Audrey French on How Personal Priorities Change With Age

In Chapter 10 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "How Are Your Personal Priorities Changing As You Get Older?"  With maturity and age, French learns to be less harsh on herself when things go wrong.  Additionally, she learns to be more open with her strengths and weaknesses to find and take action on improvement opportunities. 

Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married.  She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm.  In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies.  In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners.  She graduated from Wake Forest University. 


Erik Michielsen: How are your personal priorities changing as you get older?

Audrey Parker French: I think as I’m getting older, I’m recognizing that new circumstances call for an openness of mind and an openness to consider new actions and new thoughts that previously maybe didn’t fit into my world. So it’s a recognizing that maybe I didn’t have it all figured out in certain areas that I – that previously I thought I had it all figured out and having to come to grips with, “Well, I actually really stink at that.” And really being honest with myself to learn how to excel or improve in areas where I was not strong.

And then also looking at where aspects of my life where not really up to level that I  -- where I want them and just being willing to make the changes necessary. I think a big part of developing as I’ve gotten older is I’m learning, I’m still – I still haven’t mastered it but I’m learning how to be easier on myself. How to not beat myself up as quickly or as harshly or as long when I get upset with something that I’ve done wrong or that I just didn’t see coming or that I just – you know, something was off with it. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of my energy really making myself miserable when I’ve messed up something. And I think with age and maturity comes perspective to say, “You know what? Mistakes happen. Things go wrong. Things happen.” 

And I can choose to look at it as I’ve done terrible and wrong or I could choose to look at it like, “Well, that’s certainly wasn’t what I was intending to do.” And in the future I’ll do something different. And let me see what else I can learn from this experience and then I can let it go and get on with my day, get on with my life, you know, clean up any messes that have – that are remaining but once it’s cleaned up there’s no reason to just keep being upset with the fact that we’re all just still learning.