Lessons to My Younger Self: A Series by Inspiring Women

At The Daily Muse, we aim to bring you, the ambitious Gen Y woman, smart, practical, and inspirational advice for your career and your life.

In our experience, the best advice of all comes from those who have been there. Women who had big, crazy dreams—and achieved them. Who saw the glass ceiling—and crushed it. Who dealt with the same issues we deal with today—and learned from them, gathering wisdom, experience, and success along the way.

So, we’ve recruited a lineup of our role models—intelligent, influential, and inspiring women who’ve had insanely successful careers—to share with us what they wish they could tell their younger selves. We invite you to peek into the past (photos included!) of some of the most successful women around us, and glean some amazing advice from the lessons they’ve learned.

Because, let’s face it, figuring things out the hard way really kind of sucks.

Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington Post

Now that we’ve got your attention, don’t worry: she’s not advocating anything inappropriate. We’re kicking off our series with the indomitable Arianna Huffington telling her younger self—and us—to get enough sleep. Sounds tough, but if the 31st Most Powerful Woman in the World can swing it, I guess we can, too. (For the record, we’d also tell her younger self that she’s a total knockout).

Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor

When Hilda Solis was in high school, her career counselor told her she wasn’t “college material” and that she should become a secretary. Turns out, she did: The U.S. Secretary of Labor. And here’s what she’d go back and tell her ambitious younger self.

Liza Donnelly, Staff Cartoonist for The New Yorker

When Liza Donnelly began selling her work to The New Yorker in 1979, she was the youngest cartoonist there and one of only three women. Things have changed, thankfully, but one thing has lingered: the failure of women to speak our minds. You must speak up, Liza tells her younger self. (She’s now making up for lost time at TED, the United Nations, and on TV interviews worldwide.)

Cindy Gallop, Founder and CEO of If We Ran the World

From the moment we’re born, the world conspires to make us feel insecure, says Cindy Gallop. And she wants to change that: she seeks to redefine the way society thinks an older woman should act and look, and she would remind her younger self that she’s beautiful—exactly the way she is (we agree).

Sandy Jen, Founder of Meebo

You’d think that, as an executive of one of the country’s fastest growing Internet companies, Sandy Jen probably stresses quite a bit. But that’s exactly what she tells her younger self not to do. Because, while there are lots of things to worry about, there are many more you’ll miss if that stress consumes you.