Welcome to my Birthday episode!
I turned 32 on April 29, and on this slow and mellow pandemic birthday, I did a bit of reflecting about the lesson's I've learned on this journey called life.
And so, this episode was born, an ode to 20-something-Sarah from the wisdom of age 32. I have a lot to say to my past self, and perhaps you need to hear it too.
Join in for my Birthday reflections alongside career and life advice for those struggling to navigate the rough waters of early adulting.
We talk about searching for answers vs following your curiosity, un-necessary pressure to have the answers, and the possibility that not knowing is actually exactly where you should be.
...Hear me out!
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Welcome to The High Esteem Podcast- the show with everything you need to hold yourself in high esteem. I'm your host, Sarah Erwin. And I'm a confidence coach, mental health professional, And a quirky, fast talking, fun loving weiner-dog owning, recovering perfectionistic self-doubter who is here to help those like me charge forward.
If you're a passionate human who craves purpose, or an ambitious self doubter who gets in your own way, then this is the podcast for you.
Hey, everyone, I am back. And with fun, new podcast music, which I really love. Thanks to my podcast editors.
I'm back this week just after my birthday. I meant to put this out a few days ago. But you know, as birthdays
we rest we enjoy. And sometimes it takes some time to get back into the swing of things, I wanted to reflect a little bit Actually, I just turned 32. And it's been a weird couple years, I have to say this is my second pandemic birthday. So of course, as all of our birthdays have been in the past couple of years, it was low key, but beautiful. And I got treated and spoiled by my partner, which was lovely. But because it was less distracted by, you know, trying to make plans and trying to create the perfect birthday, I felt like I appreciated the little things a lot more, which has been a lesson for me through pandemic life. But it also gave me a little bit more time to reflect on where I'm at in
and how I feel about where I am, at this age. And at this point in my journey. And all in all, I've realized that I'm quite happy with where I am in my life. And that is great. But what it is more than that is you know, I look back at me in my 20s. And I really didn't know if I'd ever get there I was you know, as many of us are in our 20s struggling to figure things out, I was struggling to find my footing and struggling to find a job that I fit in or a job at all for some time. Because the economy wasn't great when I graduated from my undergrad. You know, I went back to school a couple times, I was always trying to find this ideal version of what I wanted to be, that would give me the meaning I wanted and I was trying to figure out an answer. And alongside that I was you know, trying to figure out an answer
through working a bunch of different jobs that were often low paying. And I just felt like I was struggling. And I really couldn't wait to be out of that point in my life. And I don't know, it's so interesting to me, because there's this idea that the 20s are the best years of your lives, your 20s. And I've heard that before, and I'm sure a lot of you have. But I really didn't find it was the case for me, like I made sure I had I had a lot of fun in my 20s. But I'm also realizing how much more confident and sure of myself and comfortable in my own skin. I am two years into my 30s you know, so far my 30s have been looking up each year, I feel better, I feel more self assured. And I feel like I have my my shit together a little bit more. And I did hear from some people when I was in my 20s that they felt more confident when they hit 30. And I was really hoping that was the case. And for me it sort of was and i think you know, ages relative sure age is just a number. But I do think that there is something to entering this phase of your life where things are a little bit more in perspective, you have a better sense of what really matters to you and what you want to compromise what you don't want to compromise rather, what your values are, what you never want to take for granted who you want in your life, the type of people it's important to surround yourself by. And that might not be the case for everyone. But But for me, that was really true that you know, it took some time to sort through those things. And that time for me was was through my 20s and particularly my mid to late 20s. The early years were just fine. You know, I was having fun. But yeah, there's this idea of, I need to figure things out, I need to figure things out, I need to figure things out. And I don't think that that had to be that way. So for those of you who are listening who are still in your 20s I just want to shed some light on the fact that you might be putting more pressure on yourself than you have to if you're anything like I was
