3 Inspiring Life Lessons I Learned Before 30

Just five weeks ago, I hit a major milestone: 30.

For years, I’ve imagined that by now I’d have it all figured out, especially my career path. While I do have a deeper sense of direction, I’m still deciding what success looks like after 30.

To date, I’ve worked in diverse industries, traveled the country, met some amazingly talented and challenging people, and experienced extreme highs and lows— and in between all of those moments I’ve extracted lessons.

So this year on my 30th birthday I celebrated by reflecting on these lessons. Finding the true meaning of these lessons will inspire me into action, and perhaps make the next decade just as wonderful as the last.

For all you newly 30-somethings here are a few important life lessons that I plan to keep with me:

1.      Nothing is Impossible with Hard Work

My high school writing teacher taught me a very valuable lesson early in life.

Ms. Smith (name changed for this story), was the veteran writing teacher at my public high school and I had big dreams of becoming a reporter. My junior year, I was thrilled to see that I would be in her English class and I was eager to write for the school newspaper, which she ran. Our first assignment was covering a school event. I submitted an article about the recent homecoming game. Shortly after my submission, Ms. Smith told me I would never be a writer.

I was a determined girl and refused to accept this reality. I would not let this moment dictate the rest of my life. I started taking writing seminar classes, journaling, reading and went on to major in public relations. I spent many hours and late nights studying and reading throughout college, and I knew I needed to work hard to get what I wanted. With great resolve and hard work, I’m now a member of the communications team for one of the top ten banks in the country.

Be the type of person that is fortified in determination; always give it another go.

2.      Change is Good

According to Penelope Trunk, serial entrepreneur and author, life is actually “more stable” with frequent job changes. Trunk says, “In terms of managing your own career, if you don’t change jobs every three years, you don’t develop the skills of getting a job quickly, so then you don’t have any career stability.” Young professionals should take risks and consider opportunities out of their comfort zone.

In other words, don’t put yourself into a professional pigeonhole. Whenever possible, expand your career by learning a new skill or expressing interest in different assignments or projects. Taking this leap won’t happen overnight; it will require focus and dedication.

I’m always eager and open to new opportunities as they arise. And I’m delighted to say that after four company moves and six job title changes (in less than eight years) I feel extremely well-rounded and more confident for all the change that lies ahead.

3.      Setting Goals is Important

Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

A couple of years ago, I sat with my now husband and rattled off a list of career goals. I’m pretty sure his head was spinning by the end of the discussion. But setting goals gave me a target to hit.

Rather than going through the motions of my day-to-day job responsibilities, I found new purpose in my career choices. This was a smart way for me to find focus in my career path. I was also able to uncover the potential of my abilities and talent.

It’s critical to establish clear career goals for yourself. Hopefully, you work for a company that supports professional development and learning. At TD Bank, every employee is encouraged to have meaningful career conversations with their manager. By taking action and having frequent career conversations it truly helps people achieve success.

Turning 30 is leaving me with a great feeling and a sense of pride. I look around at my peers and I’m so proud of the success we’ve achieved. I see teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, pharmacists, chefs and so much more.  And as long as we set our mind to it, we can achieve anything.

Amber Leahy
About the author: 

Amber Leahy is the Vice President, Corporate Communications for TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank. In this role, she’s responsible for the internal and external communications for the Corporate and Specialty Bank. She’s a member of PRSA. Follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter.