A few notes before turning 21

When I began this article about a week ago I started to write about self-doubt and the toxic, intractable effect it’s had on my life. In doing so, it morphed into a piece about self evaluation and personal growth.


In the last 6 months I’ve learned a great deal about when my personal judgements are wide of, or on the mark and this largely informs whether my opinion of myself is accurate or not. I’ve found it’s incredibly useful to be able to take a step back and assess how well you’re doing, both personally and professionally and take action on areas that need improvement.

With my 21st birthday tomorrow, marking almost a year of continuous professional development, I wanted to write a few notes about some things I’ve been thinking about for a while. While much of this may not be new to you, I encourage you to carefully reconsider these points and take as much meaning from them as you can.

  1. Criticism doesn’t have to be negative.

  2. There’s huge value in having the ability to spot your weaknesses and learn from them.

  3. There’s no ego in self evaluation.

  4. A failure is always a learning experience. Don’t worry about getting things wrong. You won’t do it again.

  5. Don’t overanalyse. When I had mental health issues, I had a problematic tendency to overanalyse and criticise myself. In hindsight, the only impact this had was that my reduced self confidence caused me to have more of a reason to do this.

  6. A team is only as strong as its weakest member.

  7. You can’t win an argument.

  8. If you’re wrong, admit it.