20 Lessons Learned In My 20s

This week is the last week of my 20s and what an incredible decade it has been! From starting off studying entrepreneurship at college, to working in Finance in New York City, to living around the world, visiting over 60 countries, and growing 2 businesses, I’m forever grateful and this is only just the beginning. Tune in this week for the most important lessons I’ve learned through these experiences that has shaped me into who I am today. Let me know which one is your favorite and which one you resonate the most with!

As I welcome in my Thirties, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the life, business and travel lessons that I have learned during my twenties. These lessons have helped me live my dream life as a full time traveler and become a 6 figure entrepreneur and I want to share them with you to inspire your journey towards your own dream life!

Prefer to read? Here’s the blog version…

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving!

Hi guys. Welcome back to the podcast. I wanna start this episode off by taking a moment and truly expressing how grateful I am for all of you listening. Whether you’ve been following along since the beginning or whether you just found this episode, it’s not by coincidence and you are truly the reason why I record these episodes. However, it has impacted you know that you are also impacting my life, the Wanderlover, and we would not be here today without you, so thank you so much.

I am feeling all the feels. I turn 30 years old next week, which means This week is the last week of my twenties. I’ve taken some time to reflect on how grand and beautiful and amazing a decade my twenties was. I would not have spent it any other way and from a place where I can look back and be like, holy shit, that was amazing. What I’ve done, like most of my choices led me to this beautiful life that I’ve always dreamt of creating.

I’ve obviously stumbled a few times along the way, but overall I would not have had it any other way. In this episode, I want to share 20 lessons I’ve learned in my twenties, which has led me through what I feel like were so many different lives. Lived from first studying business and entrepreneurship at an Ivy League University, to then working as a city girl in finance in New York City. Then growing and scaling two businesses and now traveling the world’s full-time with the most incredible boyfriend in the entire world.

I travel to over 60 countries. I go surfing every day and I’ve been able to maintain and nurture really fulfilling relationships with my family, with my closest friends and people who mean a lot to me. If, you resonate with any part of that. If this energy inspires you and you feel really drawn to it no matter what age you are. This episode comes from the bottom of my heart and it is recorded for you. I guarantee you there’s going to be something you take away and I hope that it transforms your life just as much as it has transformed mine.

20 Life Lessons!

One – Take the risk, NOW!

The first lesson that has really served me is that the sooner you take the most risks in your life towards the life that you want to be living, the better. And I’m not saying this has to be done in your twenties, but for me, because I took all these risks of quitting my job, growing two businesses, booking one way flight and just taking action towards a life that I wanted to be living, I was able to achieve that desired lifestyle in my twenties at an early age.

Had I waited longer, this reality probably would have taken longer. My mindset in my early twenties was like, if I do this and I screw up for the next 10, 20 years, I could bounce back. I’m still young enough for that to not make a huge impact and I truly still feel that way right now. If there is something I wanna do, I would just do it because I know that I have time on my side and I know that I would have more time to bounce back. So the greatest time to take the greatest risks is now the sooner the better.

Two – It’s YOUR life

Number two is that there is only your life. You do not have to listen to anyone else. You do not have to live for anyone else. Stop thinking about what other people are doing and stop letting them affect your life. If it is making you feel bad about your situation, If, you wanna do something and your peers, your coworkers, your parents, your family, they’re telling you to not do it and that’s keeping you stuck. You do not have to listen to them. You do not have to listen to society’s expectations or anyone’s expectations of you because this is your life to live.

Three – Seek inspiration from others

Going off of that, number three, on the other hand, find people who inspire you, who make you feel energized and make you feel like you want something that they have. Use these people as clues or aspects of their lives, as clues on what you want to call into your own life versus what you don’t learn from them and integrate their practices into your own life and know that you are fully capable of creating the same for yourself.

I do this all the time. Back when I was in finance, I would look at digital nomads and online entrepreneurs working from co-working spaces around the world, and I knew that was the life I wanted to create for myself. It wasn’t everyone’s dream. A lot of my coworkers saw that and was immediately dismissive like, I don’t want that. I have a family, what should I do? But I knew deep down that’s what I wanted. So that is what I pursued. Currently, I’m like looking at young families and I’m like, oh my God, they’re so cute.

Like I definitely want to have a family in the near future, whereas a lot of my other friends are like, no, I never want children, and that’s okay, but it is a clue as to what would light me up and I have to honor that, right? So in your case, find people who inspire you, who make you feel excited about life and ask yourself what about their life do you want to mimic in your own that would create this happiness within you? Having these inspirational people around you on your radar will make you so much more passionate about building your life even bigger and better than it currently already is.

