Don't Let Anyone Look Down on You Because You are Young

I was never taught that I needed to be a certain age to chase after my dreams. I was often told by my parents that I was intelligent, not to make me conceited, but to make me aware. They wanted to make me aware of my potential so that I didn't waste it. They were quick to point out my strengths to encourage me to excel. Age was never a prohibitive factor; rather, it served as a timeline to success. Launching a business at 22 is a funny thing. Even more, launching a business that isn't tech based, has a physical retail store, and requires employee management skills, is even more out of the norm. The more I get out in the community to promote my company, the more I take note of the resistance from certain individuals, specifically older individuals. While people my age may not be able to relate, it's often the older generations that have the hardest time digesting my career. I think it is probably because they compare me  to themselves at 22. Perhaps they were still figuring out their passions when they were my age, so they just can't understand how I could've taken such a committed plunge right out of college.

I wish I could say that I've only encountered this skeptical or shocked attitude from men because then I could pass it off as another statistic about feminism. But, it's more than that. I've also received pushback from women in their 30s and up. Whether it's blatant comments like, "Wow, you're so young", or unsolicited "advice" on how I need to run my business, it's always fascinating to me that women in business could be so unsupportive of other women in business.

I recently worked an industry trade show where another business owner was just so perplexed that I was operating this venture. I could literally see the furrow lines growing deeper in his forehead as I explained that yes, I did find my own general contractor, and no, I'd rather not share all of my financials with you. He was pointed enough to ask me questions such as, " you have a business degree?" and call me "hon" like I was an inept child. I really wanted to laugh and say, "Yes! Along with my college degree, they even gave me a brain with an instructional video on how to work it!" There's a difference between surprise and cynicism, and the tone of voice will give it away.

Here's the bottom line - I am young, and I have a lot to learn. I appreciate nothing more than receiving advice from those who have gone before me. However, I find it inexplicably sad that the generation who complains about how irresponsible the millennials are would treat the go-getters of my generation like they are incapable. If anything, it's a wasted opportunity because you will never be able to mentor someone if you treat them like they are foolish.

If you are young and chasing your dreams, resistance is part of the process, but that's all the more reason to take advantage of the people that do get it and are willing to help, rather than hurt. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young. Knowledge may come with time but character isn't a factor of your age.