This series is meant to offer my generation advice, tips and wisdom on a variety of topics from a diverse mix of successful individuals — Millennials all. This is a space where we can freely talk about us, how we live, the struggles we face, and how we overcome adversity. TIME famously tokened Millennials as the “Me” generation; I’d rather be part of the “Us” generation.
Vicki & Rich Fulop
Founders of Brooklinen
Vicki and Rich Fulop are a married pair of entrepreneurs who started the aptly named Brooklinen in Brooklyn through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, helping to break the New York stigma as the city that never sleeps. Brooklinen is now a multi million dollar business and makes some damn good linens if I do say so myself (yes, I have a set)!
We, like a lot of Millennials, graduated into a dismal economic climate with many struggling to secure jobs after college and being forced to move home. I think these experiences have a sobering effect, but that they’ve also made us a resilient and empowered generation. We’re aware of what we can lose, but we’re driven rather than broken by it.
Do whatever you can to get enough sleep every night. Nuff’ said.
Make time for self-care. If you do, you’ll perform and feel better. You’ll also be a better friend and/or significant other if you don’t burn yourself out. You have to schedule the time to recharge your batteries, even if you don’t think you have the time!
Don’t listen to negatives. From Taraji P. Henson: “If you listen to other people [tell you what you can’t do], and allow others to project their fears onto you, you won’t live.” That’s very true for Millennials. When you have goals, if you listen to others tell you that you’re too young, too old, too inexperienced, too this, too that, you’ll never achieve anything. You really have to form a thick skin, push forward, and take the risk!
Executive Producer and Host of The New American Kitchen
Gary Duff is an award-winning talk show host, writer, and producer. He’s interviewed some of the most talked-about celebs of our time for The Gary Duff Show on WOR 710AM, most recently Caitlyn Jenner and Milo Yononopolisssisislooplsliiss. Gary is also a food and culture writer for Gotham, HuffPost, and Newsday.
There’s never been a more exciting time to be a Millennial than right now. Because we grew up with technology, our minds are open to possibilities all the time. At any moment I can pick up my phone and reach thousands of people, and I can express myself in ways no one ever thought possible. Our generation can reshape the world faster than ever before, and that’s super empowering!
Surround Yourself With Positive People. Negative people stop you from reaching your goals and from working productively. You have the responsibility to clear a path for your own success, and it starts with putting positive people into positions of power in your life.
Find yourself before you find a significant other. I’ve found that the happiest people enter into relationships with a vision of what their life is supposed to be already. They know who they are because they’ve been forced to self-examine their own needs, their own happiness, and their own reasons for love. Find yourself first.
Persevere. Back in college, I took an astronomy course on stars and galaxies, and I remember being fascinated by the way stars reacted to the spaces they inhabited. Some stars thrived and some imploded; some collided into each other. But there was one theory about the expansion of the universe — bear with me, it’s worth it — that said at some point there could be stars that traveled so fast that they’d outpace the influence of gravity. I felt it was a beautiful thought to apply to one’s own perseverance. No matter how many people tell you no, you’ll reach a point where no one can hold you back — where “gravity” will no longer have an effect on you.
Co-founder of Away
Jen is part of the duo that created Away, an upscale luggage company which sells durable, aesthetically pleasing, and well-thought-out travel products at manageable prices.
Being a Millennial with lofty goals can be both exhilarating and frustrating. Our generation has access to endless opportunities, but with those opportunities comes doubt. When my partner Steph and I were starting Away, we were often told there are a bunch of big players in the luggage industry who spend millions and millions of dollars every year on research and product development, and that we would be better off putting our energy elsewhere. But we didn’t let it get to us, it only made us want to succeed even more. We took advantage of the resources we had — our networks and experiences — and really ran with it, despite what everyone was telling us.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Focusing on your own path is what’s going to lead to success, while constantly comparing yourself to your peers will do more harm than good.
Roll with the punches. Your life is inevitably going to take many twists and turns, but it’s best to just go with it. Every career choice you make leads you to a very specific place that will make sense once you get there, but it’s not always easy to predict what’s going to happen.
Think about now. Don’t just think about your goals for the far future; focus on what you want to do this week, this month. Keep the bigger picture in mind, but remember you’re only going to get there by killing the smaller things!