Four – Strong Money Mindset

Number four is to spend a lot of time and energy mastering your money mindset and your personal finance, getting your money in order is going to help you so much as you navigate your life, whether it be in your twenties, in your thirties, but I believe that because I studied finance, I took lots of personal finance lessons, I’m very good with my money.

If, you do the same. You will get the most out of your money and out of the experiences you are able to afford for yourself. Really understand what your spending and buying behavior is, where that comes from, any childhood underlying trauma that may exist and really focusing on how you can be a better money manager balance, spending your money with making more and more money and the making more money comes with a lot of inner work, a lot of money mindset work.

Combine that with healthy financial habits, so things like paying down your debt, If, you have any, not overspending, really focusing on generating more revenue and more income to balance your spending habits so that you can create this really fulfilling life where you’re able to afford everything that you want, all the experiences that help you live life on that next level. Money enables so many opportunities and so many experiences in your life.

It’s not something you can just sweep under the rug and pretend like it doesn’t exist. If, you have a solid grasp on your finances. You will be able to make so much more money in your business and you’re going to maximize the experiences that you get out of the money that you make without having to feel guilty. This is something that you can learn and that you can control, and once you do, you’re going to feel so peaceful and you’re going to feel so confident.

Five – Quality Support Network

Okay, next lesson number five is that the quality of friendships and relationships trumps quantity over time.

What I’ve learned from just traveling through so many different countries and meeting so many new people is that the quality and strength of your relationships truly is just an output of how much time and energy you invest into that relationship. And what I’ve learned is that my friendships with my childhood friends, with the people that have been with me since the beginning through thick and thin, through ups and downs, through every single phase in my life, they will always be the people that I put the most energy in.

And if one of your relationships is lacking or it’s losing its strength, simply invest more time and more energy into it, right? If, you feel like you don’t have a relationship with your parents, call them more often. If, you want to strengthen the relationship with your siblings, talk to them more often. You have the power to nurture really fulfilling and really healthy relationships, and you truly want to put in the effort to build those really quality friendships and relationships.

Six – Honor Your Emotions

Next lesson number six is that feeling lost in life means that you need to reassess your goals. If your goals currently do not light you up the way they used to. You need to think about whether or not you want to continue your current path, which ties in with my next lesson.

Seven – You Control Your Identity

Which is that it’s okay to start over from the beginning. Your identity can shift so easily and if your current identity is no longer bringing you joy, you have the power to shift it.

If let’s say you have identified with being a city girl like me your whole life, it’s okay to try something new and be like, actually, you know what? I love living full-time in the tropics, and who knows? Maybe in the future you’ll be back as a city girl again, but it’s okay to shift your identity. Same thing with maybe it’s exercising, you never identified as someone who loved to exercise, but you can change that. You can learn how to be healthy, live a healthy lifestyle, exercise every single day and be really into fitness.

If you wanted to. Your identity can shift so easily and you must realize that it’s completely okay to start over and be a beginner again, to learn something completely new. If you’re feeling lost, just reassess your goals because you can change them. Ultimately, recognize that it is a privilege to feel lost in life. I’ve traveled to many places in the world where people are struggling to get an education, let alone a job that is unfulfilling.

So come from a place of gratitude to be in that position and lean into what your next steps could be. Find those people who inspire you and think different thoughts.

Eight – Find Peace With The Unknown

The next lesson number eight is that it’s okay not knowing what’s going to happen in the next 10 years, five years, one year, three months, or even next week. I’ve gotten so used to living a life where I don’t know where I’m going to be next month, but I have the inner compass and the inner knowing that I’m going to figure it out.

So much stress in today’s world comes from not knowing what the economy’s gonna do, what the housing market’s gonna do, what the elections are going to do, and it’s okay. Like you do not have to have everything planned out and If, you just focus on the step in front of you instead of the whole entire staircase. You’re gonna have such a better grasp on your happiness and bringing things into your life from a place of happiness and inspiration instead of fear.

Nine – Follow Positive Emotions

Number nine is to fall in love with finding what lights you up and brings you joy and to do them more often. This is probably going to change in different chapters in your life, what you are focused on, what your values are, what you’re interested in, and when something new comes up, give yourself permission to explore it. Don’t be like, oh, I’ve never tried that before. I won’t be good at it. Get into the habit of doing anything that gives you the slightest bit of interest and it’s going to bring you joy.

