“There’s nothing more powerful and important in our 20s than the questions we bring to it.”
As I kick off age 34 and watch my 20s fade behind me (sigh), Paul Angone’s observation rings true more and more each day. His new book, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties, is sure to be the new blueprint to help any young professional find their true north.
At so many intervals in my 20s, I forced myself to stop, look in the mirror and ask one central question:
“Is this work really you?”
As a TV news reporter in my hometown, people recognized me on the street and knew my name. It would be easy to settle into that life and ride it out. But all the negative reporting (ex: shootings and house fires) made me feel empty inside.
Then, as a media researcher working with NBC News at “30 Rock,” I rubbed elbows with stars. Who would pass on that?
Me. I did. Because in my core, I realized I’m not a researcher or data scientist.
And because I kept asking, “Is this job who I am?”
The answer emerged from the depths of my soul: No, it is not. Keep searching. Keep moving. Keep asking.
Today, I write books, design curriculum and speak to crowds on how to communicate in the business world. The work is my passion, and I never have to wrestle with the decision to wake up and put in the hours. Never Ever Ever.
How did I arrive at what I’m meant to do? By asking pivotal questions throughout my 20s.
Angone, who wrote the uber-popular 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, comes full force again with 101 Questions. With his usual blend of humor, warmth and hard truths, Angone throws dozens of gut-check questions right in your face like a splash of ice cold water you never knew you always needed.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Everyone leaves a legacy behind. What will mine be?
- The question runs through my mind — nay, my veins — every single day.
- What am I going to regret NOT doing?
- I would regret NOT living up to my own expectations. Plain and simple.
- When have others seen me the most alive?
- LOVE this question. When are you the most authentic version of yourself? Stay right there and explore every angle and opportunity. That’s where you need to be in your 20s and beyond.
- What is fear keeping me from doing? Is it worth it?
- It’s always scary to try something new. But there’s an exhilaration in looking back to see what you accomplished. But there’s only one way to feel that feeling…
- If I’m going to pursue a big dream, am I willing to drive a 1993 Honda Civic Hatchback with no power steering, no air conditioning, and no right mirror for 15 years?
- OK so not my exact situation, but I agree. I don’t need anything fancy to pursue the work I love. I do need endless hustle, but it’s as free as the air.
- If not now, when?
- The world needs you being you. 24/7. Anything less cheapens why you were placed on this earth.
Bravo to Angone for providing 20-somethings with the right questions to ask you forge a path and find yourself.
As he writes in the final pages: Create. Make. Dream. Do.
The journey always begins with a look inside.