Category Archives: Letters

A Letter To My Younger Self About Being Trapped By Fear

This amazing letter was written by Melanie Tozzi (now Hicks) and was one of the winners in a contest run by Marie Claire magazine in celebration of the publication of my second book, If I’d Known Then. The best part: Chapter Two of Melanie’s story, which you can read here.

To my younger self:

When I peer into the looking glass that illuminates you, I see a shy, quiet girl who is critically afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, afraid of loneliness…and all these things are holding you back like an anchor holds a ship near a shoreline.

So if there is one lesson I can give to you it would be to stop letting fear keep you from living. Life will not always be easy and it will not always be kind but don’t run away for joy often lies just below the surface of uncomfortable.

The truth is all that you fear will come to pass. You will fail at times but each time will make success a little richer. You will be rejected at times but it will help refine your inner strength. You will be lonely at times but you will also experience great love. For in the end you are stronger than you think and the consequences for all that you fear are not nearly as bad as the regret of what is missed while standing on the sidelines.

Never be afraid to be who you are, flaws and all – for that is where your true beauty lies. Never let others tear you down. Be purposeful and confident even when you don’t feel like it. Have the courage to live your values and the understanding to know those values may differ from others’ and that is okay.  Be good to yourself: practice self-reverence, self-discipline and self-control.

When you stumble never be ashamed, for everyone has had skinned knees at some time in their life. Get back up, smile and try again. Give love, even when it is not returned. Trust yourself and others will place their trust in you. Give of yourself and others will do the same.

So take that summer job your senior year at the Olympics instead of hanging out with your high schools friends at the beach; move 12 states away to the ivy league school you really want to attend even though you won’t know anyone; take the extra time and patience to let your mom teach you how to cook; accept that position in the new overseas office even though you’ve never owned a passport; run (don’t walk) away from people who neglect or abuse you; drive the extra hours to go fishing with your Grandpa before he is no longer here.

Through it all remember the words of Abraham Lincoln, a man who despite great success had devastating failures as well, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

For life is far too short to be trapped by fear.

A letter to my younger self about a challenging child

This letter was co-created for a Letters To My Younger Self Seminar at Executive Women’s Day at The John Deere Classic in July of 2013

Marie Z. Ziegler is Vice President and Deputy Financial Officer for Deere & Company, a position she’s held since January of 2013. Marie is responsible for the company’s investor relations, treasury and pension fund and investment operations.

Marie’s current position caps a 35-year career at Deere. She joined the company in 1978 as a consolidation accountant and has pretty much covered the waterfront in finance since then–holding management positions in finance, treasury operations, strategic planning and investor and banking relations. She became Vice President and Treasurer for the company, her job prior to this one, in November 2010.

One of the most important roles Marie took on was at age 28. Continue reading

A Letter To My Younger Self about the Mind as a Powerful Tool

Antara Prakash, 25, decided to write to herself at 13 because that was the age when she “was beginning to notice shifts in my mindset. I was noticing different interactions with friends, and how much importance is placed on your self-image Continue reading

A Letter to my Younger Self about Fashion Stress and Teensanity

Melissa Fares is a 20 year-old student from Wilton, CT who is studying psychology at Smith College and blogging at Womankind. In the letter below, she is writing to herself at 13 when she was getting ready to go to her new school and be seen by her new friends. At the time, she says she was trying to “figure out Continue reading

A Letter to My Younger Self about the Power of Attitude

Dani is 28, lives in Bethesda, MD, and has created a wonderful site about tracking our monkey minds’ habits–and changing them for the better: www.positivelypresent.com. Here she is writing to her younger self at 14.

Dear Teenage Dani,

I know it’s tough being where you are now. Pardon the Britney Spears reference, Continue reading

My Soldier Dad

We had our father’s 89th birthday celebration over Memorial Day weekend this year. My brother, three sisters and I had planned on a 90th birthday bash, but our stepmother suggested this year might be better. There would be a better chance of Dad being able to enjoy it. Continue reading

A Letter To My Younger Self About A False Great Life

This letter was created for a 2011 Letters To My Younger Self® Seminar


Michele Meyer-Shipp is a Vice President and Counsel at a large insurance company, providing legal advice and counsel on a variety of employment-related matters to several internal clients. Continue reading

A Letter To My Younger Self About Standing Up for Yourself

This letter was created for a 2011 Letters To My Younger Self ® Seminar

Denise Quinn is a Vice President in a large insurance company, where she oversees strategic projects and also leads various projects within its marketing and distribution division. Continue reading

A Letter To My Younger Self About Being a Perfect Mother and Professional

This letter was created for a 2011 Letters To My Younger Self ® Seminar

Elaine Green is a Vice President at a large insurance company within the controller’s department. She chose to write to herself during a pivotal, highly pressured time in her career and personal life. It was January of 1999, during the year-end reporting season. Continue reading

A Letter to My Younger Self About Finding Joy in the Unknown

This letter was created for the book “What I Know Now About Success.”


“Definitely a Type A personality.”

“Every minute on my Blackberry is accounted for.”

“I’m the kind of person who always chooses the same route for my daily run in any given city, rather than explore a new course.” Continue reading