Three pieces of advice for my 20 year old self

First appeared on Voxwomen

I have recently been asked twice in the past week; What three things do you wish you had known earlier in your career/life? I didn’t have the answer straight away but having spent a lot of time in the past few weeks focusing on my mentality and what drives me. I have my answer;

1. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.This maybe something we hear a lot, focus on you, don’t worry what they say, but seriously this was probably the biggest growth factor in my mindset as an athlete and a human when I realised it didn’t matter what everyone else would think. At the end of the day the person you have to look after and be happy to live with is the person looking back at you in the mirror. The moment you realise this, it can be very freeing. At the end of the day your happiness shouldn’t depend on what others think about you, Your perception of yourself is within your control If you don’t like it then change it. I believe this is linked with self-confidence and this is an area that a lot of us can work on, including myself. 

2. Stay curious and ask questions.I guess I am well known for not being afraid to say what I think and to ask questions. There are a lot of people around you as an athlete who have input into your performance or routine, whether that be coaches, trainers, managers, nutritionists, team captains, psychologists, parents and partners. I believe you should always question advice if you are not sure or don’t understand the goal of the advice. Just because one person believes one thing it doesn’t make it correct or right for you, Ask questions, do your own research and don’t take anything at face value if it is important to you. Staying curious is also key for me in my pursuit to always keep learning. I used to think I knew a lot and never really accepted or sought help but over the years, particularly during my cycling career, through overcoming injuries and obstacles, I have realised that I indeed don’t know best a lot of the time and asking and accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness, it can keep you grounded and help you achieve more. 

3. Know you purpose and your mission. Maybe the most important piece of advice I would give myself;  To always come back to your WHY. Your purpose in life is what gets you out of bed in the morning and your values guide you in everything you do if you realise this or not. Your values are generally a result of your upbringing and what hardships or obstacles you have overcome to be where you are today. Everyone has different values for different reasons and that is a good thing, if we were all the same it would be boring. But you have the power to change your values if you choose. I believe your mission is what you decide to do with your purpose. My mission is to explore my potential in every aspect of life while empowering others to reach their goals. I get a lot out of helping others and seeing them succeed. I like logistics, planning and overseeing situations and I believe this skillset can help others to reach their potential and in turn lead me to discover the best version of Lauren.  Knowing what gives you satisfaction in life can be empowering and personally helps to make things clear, every choice or decision I make comes back to this and makes it a lot more simple. Knowing your WHY is important. 

If I had known and more importantly believed these pieces of advice when I was 20 years old and just starting out, my career may have been different but I wouldn’t have changed anything if I had the opportunity to. Everyone’s path is different and is shaped by our experiences. I just hope my path right now is leading back to some bikes races soon! Lauren Kitchen