Your 20s are exciting, but your 30s are your chance to come into your own. Take advantage of these tips for maximizing your potential in a new decade.
While your 20s are a time for personal and professional exploration, it’s also important to set yourself up for future success. One key area to focus on is your finances, and there are definitely some milestones you should aim to meet before you hit 30.
But while it’s very important to invest in your financial future, you should also make a point of investing in yourself. After all, you are your most valuable asset. Try these 8 you-first suggestions to ensure that you will be ready to take advantage of all the opportunities your 30s will bring.
1. FIGURE OUT YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
As a professional woman, you already know how important your employer’s or client’s brand is. But what about understanding and articulating what makes you unique?
Knowing who you are, and how you want others to perceive you, is not only a good idea for your professional growth, but it’s also crucial to navigating hard decisions. When you can define yourself, it will be easier to listen to your gut—and trust your instincts.
So, while you are still in your 20s, spend some time honing your personal brand. Here are some simple steps to get started:
- List out your emotional (e.g. “fun” or “thoughtful”) and practical (e.g. “organized” or “athletic”) personality features and then pick one from each set that’s the truest
- Determine a word that encapsulates your primary role within work or your broader life (e.g., organizer, communicator, or builder)
- Combine all three words into one clear statement—you could be anything from “authentic, disciplined researcher” to “creative and savvy relationship builder”
2. GET FINANCIALLY LITERATE
When it comes to your money, knowledge is power. While it can be tempting to wait until your 30s to get smart about your personal finances, it’s best to get started now. While there are all sorts of checklists of items you “need” to have—from 401Ks to stock portfolios—without financial literacy, you may not be fully prepared, or confident, to make smart use of them.
The good news? There are a growing number of free, unbiased online resources. We especially like Broke Millennial and the free downloadable e-guide with Clever Girl Finance.
3. KNOW HOW TO GET TO YOUR HAPPY PLACE, STAT
Life will never stop being stressful. In fact, as you take on additional responsibilities in your 30s, busy will be a way of life. That’s all the more reason why you should figure out the one simple thing that always makes you happy and commit it to memory.
Maybe it’s the one meal that always reminds you of home. Or maybe it’s the movie you’ve seen 10 times but still always find hilarious. You can also experiment with different types of stress relief—meditation, walks, or yoga—until you find the option that works best for you.
4. LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE
A lot of 20-year-olds feel that they missed the boat by not learning a foreign or second language when they were young. After all, common wisdom dictates that children’s brains are more absorbent.
But research now shows that adults can absolutely learn a new language as long as they have a method that works for their more developed brains. And, in an increasingly globalized culture, being fluent in another language is a highly marketable skill.
So, enroll in a language course designed for adult learning. (We are big fans of Duolingo and LiveMocha). It’s definitely not too late!
5. GET A GREAT CAREER BAG
Whether you work in a corporate environment or freelance, having a stylish and comfortable career bag is an investment that’s absolutely worth making.
Not sure where to look for a great carry-all? Check out this list of laptop bags that don’t sacrifice style.
6. FIND, AND KEEP, 1-2 CLOSE FRIENDS
One of the best parts of your 20s is how many different friends you meet. From co-workers to activity partners in a new city, you end up making memories with countless other people.
But as you head towards the second decade of adulthood, you may find that people come and go easily. After all, everyone else is figuring out where they want to end up, too.
Ask yourself who you will want in your life 5-10 years from now, and invest in growing and maintaining those friendships. Your future self will thank you for keeping those people around!
7. FIND YOUR TIMELESS STYLE
Your 20s are an awesome time to experiment with the latest beauty or fashion styles, and our culture definitely gives you license to do that when you’re young.
But it’s also a good idea to figure out, and invest in, a look that always makes you feel your best, no matter which trends come and go.
- An eyebrow shaping that highlights your unique face shape
- A haircut that looks good no matter what mood your hair is in
- A pair of jeans or a dress that you can rock year after year
8. GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE ON YOUR CAREER
You may already know a woman that you admire and whose brain you wish you could pick. Why not ask her if she will consider being a professional mentor to you?
If you're interested in connecting with a woman in your field but don't know anyone personally, you can also try Career Contessa's Hire a Mentor platform where you will get structured opportunities to interact with professional women who have been through similar challenges.
Tell us, have you begun planning for your 30s? Are you excited to embrace these lifestyle changes?
Article originally published on Career Contessa.