Once you know what you want to be focused on and be working on every day. If, you know what your passions are and you’re excited to jump out of bed to do it. That is how you curate your life, your days into doing only those things that light you up, but you have to find them first. It is so important to live a holistic well-balanced life, especially If. you are an entrepreneur because this helps you fill your own cup.

This helps you not get burned out with the work that you are doing. Even if it is your soul’s work, having something else to balance it out is going to save you so much stress and it’s going to help you when you struggle because it will allow you to step away.

Ten – Invest In Your Mindset

Number 10 is to master your mindset and invest time every single day to strengthen your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which control your actions, which control your results.

I have said this many times before and I will continue saying it because in order to get different results in your life, you need to first think different thoughts and master the thoughts that go through your mind. Everyone has that inner mean girl. Everyone has thoughts that keep them from living their full potential. And every time I think about my limiting beliefs or think any thought that is not conducive to the best case scenario, I think about the following proverb and I wanna share it with you.

It’s called the wolf you feed. One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, my son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superior superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, which wolf wins? The old Cherokee simply replied the one you feed. And this just represents the struggle that goes on within all of us, between good and evil, which thoughts to be thinking, which actions to be taking. And once you can master your mindset and your choices, you realize you can always choose the better path. You can always choose a different thought.

This will enable you to bounce back from any struggles so much quicker than If. you were just wallowing in self-pity or choosing to think the same, destructive, repetitive thoughts. Mastering your mindset, mastering that inner mean girl voice is going to change your life, and that is why mindset is so core in every single one of my programs, it is something I teach because it truly is what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give it a shot and then give up prematurely.

Eleven – Growth Isn’t Linear

The next lesson I’ve learned in my twenties is that growth is not linear and you should not have the expectation that growth is linear. Growth in any way, shape or form comes with difficulties. It comes with lessons that need to be learned and If, you have this unrealistic expectation that it is linear and you’re not reaching those milestones, then it’s only gonna set you up for disappointment. However, If, you accept the fact that it is not linear and you take in the mindset work that you’ve worked so hard on, you are going to reach your goals a hundred percent of the time because you fall in love with the process and not the result.

Twelve – Embrace The Present

Number 12, be present and romanticize your current situation. Do not spend the majority of your time thinking about the future or reminiscing on the past. The present moment is so powerful and I guarantee you in 30 years you’re going to be reflecting back on this time in your life and to help you do that, what I do is I love romanticizing my current situation because I know that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Think about your life as a movie and focus on the positive. Focus on the wins. Celebrate weekly wins, and don’t forget that the present is all you have.

Thirteen – Practice Gratitude

Number 13 is to always be grateful. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that other people have more than you to compare yourself to people who are doing more or doing what you think is better. And it’s so easy to forget about all of the people who would die to be in your situation and to be where you are, to have been born in wherever in the world you were born and to have your life.

So always be grateful. I start every single morning with gratitude, with really appreciating the life that I have created, I have been given, and it empowers me to create even more to impact even more people. So If, you come from a place of gratitude and incorporate that habit into your day-to-day. I guarantee you you’re going to see it trickle through in other parts of your life and in other people’s lives around you as well.

Fourteen – You Always Have A Choice

Lesson number 14 is that you always have the power to choose. You always have a choice. You have the power to choose to say no and set boundaries. You have the power to feel differently about a situation. You have the power always to choose to be happy. Your current situation in life is the sum of your decisions so If, you take responsibility for that.

You can choose to take different actions that will create a different reality. This is so empowering because once you realize you truly have the power, you always have a choice. You do not default to complaining or to blaming or to give away your power to things you cannot control. You can control your thoughts and you can choose to take different actions. Even If, you subscribe to this imaginary story that you’ve created for your life that is an accumulation of your past traumas or events.

You still have the choice to take different actions. Do not blame, do not complain, and do not make yourself a victim.

Fifteen – Surround Yourself With The Best

The next lesson I’ve learned in my twenties is that If, you want to be the best. You have to surround yourself with the best If. you wanna get somewhere and you wanna get there faster. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with the people who are taking the actions, who have the habits to get them to where they are and therefore it will get you to where you want to be.

I learned this with business, with entrepreneurship, with surfing. If. you want to be the best, learn from the best and surround yourself with the best and you will get there, I promise.

Sixteen – You Can Change Your Reality

Number 16, you have the power to change your reality, but you need to make sacrifices and work for it. Once you know that you are capable, you need to hold yourself accountable and recognize that life is going to be different for you.