I feel like this idea that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do was really unnecessary. And I don't know if it is because you know those in your generation and my generation, you know, millennials and Gen Z dads, I wonder if a lot of that is because our parents or you know, most of our parents would take a job and they'd work their way up and that was sort of what they did back then. And we're raised by people who on one hand, tell us that, you know, life's going to be different for us and we're told there's going to be all this opportunity and then have some of us found out that the I didn't really translate when we got out of school and into like available jobs. But then there's also the the fact that they lived a life of stability, you know, they got a job, and they worked their way up. And they figured out a job that worked for them. It wasn't as based on passion, but the fact is, if figured out something that they could do, in order to make ends meet, or that they like to do whatever that might be, and then they work their way up while also doing those other things that were sort of in that social script for the most part, right. So like, having kids and starting a family and all of that. And I find that the world is different now, right? We don't a lot of people in our generation, we don't stick to one career, we're trying to figure out what we want to do longer term. And we've been presented with all these extra options. But at the same time, we have this idea that we should have it figured out because we were raised by people who did. And this is just a theory. So I'm not basing this in science, but it's just sort of what I've witnessed around me. And I think that I had this idea that I needed to know what I wanted to do. And and also, I think that that's backed up by academics and this and the school system, right? We choose programs, because we're like, Okay, I need to change a career, I'm going to switch programs, and I'm going to go back to school, and then that's going to translate into a career, we have been trained to think that everything that we can do depends on formal education, because we needed education to get those jobs in the first place. At the same time, because we're doing that, we're sort of jumping from thing to thing, instead of focusing on all those little skills in between, and trying to focus on what we want to feel like in our day, what we want to feel like at work, what kinds of skills we already have, that could transfer into the workplace or into a different role that we could sell for ourselves on resumes, and really showcase we focus on the big picture too much of where we should be. And I know that was the case for me. And what I really learned is, you can never really know where you're going to end up. And I know, that might not be reassuring for some people, but bear with me for a second. Because honestly, my biggest piece of advice to me in my 20s would be to just follow my curiosity, follow my curiosity and really get to know what my strengths are so that I can play them, I can get really self assured in them, and I can showcase them so that I get better at the things I'm already good and that people can't take their eyes off those things. Instead of like what I said in a previous episode, focusing on the things I'm not that good at, sitting in shame over those things, trying to get better at them going into the wrong jobs, and all of that. And, and also just going where, with what feels right at the time, because I do think that that will change. But I do think that our curiosity leads us to things that are real and right and aligned for us in that moment. And then those opportunities, bring more opportunities. And then those opportunities, bring more opportunities. And we don't have to necessarily change careers, if we go into the wrong thing. There's opportunities if we're always listening to our curiosity, and what we want at the time. And what feels right for us at that time will lead us to places that work with where we are and work with where we want to go. So really the only way to stay in true alignment with ourselves in a way where we can bring our passion forward at all times. And our passion is going to change. And it's going to change with us if we're tapping into that intuition. And if we're tapping into who we are in that moment, and what we're curious about and what skills we want to use what we want to see ourselves doing in our day, then we're always going to be in alignment, right? That's that's what alignment really is, is doing what is true for us in that moment. And I you know, of course, we sometimes need to take survival jobs, right, their career jobs and their survival jobs. But in general, in terms of the focus, I really wish I just focused on following what felt good in that moment. Because the truth is an opportunities, the big ones that actually lead us to our more longer term careers and lead us to discover our strengths. Those happen later. And they happen after we figure it out. So what we have to do is try things that work for us try things that fit our skill set. And also try things that will allow us to show up 100% every day, give it our all. And that energy is what I found really attracts people when you're really into something and you feel great doing and when opportunities come later, guys, after you've developed those skills, after you feel confident because you've tried things and you've shown yourself you've by collecting evidence in different positions, you shown yourself what you can do, the opportunities will present themselves later and then from there different opportunities and there's organic change along the way. So trust in the process. That's really what I would tell myself in my 20s and when I was figuring out this career journey, trust in the process. In the meantime, continue to figure out what is within your control, tune into your strengths follow It feels good to figure out what you feel like doing in the day to day moments versus in the big picture. Because at the end of the day, you're going to be spending hours and hours of your life at work, you got to think about what the day to day looks like, and what you want to not and what you don't, including the type of workplace environment, and also what you want your actual, like tasks to look like in your day,
