1. Don't second guess your gifts, skills and talents.
I'm not one to boast about my gifts and talents because I have never really regarded myself as someone who has any. This is not false humility or self deprecation. I truly can't think of any tangible gifts or talents I have to offer anyone or this world. Now before anyone "poo poos" me and goes on and one about how "everyone has gifts and talents," I think it's necessary to define terms.
"A gift is a special ability or capacity; natural endowment; talent" according to dictionary.com. Now let's define "special." According to the same reference, "special" is "distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual." I know we live in a society where everyone is regarded as "special," but the honest truth is that most of us are pretty ordinary. Sure there are some of us "ordinaries" with unique characteristics, but I don't believe that many should be regarded as "special" according to the denotative meaning.
All that in mind, I don't have any gifts (ha!) There is nothing I do that can't be done by someone else or hasn't already been done by someone else. Any "success" I have can be attributed to skills I've learned along the way. That said, I'd tell 19 year old Gloria to learn as many skills as possible. I'd tell her to hone those skills, seek out mentors and positive influences to nourish those skills. I'd tell her not to second guess the importance of those skills and not to be afraid to use those skills when opportunities to exercise those skills presented themselves.
I can remember two times in particular where second guessing myself led me to miss opportunities in my late teens and early twenties. If I could go back, I'd pass myself a note that read, "Go for it."
To be continued....