Things I wish I could tell my younger self

03 Aug 2020

Things I wish I could tell my younger self

Hannah Tovey

Staring at the same four walls day in, day out has made us give serious thought to our behaviors and attitudes. Self-reflection can be an important tool, and many champion athletes and world leaders cite this as a key to their success. What if you could go back in time and share your learnings with your younger self? What would you say? Five of our Retail Week Live speakers tell all … 

Believe in yourself

Rachel Hugh, Co-Founder of Vurger & Co, the delicious plant-based burger joint, said that despite being brought up to believe in herself and her opinion, it wasn’t until running her own business, and navigating the trials and tribulations that come with it, did she realise the importance of expressing herself. She encourages her team to make their voice heard, and to have confidence in their opinion – because whatever it is, it matters.

It's OK to not have all the answers

Humans like to be in control; we assess risk and take preventive measures to ensure the emotional and physical safety of ourselves and our loved ones. But what Covid-19 has made abundantly clear is that, no matter how much we plan, some things will come like rockets and throw our entire world upside down. And then what do we do? The only thing we can control is our actions and our attitudes, and now is a good time as any to focus on those. Ali Jones, Customer Director at the Co-op said that she would tell her younger self that it’s OK not to know everything all the time - we should be comfortable in ambiguity and be curious.

Cut yourself some slack

The pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of self-care and wellbeing. Whilst working from home means we might have more flexibility; our schedules are just as unforgiving – even more so. It’s important to remember that we are in a global health crisis – and the worry we have in regard to our own health, and our loved one’s health has put an enormous strain on us. We must be kind to ourselves. In the words of Lynn Ritson, Global Digital Director at Walgreens Boots Alliance Global Brands, “You are not superwoman, cut yourself some slack.”

Cut out time-wasters

Mustafa Khanwala, CEO and co-founder of Mishi Pay, said that he would spend less time worrying about burning bridges, or contemplating the potential value of people, projects and proposals, and instead focus on the things he can control – improving the business and his own wellbeing. Mustafa, listed in Forbes 30 Under 30, notes the importance of exercise and reading - two things he wishes he did more of as a young entrepreneur. 

Responding to stress positively 

So much is out of our control right now - even how long we could exercise for was out of our control during the height of lockdown. But what is in our control is how we respond to stress. Chanuki Illushka Seresinhe, visiting researcher at the Alan Turing Institute, says for her, learning to respond to stress positively made all the difference. Our usual tools for coping with stress may feel unrealistic right now but even going for a brisk walk can deepen breathing and relieve muscle tension, which will help induce calm. 

At Retail Week Live 2020, we will be hosting a panel exploring the theme of self-reflection with Nathalie Gaveau, Managing Director at BCG Digital Ventures, Julia Straus, CEO at Sweaty Betty, Claudine Collins, Chief Client Officer at MediaCom and Manju Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer at Harvey Nichols. I’m excited to hear what they say, and whether this deeper understanding of themselves has enabled them to make better decisions moving forward … I have a feeling it will have done. 

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