Alex Tan on Being the Youngest in the Room
Alex Tan, Co-Founder of MOUTHWASH, sits down and explores what it means to be the youngest in the room, a position that is often times greeted with skepticism and belittlement.
It’s weird being the youngest person in the room, but not impossible. It comes with a lot of relief knowing that your best years are ahead of you. In an equal and opposite sense, could provide just as much anxiety when you feel like you’re behind.
I’m 24 and live in Los Angeles where I run a company with a couple of my friends. I wasn’t even allowed to go to my first agency holiday party because I wasn’t 21 yet, and now I sit at the same table with people who run large and small brands that want us to take part in what they’re building.
It all just feels like a constant practice of understanding yourself and who you come in contact with. Things like knowing that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right now, having the confidence to throw in your ideas with everyone else’s, and choosing to not be above any ask are all important. It’s usually all the little things that end up being big things.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure where it all begins and ends. It felt like one day I woke up and was asked to do some stuff that was way out of my wheelhouse. I stayed up late, asked questions, did my research, tried, failed, and tried again.
It felt like a relief when it was all over, but I woke up the next day and somebody asked if I could do something that was twice as big and daunting as the first task.
Life is just this cycle for a while. It still feels this way most of the time.
I guess one day you wake up and realize you’re actually good at some of this stuff. You’ll build up enough resiliency to get through tasks that feel impossible at first.
People will start to trust that you can get the job done, believe that your taste is what’s best for them, or just feel safe with you. All of the above doesn’t hurt either.
The more I think about it, the more I get in my own head about it all. I find the time more useful by just getting to work.