You’re not going to be indulging in the same things that used to give you pleasure. Let’s say you want to become really fit and get your dream body, you’re gonna need to make sacrifices. You’re probably not going to have the same diet, the same exercise routine, the same thoughts you are going to have to change completely in order to reach that end goal. Same thing with your business. Let’s say you want to launch a new offer, you are going to have to make sacrifices in your day-to-day to dedicate time to creating that offer, to launching that offer, to optimizing it and scaling it, which is gonna require you to say no to many other things in your life.

Everything that you want you are capable of getting, but you need to work for it. And I think over time I am such a compassionate person, but what I’ve found myself to have less and less patience for in my own mind is putting up with my own bullshit and putting up with my own excuses because I can call myself out immediately. If I’m ever complaining to myself, in my mind, I’m gonna be like, no Danielle. That’s actually not the case.

You’re just choosing not to do something. So ask yourself, what exactly in your life right now do you want to change? What is something that you’re unhappy with and what can you do to make it better? Because you have the power to change your reality. What are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen? Are you willing to do whatever it takes when you are saying yes to all of these questions? I guarantee you your life is going to look so, so different.

Seventeen – Recognize Your Habits

Number 17, the 17th lesson that I’ve learned in my twenties is that you have to be aware of your habits. Habits are something that you act almost ex instinctively on. They can be changed, but they are ingrained in you and you have to ask yourself, If, you continue with this habit, where will you be in 10 years? In 20 years, in 30 years, I became really aware of my sun exposure. I’m out surfing all day and so I really had to get a grasp on how I take care of my skin.

I improve my face routine and I’m really diligent about what I put on my skin and what I put inside my body. I cut back on my coffee intake because I drank so much coffee and I was like, this is not sustainable, right? Same thing with your diet. What are you putting inside your body? How often are you exercising? What are the habitual thoughts that run through your mind? All of these things add up and it’s up to you to take inventory and ask yourself, is this healthy for me?

Is this something I want to continue doing or am I just going to be lazy and continue doing what I’m doing until the consequences are there and you are essentially trying to put out the fire instead of preventing it from happening. This is another case of where the sooner you do it, the better it is.

Eighteen – Discipline And Direction Are The Key To Success

Lesson number 18 is that you can achieve anything that you want, but you need discipline and direction. I cannot stress this enough where direction is more important than speed. So you can be going a million miles per hour but in a completely wrong direction and you’re not going to get there. You can also be going in the right direction, but without discipline you are not going to reach it because you’re either going to get shiny object syndrome too soon and you’re gonna back out of it or you’re simply not going to move forward.

So staying focused can save you tons of time wasted, focusing on one year, one goal and working nonstop at it is how you will achieve anything you want to do.

Nineteen – Bad Days Don’t Last

Lesson number 19 is that you will make it through a hundred percent of all of your bad days. Your mind is so capable of convincing you that the world is gonna end. Your worst case scenario is right around the corner.

You are not good enough or talented enough or it’s just going to race you down. All of these detrimental thoughts know that most of the time it does not happen the way you make it out to be. And also know that what goes down must come back up. So even If, you are at the lowest of low. Know that it’s not gonna be like that forever. You will make it through and there is always a lesson in failure.

You’re going through it for a reason and in a few years time, you’re gonna reflect back and understand exactly why that happened. It is hard, but know that growth is on the other side because like I said before, growth is not linear. So If, you can embrace every single period and also instill the self-confidence that you can make it out of it. You’ve done it before, you can do it again. You will be invincible. And this is the mindset we constantly want to adopt and constantly be reminding ourselves of whether that’s from a coach or a community. We need to continuously remind ourselves until it is absolute truth.

Twenty – Trust The Journey

Okay, the last lesson, and it’s one of my favorites, is knowing that you are always divinely guided, trust in the natural laws of the universe. Trust the process and experience peace from everything that you are going through. It is always happening the way it is meant to be. And I’m going to finish this episode with a reminder that you are exactly where you need to be.

If, you enjoyed this episode, I would love if you could share it on Instagram and tag the Wanderlover, the Wanderlover Podcast. Let me know which lesson is your favorite and If, you can relate or resonate with anything that I’ve said. I’d love to have a conversation about it. I will see you all in the next episode where we will be celebrating my 30th birthday and calling in even bigger and better things to come. I cannot wait for it and I will see you all next week.

Sending you so much love.

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Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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