Advice and insight from leaders and peers is something professionals always search for, but especially when they’re just beginning in their careers. And since hindsight is 20/20, there are often lessons we learn over time that we wish we could go back and share with our younger selves. Here are five learning opportunities our members had early in their careers in hopes that maybe you can grow from their past mistakes:

  1. Learn to Speak Up
    “I was timid. Truly timid. I grew up in the men’s lane of retail, but didn’t raise my hand enough and highlight my accomplishments. I thought my work would speak for itself. In essence it did, but the lift-up only happens when you share your stories — your wins and your losses. As a leader, you’ve earned your seat at the table. As you grow, you keep your seat at the table by vocalizing and visualizing your work.” — Nancy Youssef, Founder and President, Curves with Purpose
  2. Overcome Internalized Beliefs
    “I had to overcome my internal belief that if I pursued my career, I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be. Once I was free from that internal belief, and learned to be confident with the balance, it fueled my career growth.” — Jackie Ardrey, President, Grandin Road
  3. Know When to Move On
    “I wish I understood early on that each and every thing happens for a reason, and it’s all just a stepping stone to the next thing. I wouldn’t have spent so much time wondering or worrying how or why something happened. It would have been more about what’s next. It’s so much easier when you realize that the next thing will be bigger and better.” — Celeste Risimini-Johnson, Former Senior Vice President, General Merchandise Manager, FULLBEAUTY Brands
  4. Invest in Yourself
    “I wish I would have taken the time to go to business school. I was successful in my career at a young age and always very focused on my job, and I regret not taking the time for business school. I love to learn, and think the relationships built in that environment are invaluable.” — Suzy Biszantz, President and CEO, Joe’s Jeans, BCBG, and Herve Leger
  5. Never Give Up
    “Clearly being a woman in a man’s world hasn’t been easy, and I often have had the sensation [that] I needed to do twice the amount of work and prove myself so much more to get there. That said, I never give up and have always been willing to run the extra mile. It pays off so much in the end.” — Joelle Grunberg, President, Wolverine Boston Brands

What do you wish you had done differently earlier in your career? Let us know in our forum!