a wiser financial investment to have a coach than to buy an expensive car or lots of toys! (When we FINALLY hired a coach, they saved us thousands and helped us make many more – my Jaguar never made me any money).
  3. Surround yourself with people who lift you up rather than hold you back. Don't listen to the people who tell you "it can't be done" that you are "too young" or that you must "put in the time before you reach success." Just because it took them 40 years to "get it" doesn't mean it will be that way for you. (family can sometimes be the worst…they mean well and they want to protect you – love them and go do it anyway).
  4. Don't burn bridges. Sometimes you move on… when you do, do it with professionalism and the expectation that you may cross paths with this person or organization again. Chances are you will. (ooh…this one hurts).
  5. Choose carefully with whom you go into business. Some people seem great from a distance and then when you get up close, they aren't all you had hoped. There are people in high places that you may think are on your side, but when your talent/production/accolades/success begins to exceed theirs, they turn on you…we call this "outshining the master." Get to know those who you let into your inner circle – trust is a good thing…just make sure they are trustworthy first. (Leaders with low self-worth or big egos are often chameleons- their mission statements sound really good though!).
OK, so I really have six! And #6 is probably (definitely) the most important.


6. Do what you love. It may take you a few tries to figure this one out. College is about filtering your options and trying things on for size. It is OK to change your major. It's also OK to change jobs as long as you are following your passion and not following someone else's version of what you "should" do. Don't settle...you deserve to have a career, job, company, project, etc. that you are excited about going to! You may have to do some stuff you don't like (so you can pay your bills) while you are figuring it out, but it is temporary...keep looking!

We all learn through experience and in our own time. No doubt there were many great people in my life back in my 20's who tried to teach me the things I just listed. The truth is... I was just stubborn enough at that age to think I knew better.

The real question is “What about now?” As we mature, we no longer have the excuse of youth when it comes to failing our way forward. Ask yourself what advice YOU would give to a 21 year old and then ask yourself, “Am I taking my own advice?”


Nikki and Chris Buckelew are recognized international real estate coaches, trainers, and speakers. Their specialties include sales, seniors real estate, and leadership coaching.  Clients who hire Nikki and Chris are often seeking assistance in increasing their profitability without sacrificing their health, relationships, and core values. For more information visit www.NikkiandChris.com.


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