Power Players

What Jay Leno, Tony Hawk and 8 other successful millionaires wish they knew in their 20s

The Oracles

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give your younger self advice? Time travel may not be possible, but the next best thing is learning from others.

We asked Jay Leno, Tony Hawk, Barbara Corcoran and seven other Advisors in The Oracles what they would wish they knew in their 20s.

1. 'Mistakes are okay.'

"I made some stupid decisions growing up, but I probably wouldn't be as successful if I hadn't made them. So I would tell my younger self that mistakes are OK, as long as you learn from them.

Some things you just have to learn for yourself. You can tell people like me not to touch a hot stove, but we'll still do it. Given a chance, I'd probably touch it again — because that's how you learn.

Today every kid gets a trophy regardless of how they place, but that's not how it should be. Because I was dyslexic, my mother told me that I would have to work twice as hard as other kids to get the same things. So I went through life with that attitude. I came in a little earlier and went home a little later, and it always paid off."

—Jay Leno, one of the world's most successful comedians, star of "Jay Leno's Garage" on CNBC, and former longtime host of NBC's "The Tonight Show." Follow him on Facebook and Instagram

2. 'Savor the ride.'

"Don't stop playing the violin or doing Frontside 540s. Embrace adversity. Enjoy your travels to strange places. Tell your kids you love them more often. Eat less meat. Go to that Joe Strummer show, because it will be your last chance. Be more honest about your feelings. Don't start a high-end denim company. Save all of your Hi8 video footage. Don't do a loop while wearing a monkey costume. Invest in Uber instead of that burger place. Surf more. Don't chase fame. Savor the quiet moments. Learn laser flips and to speak French properly."

Believe in yourself more, and enjoy the ride.

—Tony Hawk, founder and CEO of Birdhouse Skateboards and president of the Tony Hawk Foundation

3. 'Use self-doubt to your advantage.'

"I would want to tell my younger self that self-doubt can sometimes be a good thing. Self-doubt is something I struggled with daily.

Growing up, I had a hard time learning to read and write, so I was labeled 'the dumb kid.' I let that get me down and diminish my confidence, so much so that when my boyfriend dumped me and said, 'You'll never succeed without me,' I almost believed him. Almost.

Today, I use insecurity as a motivator to learn and try harder. I am my biggest cheerleader. The moment that insecurity starts to creep in, I remind myself: 'Barbara, you're amazing.'"

Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of "Business Unusual," and Shark on "Shark Tank"

4. 'Focus on the long term.'

"My advice for young people is this: Don't focus on your weaknesses; focus on what you're naturally good at, which you'll likely enjoy. If you don't know what that is, try more things.

Then develop that skill, and the market will compensate you for it. Think long-term. Identify a person or company to learn from and work for the skills, not the paycheck.

In my early 20s, I worked for next to nothing for my mentor. But I call that my 'million-dollar year' because that's the value of the education I received. I spent the first five years of my career working long hours and living with my mom. And I never took a vacation.

Success takes hard work and time, but you have time. The question is, are you willing to work hard? Identify where you want to go and who you need to be to get there. Then reverse-engineer a plan."

Dan Lok, serial entrepreneur, global educator, international bestselling author of "Unlock It!," founder and CEO of Closers.com and Copywriters.com. Follow him on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram

5. 'Stop thinking small and stop complaining.'

"There are two things I'd tell my 20-something self:

1. Stop thinking so small. No matter how big you think you can grow your current project or company, multiply those thoughts by 20. Don't think about what you don't have; map out exactly what it would take to make that goal a reality.

Remember, there's no shortage of available money, and the right deal will always find the funding. Most investors will pass on a deal that seems too small and without colossal upside. So don't be afraid to dream bigger and sell the deal larger!

2. Stop complaining so much. No one wants to hear you whine. No one cares about your losses, bad partnerships, rip-offs, or screw-overs. Suck it up, regroup, sell through it, and be fearlessly committed to your goals without complaining about the bumps and bruises that come with the territory."

