Within my first six months after turning 25, I fell into the typical quarter-life crises.
Honestly, I’ve had many successes that I am very proud of but I’ve also faced some serious failures up to the age of 25. These things had forced me to come to some hard cut realizations about who I was at the time and the person I wanted to be. And not surprisingly, the gap was larger than I imagined – I mean, I thought I would be finishing my MBA and be in a “somewhat” serious relationship. Neither of which was the case. Also, after spending 3 and 1/2 years on Wall Street, I decided it was time to move on. I didn’t know where I would move on to necessarily (real estate was the original target) but I was determined to find a job or career path where my talents were celebrated and not tolerated. So, eventually I quit a job not knowing where I would end up but I had faith I would find something.
In the meantime, while I was looking for the perfect job, I became obsessed with self-improvement. It was pretty intense to the point where I was balancing GMAT classes, golf lessons, cooking, boxing, reading and becoming an overall better person.
Eventually, I found the job where I am today, doing exactly what I love that marries Business Strategy and Finance. With that, below are my top 10 lessons learned from my quarter-life crises.
Top 10 lessons that I learned
- Uncovering my passion
I spent countless hours reading books, meditating and connecting with mentors to uncover what exactly I was passionate about. Once I found it, I realized that my next job had to be one that is in line with my passion. Once you’re working on projects that you are passionate about – you’re really not working at all.
- Protect my dreams
I realized that my dreams meant absolutely everything to me and it was important to protect them. Not allowing anyone to tell me that even my wildest dreams aren’t possible is something that I won’t cave on.
- Realizing that I cannot please everyone
This is just a fact of life that took me a while to figure out. But I eventually learned to not sweat those who really don’t matter much but instead focus on the most important people in my life.
- Health is wealth – stay fit
I had never been a distance runner but during my time away from work I built my endurance. I eventually went from not being able to finish a two mile run to running 8 or 9 miles every time I hit the pavement. My time spent running allows me to clear my head and remain mentally fit as well.
- Build my confidence
Confidence is a major key to building the trust of others. I noticed that as I became more confident with my craft (finance), people began believing in me and asking for my advice.
- Travel as much as I can
Okay, this one is tricky because I know we all would like to travel without the expense of work performance. With that you must first be a complete Rockstar at work and become super efficient at working remotely. Once you achieve that, weekend trips and taking days off won’t be frowned upon. At age 25 (during 2015), I traveled to 5 countries and 10 US cities and l had the opportunity to really build out my global perspective.
- Relationship building (not networking) is incredibly important
I got my current job because someone thought highly enough of me to make a recommendation. This speaks volume to the importance of relationship building. The person who gave the recommendation spoke to my character and work ethic because we had grown to know each other over the span of a couple of years. Someone whom I had just “networked” with would not be able to speak about me with the same conviction.
- Don’t waste time
My mom once told me that an idle mind is the devil’s playground. I’ve found this to be true time and time again. It is so easy to waste time if you are not working full-time. I remember spending full days on binge watching Breaking Bad – seemed awesome at the time but horrible idea. Instead of continuing to waste time, I learned to manage almost every hour of my day. Of course I built in some free time to relax but the key is to plan it out. No matter who you are, we all get only 24 hours and I had to make up my mind on what I would do with mine.
- Be patient – “Trust the process and don’t rush the process”
Once I quit my job, I thought I would figure out my passion and be gainfully employed within a few weeks. Boy was I completely WRONG! I had to learn to be patient and not fall off the path or lose faith in yourself because the process was taking longer than I had anticipated
- There is no benchmark for success or happiness
I learned not to use other people’s definition of success and happiness as a benchmark for my own, as there will always be people who have more than me and there will always be people with less than you. There isn’t a dollar amount that could guarantee my happiness and I had to decide what truly makes me happy