“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that has recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Emi Adriano who is giving a little insight into what she thinks about change.

In August 2018 I wrote an “I wish someone had told me” blog about what it means to be 25 and facing the dreaded “quarter-life crisis” as people call it. A year down the line and a few days out of twenty six I couldn’t help but think of how much has changed over the period of a year, and how things continue to change daily. For most people, their adventurous years are in their early twenties. me, I seemed to have done things backwards going through some of my most drastic changes in my late twenties where the general expectation is for an individual to be ‘settled’ by this point in time.

That got me thinking about 10 things I have learnt over the period of a year which sums up the fact that the only consistently in life is change. I recently read an article by Maria Stenvinkel who speaks about things she wished someone had told her when becoming an adult. As the world continues to open new doors I thought I’d share my take on a few of them and addressing the things I wish someone had told me, before I turn 26:

  1. Know your why

A few months ago, the team shared a few thoughts with each other on what their “why” is on a business and personal level – why we do what we do and what we love about it. I narrowed my ‘why’ down to a few key words that epitomised what pushes me to achieve, grow and learn, these being: expanding, adventuring, achieving, learning, understanding and challenging, advancing with my main driving factors being people, time and responsibility. We often place a great deal of focus on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and very seldom on the ‘why’. Having to sit down and give thought to my ‘why’ really brought to light the importance of knowing why I do what I love – what is importance to me; what I am loving and areas I can grow into. I strongly encourage everybody to know their ‘why’ and let these develop and change as you do. Digging into the “why” really narrows down what is essential and gives direction to our goals.

2. Don’t seek meaning, create it.

Often in life we are bound by what is ‘meaningful’ and seek to find meaning in relationships, connections and circumstances. I always used to think that we are given a concrete set of talents and skills and that our behaviours are concrete, until I realised that we individuals aren’t wired to be fixed – we are ever changing, ever growing and ever expanding.

Instead of seeking meaning – find what it is that fuels your fire and create your own. Shift your focus. Changes your ‘but’ into ‘how’ and your ‘no’ into ‘yes’. Seek not to find but to experience. Don’t be driven by the idea that perfection is necessary. Understand that as long as your perspective is positive, your outcome will be – a fail is a lesson; a success an achievement and personal growth invaluable.

Your talent’s are yours – explore them and adapt them. Find what it is that makes you happy and do that. Don’t be bound by time or expectation. Let success be your noise.

3. Material goods are replaceable. Experience is invaluable

Having been fortunate enough to travel at least once a year, I am reminded of how invaluable my travel experiences have been. From the waters of Turkey to the streets of Milan and the coast of Portugal to name a few, I have been exposed to so many different cultures, heritages and histories. I have looked eyes with hundreds of people, made friends out of a few and opened my eyes to different places and spaces.

One of my favourite quotes by Andrew McCarthy reads: “the further I travel, the closer I am to myself.”

The best advice I was ever given was to travel as often as possible as far as possible. Don’t get me wrong, everybody loves buying their favourite things, whether those things are cars, clothes, sneakers or accessories but remember not to put your happiness into them. Experiences are what change us – they open new doors to different perspectives and potentials. Invest yourself in your experiences and let these shape you.

4. You don’t need to define your passions

I am certain that I’ve been asked the question “what are you passionate about” or “what is your hobby” and I somehow find this to be one of the most difficult questions to answer. Whether this is based on the fact that I have too many passions or simply don’t know what they are, the more I consider the importance of knowing how to answer this question, the more I realise that I don’t need to. Our ‘passions’ are ever changing as we develop as individuals. Passions can be endless, how we choose to use what it is that we are passionate about is essential. I am yet to find my niche because my interests and broad and indefinite. My passions lie in multiple different things and are very rarely ever fixed.

Be guided by curiosity. Don’t let the unknown be the reason for fear. Trust in the process and let your interests and passions be broad and endless as each one will open their very own doors.

5. Life is NOW!

As I get older, I find myself procrastinating far more. “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “maybe another day” seem to be my new go to. Having chosen to make very big changes in my life leading into the end of this year I found myself focusing on the “what if’s”, until someone asked me what it was that I was waiting for.

We often get distracted by the present moment and focus on our past on future as opposed to the right here, right now. In my 26th year, I’d like to focus far more on what is happening in this present moment as opposed to what has been and what is still to come. I don’t have all the answers and most likely never will but the more present I am to the now, the more I will gain out of it. Instead of getting distracted by expectations, future plans and past failures, my focus should shift to present learnings. There is no better time than right now – tomorrow isn’t promised so what are you waiting for?

Turning twenty six is the start of big change and the potential for endless growth, new beginnings and a world of new experiences. Everything may not make sense now, but eventually it will. I intend on being thankful that life is never fixed and always changing and that the only consistency we have is change itself.

From the words of one of Rob Stiltanen: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And whole some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”