I discovered Dale Partridge through his podcast, Startup Camp. Partridge is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Sevenly.org, a socially-conscious e-commerce company based in Los Angeles, California. Each week, Sevenly partners with one qualified nonprofit, donating $7 from every product sold to support that charity’s cause. Since its launch, Sevenly has given several million dollars in $7 donations to charities across the globe.

Partridge interviews fascinating guests on his podcasts, and he enables his guests to go to very honest places. As a serial podcast listener, I sometimes tire of certain shows where it seems I’m hearing a small number of guests hit “the circuit” and have the same conversations on each show. Partridge fights this problem by creating space for the utmost authenticity in this guests.

What Would You Tell 18-Year-Old You?

My favorite moment of his show comes at the end of the “Campground Lightning Round,” where he asks each guest a fascinating question.

Partridge encourages his guest to imagine they’re walking into a white room, with two chairs. Sitting in one chair in that room is their 18-year-old self. He helps the guest imagine what their 18-year-old self was like – what were they feeling? What were they thinking? What were they afraid of or dreaming about?

Partridge then asks the guest to imagine they sit down across from their younger self and have a 1-2 minute conversation. What one thing would they tell themselves?

The answers are intriguing and enlightening. Best-selling author Susan Cain said she’d tell herself to not be in a rush, to be patient with the process. Popular radio host Dave Ramsey said he’d tell himself “you’re not as smart as you think you are…it’s going to be harder than you think.” TED advisor and presentation designer Nancy Duarte said “you’re about to make the biggest decision of your life, marrying the love of your life…I wish I had someone who supported me and told me it was a good decision.”

A Conversation with Me

During this graduation season, some of us are thinking about what it was like to be 18. Our incredible team of writers here at Thin Difference are offering great perspectives.

I’m wondering what I would say in answer to Dale’s question. I wonder what 18-year-old me was really like, what was going through his head and what he needed to hear.

I think I’d tell him one of thing.

Increase your self-awareness

Apparently, I was arrogant when I started college. I know this because several friends from that time period have told my wife I used to drive them nuts! They’ve pretty much convinced her we would’ve never worked as a couple if I met her at the start of college instead of the start of grad school. I guess I should be thankful I was romantically-challenged in college?!

The problem is I didn’t know I was coming across as arrogant or superior. I also didn’t know that I was really good at getting stuff done myself but terrible at building a team to accomplish more than I could do on my own. When the project threatened to bury me, my stress began to spread like the common cold, and those around me caught the virus.


“I’d tell my 18-year-old self one thing. Increase your self-awareness.” Scott Savage




I don’t know many 18-year-olds who possess tremendous self-awareness, but it’s an important asset to develop in early adulthood. And it’s never too late to begin pursuing self-awareness. Even if you aren’t 18 today, you can begin to understand yourself better and clarify your impact on those with whom you do life. I’d encourage my younger self to ask speaker Jeff Henderson’s favorite question, “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?”

In that white room, I’d have nudged braces-sporting, glasses-wearing, acne-fighting Scott to have the courage to get feedback from those who saw him most clearly. Those conversations would have terrified me, but they would’ve helped me address my weaknesses and brokenness far earlier with less collateral damage.

Answering the Fascinating Question

Whether you’re 18 or headed to your 20th, 40th or 50th high school anniversary next fall, I’d love to know how you’d answer Partridge’s question.

What would you tell 18-year-old you? Is it possible the same wisdom could make a difference in your life today?