During a recent podcast interview, host Terry Shepherd asked me what advice I would give my eighteen-year-old self.  Frankly, I was stumped.  My reply was that I would say ‘yes’ when asked to take on a task or project that I was 18 year old Marie Wattsunsure I could master.  Later, I would freak out and get scared.  It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I adopted this philosophy.

This mantra has served me well.  When unemployed and looking for work, I networked with Dr. Marie Dalton, who was, at the time, head of continuing education at San Jacinto College.  She asked if I wanted to join her in writing a textbook.  I said “yes” which, in retrospect, was astounding.  Most textbooks are written by professors, and I wasn’t even employed.  Another person joined us.  The textbook, Human Relations 4th ed. has been on the market since 1990 and is still selling. 

Not all things I jump into are successful, but enough of them are to reinforce this way of thinking.

What took so long?  Why hadn’t I thought this way earlier? After looking over my life, I realize the strength our culture has to mold us.  I grew up in a strange household where my brother and I were treated as equals.  I was expected to perform academically.  Yet, I made choices that altered my career path because the cultural pressure was overwhelming.  For instance, when my children were born, I left the workforce.  I did not resume working until they were in elementary school. 

Perhaps this was not such a good thing for my psyche.  I soon realized that I got no praise for washing everyone’s underwear weekly.  But miss one week and all hell breaks loose. 

What advice would you give your eighteen-year-old self?