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Advice I’d Give My 18-Year-Old Self

Looking back on my life, I’ve walked a path that I don’t think I could have imagined at the age of 18. While I was already a child abuse survivor forging my way in the world toward success in the arts, I was not yet the person I have since become: a disability advocate, a non-profit fundraising expert, a mother, and a motivational speaker in Las Vegas.

 

Believe in yourself!

So many people, especially young women, are afflicted with self-doubt. You believe that you are just one person dealing with systems that are far too large and impersonal to be affected by just you. However, that’s not true; real change starts with individuals just like you. When I began my journey, I didn’t imagine that I would change the human rights landscape for people with disabilities. Belief in a good cause made it possible, and belief in yourself can only make your work stronger.

 

Don’t be afraid of failing.

Making mistakes is OK! Anyone is going to make an error here or there. It’s part of life, whether you’re working in software development, freelance business or non-profit fundraising. When you’re just starting, a mistake can seem overwhelming. This fear can hold you back from exploring some of your best and most innovative ideas. Don’t let the fear keep you down – be brave! Own it! Move on and inspire others around you with your courage and strength.

 

Open your eyes and mind to the world.

Get lost in the world! Whether it be on foot or through endless pages of adventure & inspiration. All of us can benefit from being open to other people and perspectives, especially those who have lived lives opposite from our own. If you can afford it, travel. Explore the world and come back with new perspectives and an even more creative mind. You can also explore at home by reading books and learning from other writers’ experiences, unique visions, and inspirations for the future.

 

Choose the positive

Don’t listen to the naysayers, to people who only seem to bring you down. Instead, spend your time with the people who support and believe in you. Surround yourself with positive people and winners: those who are achieving exactly what you want to accomplish in life.

 

Like I always say, when life hands out lemons, make lemonade! We all experience challenges in our lives, but without them, we would never grow into the people we are today. You’re on your way to reaching your dreams; with clear eyes and an open heart, life is yours for the taking!

Linda Smith
Linda Smith
Author, Storyteller, Fundraiser, Philanthropist, Speaker, Wife, Mother, Advocate, Influencer, Motivator.