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Advice to your younger self

by India Garrish | March 16, 2022 at 3:00 a.m.

Growing up is hard. 

We asked prominent women in the community what advice they would give their younger selves if given the chance. 

Answers have been edited for clarity, length


Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation

  photo  Sarah Parker Pauley
 By India Garrish 

Don’t spend so much time worrying about the past or the future, but really focus on the present. It doesn’t mean you don’t prepare for the future (but) … we tend to be consumed, our minds are some place else. 

Don’t give into fear and that self-doubt. I would tell myself to find things every day that bring joy and really be intentional about gratitude in that regard.

Find something every day that brings joy; find work that brings you joy. When you find an area that has deeper meaning and purpose than just a profession or career, it really doesn’t matter what rank you rise to if you’re finding the work meaningful. 

I would also tell my younger self to take care of yourself like you’re going to live to be 100 ... but embrace the day like it’s your last. I think that means taking advantage of opportunities, having no fear, and treating others with love and respect. 


Owner of Astrada Business Solutions, minister at The Joshua House Church

  photo  Andria Hendricks
 By India Garrish 
To not allow the opinions of others to outweigh the opinions of yourself. I think we like to get the consensus from everyone before we make a move, but if we have a desire in our heart to achieve and have put the steps forward to see them through, then go for it. Sometimes, you feel like you have to ask, “What do you think?” But go for it — go for whatever you set your heart out to, but don’t be afraid to fail. Even in the failing process, there’s still learning. 

In everything you’re doing, I think it’s wise to pray and seek wisdom. That way, you are in alignment with what it is you should be doing versus not. Typically, when you ask God to give you wisdom, usually He will put the cues in place for you — or the obstacles for you to run into that brick wall. Sometimes we like to ignore it, but I think it’s so important to pray and seek wisdom.

Even afraid, walk in it.


Executive director of Rape and Abuse Crisis Service

  photo  Angela Hirsch
 By India Garrish 

Express your ideas and your thoughts, even when they are different from your peer’s. Allow yourself to stand out and take pride in who you are and the ideas that you have. Don’t be afraid of your mistakes or of your failures as you strive to be your best. Failures are opportunities to take risks, to be innovative and to influence the world you live in. Playing it “safe” never developed a new idea or brought about an opportunity for learning.

Listen to those who have gone before you and to strive to be an example to those who will follow. You are an influence to people you don’t even know, and your actions speak louder than your words. Respect different opinions, but don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. The relationships you have today will not be the relationships you will have tomorrow. Mourn them when they end, but celebrate that they existed. Personal success comes from personal relationships. Learn from others as you share your lessons with them.


Neighborhood Services specialist with Jefferson City

  photo  Rachel Senzee
 By India Garrish 

I don’t think I would ever change anything about the past, mistakes or bad experiences, because those are lessons that mold you into who you are. 

I think the advice I would give to my younger self is all the things you’re worried and insecure about are probably the best things about you. People tend to look at individuals who don’t assimilate the same as others as weird or off-putting, but really, it’s a compliment in a weird way. Don’t be concerned with it, don’t think it was you, lean into it a little more and embrace it. You’re never going to change their minds, so why worry about it? It’s not about me, it’s them. I would not worry about it as much, but at the same time, I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing.


Missouri Department of Conservation podcast host

  photo  Jill Pritchard
 By India Garrish 

I think I would definitely tell myself to take risks and seize every opportunity that comes my way, and I think a big thing — especially in this age of social media  — is don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so hard not to, but you really shouldn’t compare your insides to other peoples’ outsides. 

Another thing, professional advice, is to find a mentor. I have been very lucky in the past jobs that I’ve had to have great women who I work with to look to for guidance.

I started in journalism; I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous about starting in a position about hunting, fishing and the outdoors because I don’t have a lot of experience in that. 

I would just say don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, because that’s where some really awesome stuff happens. Don’t put yourself in a box, no matter where you’re starting out. 


Owner of La Chica Loca

  photo  Amanda Jensen
 By India Garrish 

I want to have a little bit of humor with it. “Thinking about a neck tattoo, are you? Hmm, no.” 

But seriously, the thing I find most important — and it took me a long time to learn — is that asking for help is not a weakness. Collaborations are key. But when you do need to ask for help, always ask the busiest person. Busy people get things done; talkers talk.

Any advice to give the next generation? Share it with us on social media. Check out @HERMagazineJC on Instagram and Facebook.


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