Matt Mead, founder and CEO at Drivonic; co-founder of Mead Holdings Group, The Epek Companies, and Grayson Pierce Capital

6. 'Be yourself. Always.'

"I wish I'd known sooner to go all-in on being myself, unapologetically. All of me, not the version that's filtered, edited, appropriately professional, properly feminine and pretty — or properly anything, for that matter.

In the end, you will give in to being you. You can wait if you like, but what you feel inside — about who you really are and what your life is meant to be about — is not going away.

A year from now, it will still be there; you'll just be older. So rip off the band-aid now."

—Katrina Ruth, founder and CEO of "The Katrina Ruth Show," a multimillion-dollar online coaching business for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

7. 'Don't regret your choices.'

"I'd tell myself to never regret the choices I make. Sure, it would be easy to say, 'I wish I would have started my company sooner, bought Amazon stock when I first heard about it, and continued the podcast I started in 2007 instead of switching to YouTube.'

But the truth is, I am where I am today because of the choices I made. I own that. I don't do regret anymore, and I don't believe in suffering from addiction to the past. I'm here now and I'm always committed to what's next."

—Tom Ferry, founder and CEO of Tom Ferry International and New York Times bestselling author of "Life! By Design"; ranked the No. 1 real estate coach by Swanepoel Power 200. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook

8. 'Prepare to lose.'

"You can't save your way to wealth or cut costs to become more profitable. You have to spend money to grow it. Most entrepreneurs focus on their return on investment rather than what they need to spend to reach their goals — and what they might have to lose along the way.

This 'acceptable loss' is an important term I learned in the military, and one of the most difficult decisions a business owner faces. It's about identifying what you're prepared to lose to accomplish your goal and taking calculated risks to get there.

Like most entrepreneurs, I originally got into business for myself to make money. But I've also learned that if you help people, money just comes as a byproduct. So create your company to make an impact or reach a massive audience for a cause, which is what I've done with every one of my businesses."

Patch Baker, founder and CEO of Mobius Media Solutions; former U.S. Marine, with a mission to help people leave the military today and not feel abandoned tomorrow

9. 'Prioritize your health and relationships.'

"Trust your instincts. Life will get tough — and so will you.

You'll feel broken sometimes, but it's just the beginning. Embrace the lessons from hurt and failure, and always get back up. Do the self-work and have a growth mindset. Lose your ego and inhibition. Forgive everyone for everything, always — especially yourself. You'll find your voice, happiness, and choice; then you'll help others do the same. Respect your fear and work through it.

You'll impact millions of lives; so unapologetically own your contribution and your story. Stop making excuses. Integrity and honesty are everything, so be true to yourself. Love those close to you. Your health and relationships are the most important things in life, so get your priorities straight!

Learn the art of self-care, and love yourself as if your life depends on it — because it does. Sing every day. Learn to sleep. Always be a student. Stop wasting time worrying. Focus. Think, dream, and do big things."

Andrea Callanan, musician-turned-entrepreneur; voice, confidence, and success coach, author of "You Are Meant for More," and founder of employee engagement company Inspire Me. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

10. 'Be your own champion.'

"You have a unique skill that no one else in the world can compete with. Identify it, harness it, and master it. Don't be intimidated by those with a better education, more letters after their name, or accomplished and well-to-do parents. Just bring your knowledge and A-game to the party.

Learn to prepare better than anyone else when you really want something. Don't fall prey to the many people who will try to take you down. Be your own champion, and become a master at picking yourself up.

The fastest, smartest, and richest people don't always win the race. Sometimes it's the one with pure endurance."

Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of Aegis Living; longevity expert, five-time author, and film producer; philanthropist and founder of five charitable organizations. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Join The Oracles, a mastermind group of the world's leading entrepreneurs who share their success strategies to help others grow their businesses and build better lives. For more, follow The Oracles on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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