3 Mentalities that Hold Us Back In Our 20’s

Raise your hand if you thought you would have your WHOLE life together by the time you reached 25! Or maybe 30 – 35?

Growth is a lifelong journey with many bumps along the road. As someone who just turned 27 a few weeks ago, I can happily say I’ve accomplished many things I thought I wouldn’t have by now. However, in the same breath, I can also say I thought I would have it “ALL” together by now. Based on my perceptions of adulthood growing up, I am yet to “feel” like the adult I once thought I would be. Though I have adult responsibilities, I am, indeed, forever young!

But on a serious note, the belief that we should feel a certain way or have “x” number of possessions by the time we reach a certain age can do more harm than good. Setting goals and standards for your life is one thing, but the inability to embrace your unique journey will often derail you, rather than position you to adapt and prepare for success. So here are three mentalities that often hold us back in our 20’s, and I’m pretty sure in our 30’s and upwards too!

1. The urgency to accomplish your dreams but the lack of urgency to develop habits that allow you to do so.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future?” Well, I have a remix for you: show me your habits and I’ll show you your future. Show me how you currently live your life, your daily practices, your beliefs, your tendencies. Show me your commitment, your determination, your discipline, and I will show you your future.

If we take the time to develop habits that eliminate comfort and promote growth, our circumstances will no longer appear to be hindrances to the future we desire. Circumstances are temporary, whereas ingrained habits transcend seasons. The feeling of urgency to accomplish our dreams can create unnecessary anxiety wrapped in fear and doubt. This feeling can lead us to make rash decisions founded on our fears, instead of our faith, decisions that disconnect us from our vision.


Yes, our time on earth is limited and tomorrow surely isn’t promised to us, but the reality of our dreams takes work. Your best you requires your best effort. Don’t be so fixated on who you want to become that you forget who you are now. The future you lives inside the present you. Don’t run ahead and abandon your current need to be poured into and nurtured. Accept where you currently are and see it as a starting point for where you want to go. Write down a list of action steps you need to take to unlearn habits that are holding you back. Create habits that will propel you in the direction of your purpose and dreams. Embrace the process and most importantly, stay committed to the cause. Remember, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong” [Ecclesiastes 9:1].

2. Being more concerned with fitting in than being yourself.

If you live to please others because you fear disapproval, you will be unfulfilled. The approval of others will only comfort your soul for a while. It will only make you feel welcomed and embraced for a limited time. In my previous post, I mentioned the importance of standing by your yes even when others shout no. Even when others attempt to push you inside a box based on their limitations and expectations, don’t accept it. Break that box down if you have to! You were not created to be a clone of someone else or to become a slave to someone else’s idea of who you should be.

I’m currently in the process of getting over my fear of disapproval, being criticized, as well as not being liked for what I believe in and stand for. It’s hard, and it stems from so many different seeds: the desire to be accepted, loved, appreciated, understood and the list goes on. Thus far, the process has taught me that it isn’t the world’s job to embrace me. It’s my job to stay true to myself and embrace me. It’s always my job to boldly recognize the woman God created me to be and embrace that woman with courage.


Surround yourself with an inner circle of people who love and accept you for you. Being loved and accepted doesn’t always mean you will agree with everything in your circle, but those who truly love you will not shame you into being anything less than the best you. Most importantly, look to the Most High; once He approves of you and your decisions are aligned with His truth, don’t even bat an eyelid [Romans 31]. You will find that your greatest life doesn’t require approval from others, especially those who stand on the outside looking in. Set boundaries for who you allow to impact your decisions and don’t share your plans with everyone. Embrace the process of being you with courage. Don’t let your impact be diluted by fear. Be the richest version of yourself!

3. Trying to look like you have it all together when you really don’t.

Living above your means. Highlighting a life that doesn’t represent what you live. Showcasing your possessions for all to see, all the time. These are a few examples of the acts many people put on to appear “better off” or on par with their counterparts. The need to look like you have it all together usually stems from what you perceive to be an acceptable lifestyle for someone your age, social status, job description and the list goes on.

Maybe you graduated five years ago but still don’t have the job of your dreams. You see people making significant strides in their careers but you haven’t. Have you been driving the same old car for years, while those around you are purchasing luxury cars? Maybe you still live at home with your parents, while your friends and family are buying their first homes. Triggers like these make people brag or exaggerate elements of their lifestyles so they can feel accepted, valuable, and fruitful. On the flip side, these events can also cause depression and a false sense of failure. Just because someone appears to be ahead, doesn’t mean you are behind. Your story will not be identical to someone else’s.


The worst thing you can do is put yourself in a bad position to appear “successful.” Just because Lisa down the street bought a luxury car doesn’t mean you have to give up your reliable, paid-off 2005 Nissan to take on a car loan you cannot afford. Just because Ronnie and Sarah on Facebook purchased their first home last month and you’re still living at home with Mum and Dad doesn’t mean you need to go out there and rent without adequate funds and the ability to stand on your feet.

Preparation and timing are everything. Congratulate those achieving significant milestones. Don’t compete and compare your life to someone else’s with your limited understanding. Don’t spend your life on social media “feening” for someone else’s life. Embrace your reality. Stay true to your journey. Continue to lay down your foundation and prepare for the best that is yet to come. To whom much is given, much is required. Don’t envy the blessings of others when you don’t know how they got to where they are or the responsibilities that accompany their positions.

Dear Purposeful Woman, embrace this season of your life fully. Smell the roses. Test your perceived limits and give yourself time to blossom. Don’t cheat yourself running after someone else’s purpose. Recognize, love, and live yours.

What do you think holds us back in our 20’s?

Shandice Stallworth - Dear Purposeful Woman (3).png

Shandice Stallworth | DPW Founder

Dear Purposeful Woman is on a mission to transform how women see themselves, live their faith and walk with purpose daily. I hope my products, programs, and resources encourage you along your purposeful journey. You are here for a purpose, one that lives in the big and small moments of everyday life. Most importantly, it lives within you.

You can keep up with Shandice over on www.shandicestallworth.com