you more administrative? Or are you more social? Are you someone who requires creativity in your work? Or are you someone who requires a lot more structure? Are you someone who needs a profession where you're very engaged with other human beings? Or you're working with people? Or are you someone who doesn't? The actual title, that's not what matters is those things because you can choose a career that fits with your values, but then you don't actually get control of his day to day things that would make you happy. And at the end of the day, that's not going to really feel like the right fit for you. Another piece of advice I would give my 20 something year old self is that nobody knows what they're doing in their 20s. So I really wish I spent less time putting all that pressure on myself to have everything figured out. Because I got to a place where I feel good and aligned. It just took that time to sort through. And that was just part of the process is what I had to do. And there might have been struggles in there. But I don't believe that the struggle would have been as great if I didn't feel the struggle. But I felt that struggle by going What am I doing? What am I doing, I don't know what I'm doing, I should know where I want to be right now I shouldn't have this career thing figured out, I should be making more money by now. All those external expectations that we put on ourselves, they might come from somewhere, they might come from society, they may come from our parents, but we are in control of where we take those. Honestly, if I had just told myself, okay, you're figuring it out? What's the next step? What would feel good right now? What do I want to see myself doing in my day? And what is available to me in this moment, based on my current skill set? What transferable skills? Could I dry out and dry out and really emphasize in my resume? And where could I take those? And where could I apply those skills in order to figure out my next step, and then from there, I'll develop new skills, and I'll develop new information about myself. And then I will take that and I will apply it to a new job that feels good for me in that moment, I'll figure out more about where I want to be at that point. Those are the things I really did not get them. And I really put myself through a heck of a lot of stress shitting all over myself, as you know, sh l d should tell me myself, I should be doing this and that and this and that and should feel like this and not and really there's no right answer. I don't know anyone who didn't go through that in some way, in their 20s. And at the start of their career. So if you are out of your 20s and you're still feeling this way, that's okay, this still applies to you, right? There is no right or wrong place to be at a certain age in your life. And you will not get further by telling yourself that you are you're just going to freeze up, sudden your growth, and you're gonna stop listening to yourself and your intuition. Because you're going to be stuck in that external pressure. And those shoulds that I really do believe impedes us from tuning into where we want to be because that pressure doesn't help with performance most of the time.
Especially when it It leads to shame, right? There are times when stress can allow us to get stuff done. But if that stress, if that pressure is making us is putting us in a position where we're telling us things about ourselves that are unkind, that might be untrue, they usually aren't true, when they're negative things that put us down for where we are and things that compare ourselves to others and set a lot of ideals that are very hard to achieve. Those things make us feel bad about ourselves. And when we sit in that place of shame, we're not productive. We don't believe in ourselves, we don't have the confidence to push forward. And so we kind of don't we kind of stunt ourselves. In that place. We sent our growth and we start to feel stuck. The truth of the matter is you need to experience things to know things and you need to experience things to grow, not the other way around. And I wish that I had seen that at the time. I'm not going to regret that because I had to go through that in order to be here. But I'm telling everyone this who might still be in that place because I wish someone said it to me. You need to experience things to know things you need to experience jobs that you hate to know that they're not right for you. You need to experience employers who don't treat you right in order to know how you want to be treated in the workplace. You need to experience the wrong workplace structure for you in the wrong job sometimes, sometimes to rule out that opportunity for yourself and to say Okay, wait now, I have Try something and now I have that information. This isn't working, what next. And don't dwell in that place of feeling like it was a waste either because you needed that information. And I'm sure you got something and some skills and some knowledge from that education that brought you there or from that job that you can pull forward and highlight, and really emphasize as an asset in the next direction you take. So it is never a loss. If you're changing careers, if you're just shifting it slightly, if you're shifting into a different role within your field, it is okay, those things that you've done already, those will still be assets, you just need to learn how to highlight them, you just need to figure out what those hard and soft skills were that you use, and how you could apply those uniquely to those new roles in a way that someone who just started there maybe couldn't. And if you feel like you're faking it along the way, if you have that classic imposter syndrome. So does everybody just know that you're you're not faking it, you might be, you know, acting a little bit more confident than you actually feel inside, you might have worries that you're not outwardly putting on display in the job, but so is everyone. So don't assume that you're alone. And don't assume that you don't belong there, because you don't feel 100% comfortable there yet change and transition and growth, new things, career developments, or career journeys. Those are scary, they're vulnerable, there's a lot of uncertainty in there, transitions are hard. So give yourself that grace, to feel the feels and to feel a little shaky, and to feel the discomfort because it's part of it. And I promise you that everyone is feeling it sure to different degrees, but they are feeling it, and it gets less and less, the more you collect that evidence of what you can do. Even if that is moving on from things that aren't your best skills, the more you move towards the place where you fit towards the rules that work for you, the better you'll feel in your own skin. And the next time you approach it, you will feel a little bit less bad, the discomfort will always be there. But don't confuse that with an assessment of your competency. Just because you're uncomfortable does not mean that you're not competent, and does not mean that you don't belong there. So those of you struggling in an early career transition, or life transitions in your 20s or early 30s, or whatever it is. Just know that that's all real as part of it, we're all doing that we're just not all talking about it. Because we don't really want to put our insecurities on display all the time, it's a vulnerable place to be in. And we live in a world that tells us to kind of suck it up and put on our best face, which I hate by the way. So just because other people aren't telling you they're going through that it really doesn't mean they are you're not alone. So I'll leave it at that you'll feel better as time goes by as more time goes by, as you collect new experiences and new information about yourself and the world and what you value, and what you don't, and what your strengths are and what the weaknesses you have are and which weaknesses you're not going to focus on anymore. All of that stuff does come with time. And so for those of you who are still where I was in my mid to late 20s, or maybe you're older, and you're still going through this, which is totally okay, because all of our experiences are different. And all of us have been through different things in life, just know that it will get better later, you just need new information, you just need to start trying some new things. And if you need some help with that I'm always here to reach out to, and we can hop on a call and see how I can help you out in that journey into new transitions in your life and career, you have the ability to do it, you're not alone in feeling uncomfortable. And you're definitely not alone in feeling uncertain and unsure. My biggest piece of advice that I would give to me in my 20s. And therefore anyone else who's in that position, is literally just trust the process and stop putting so much pressure on yourself because that pressure just gave rise to so much anxiety and self doubt that I didn't need to have because I was the one deciding where I needed to be at that point. And where I wasn't in where I should be. I was the one putting those shows on myself. I was in control of that. And it really didn't have to be that way. So you know if all I'm doing here is shifting the cultural conversation in a new direction that you weren't hearing from your parents or your peers who were also in the same stage of life, then I'm doing my job because it was harder than it had to be. And I don't want it to be that way for any of you. So you have got this, if you don't feel like you do think of the last major transition you made, whether that was school or a new job or whatever, and just write down some ways you got through that. Write down some things that you learned there that you didn't think you would and write down where you are now compared to to where you were maybe a few years ago. Those exercises are really great from seeing what we have overcome in the past, seeing what hurdles we have battled, what uncertainty we have gotten through and what skills and strengths we have tapped into in order to do so that can be very helpful and Maybe you're not there yet and that's totally okay. And that's why I'm here as a coach. I am here on this podcast to help you out Don't hesitate to send me an email if you're interested in reaching out and and chatting about working together. Alright guys, that
is it for today. Once again if you liked this episode, if you love this podcast, please subscribe and leave me a review. If you're on a podcast platform that does have that option. It really helps me get this message out there so that I can help more people with their confidence journeys in their lives and in their careers. I want to help as many people as possible feel good as they're navigating these uncertain changes and navigating their lives towards reaching their potential whatever that means to them and living that life that has the purpose and meaning that they want. Yep, feel free to send me an email at [email protected], or head over to www.highesteemcoaching.com to learn about
coaching programs. You can also follow me on Instagram @your_high_esteem_ and follow the podcast @thehighesteempodcast. I look forward to chatting with you guys soon. And thank you for listening to my birthday episode and this letter to me in my 20s Thanks, guys.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai