Ahhhh, another ride around this beautiful, crazy, intense path we called life.
Birthdays for me (and likely you too) are deeply reflective.
Instead of crushing tequila, I’d much rather go on a hike and spend time thinking about the past 364 days.
Where I learned.
Where I fell short.
Where I created.
It’s a time to look back and ask some deep questions about where we are in life, what we’ve learned…
…and what truly matters.
Every year, I share some lessons —and here are 33 lessons from my time here.
1. Sometimes the greatest form of knowledge and wisdom is forgetting what you (think) you know.
In other words: what got us here, won’t get us there. Letting go is hard, yet essential to get to the next level of growth and awareness.
2. We are all on a quest back to self-love, appreciation and owning every part of ourselves.
This is how simple it all really is, and I’m always reminded of this core human driver.
3. The greatest quest we’ll ever go on is our own Hero’s journey —the jagged, uneven path to center, to return our gifts.
If you know every step of your path, it’s likely been created by someone else. Your path is yours, own it.
4. Life’s greatest moments are often not manufactured and are more about allowing.
Take a step back and reflect on life’s greatest moments. Did you manufacture them with blueprints and spreadsheets, or did you allow them?
5. There is incredible power in contrast, the storms in our lives allow the beautiful sunset to taste that much sweeter.
The other day I was hiking in Arizona where we get 350+ days of sunshine a year, and there was an intense storm. I looked up and thought: damn, that’s beautiful. It was a reminder there is power in the contrast, and no matter what you’re going through —it will pass.
6. Urgency and our mortality are beautiful motivators to remember the essential and go all in.
I call this the Cemetery Principle: remembering our own mortality is the best way to slice through the noise and make powerful decisions.
Because the truth is: it is a matter of life or death.
Once you get clear, there are countless ways to find time on for what matters.
7. Waiting for an external result to feel fulfilled and at peace with ourselves will never, ever work out.
Start with your foundation, developing your inner power —or else you’ll achieve success and with a hollow and empty feeling.
8. The greatest communication skill is radical honesty —it releases the number one killer of relationships: assumptions.
Think about how assumptions have destroyed prior relationships —often, all we needed to do was have a real, transparent conversation.
9. The secret is you already have everything you need, and yet there’s always more to experience and grow from.
This is a beautiful paradox and makes our lives invigorating.
10. You know you’ve found your calling when you can’t not do it.
I can’t not do what I do. If I had all the money, I’d still do it. If I had all the time, I’d still do it.
11. Our heads often block the most powerful parts of who we are: our hearts.
So many of the people I speak to are stuck in their heads. And yet, our heads take us away from what really matters: the deepest part of who we are.
12. Intuition will always trump logic, whiteboards and blueprints. Learn to listen to it.
Always trust the internal voice which always knows what to do.
It’s pure wisdom.
13. Go to the places that inspire you, and bring you to tears. Disconnect from the noise, to reconnect to what really matters.
Start here on your path to personal growth. For me, it’s nature —I literally packed my bags and moved cross country because it inspires me so much.
These days, I’m outside in nature 5-6 times per week and I always receive a gift.
What’s your inspiration?
14. Change something, anything! Don’t place yourself in a rigid box. Think you’re an introvert? Go to improv. Hate dancing? Sign up for Salsa.
I’m not a fan of personality tests. I believe they put you and I in boxes —keeping us stuck and rigid. Think outside the box, or better yet: light the box on fire.
15. Every time you leave someone, ask yourself —if this was our last communication, would I be proud of how I showed up?
I use this often when speaking to parents or family.
16. The ego is always in the way of learning, growth, peace, acceptance —learn to dissolve it.
The first rule of all my programs to create change is simple:
Drop the ego.
Without this, transformation is a pipe dream.
17. You are much more powerful than you give yourself credit for. And deep down, you know it. This scares you.
However, you’ve ignored the truth of who you are, we all have.
It’s time to get back into it and allow it back into the world.
18. There’s never a “right” time for anything. Dent the quantum field and create it now —book the trip, ask them out, launch the business and live out loud.
“When the kids are a little older.”
“When life slows down and I’m less busy.”
“When I have the money, then I’ll invest in my dreams.”
These are all excuses our minds use to keep us stuck, comfortable and playing small.
19. Distraction is a source of un-faced pain —usually in the form of lacking alignment with our purpose and vision.
The times in my life I was most lost, disconnected from purpose and lacking clarity were the times I was all in on fantasy sports, message boards, random entertainment, etc.
Distraction is a feedback mechanism for a live lacking purpose.
20. Be yourself, and don’t apologize. I can be a very intense guy…for years, I tried to dim it —and then I presented myself.
Just be you.
I’m intense, why would I fight it?
21. On that note, have way more fun. No one gets out of alive. Everyone’s naked anyway.
And yes, be yourself but also have a lot of fun along the way.
I’ve been practicing this more often and learning to spend time playing has nourished my spirit and creativity.
22. Fall in love with giving. You can give right now, even if you can’t pay your bills.
I call this the 2-for-1 principle: when you grab a protein bar at the gas station, get two. When you grab water, or drinks, or snacks, grab two. Then hand them out to people in need.
23. Positive psychology is (largely) ineffective. Your “bad” emotions aren’t —they’re a feedback mechanism. Let them be.
You’re human, act like it.
Don’t judge yourself for feeling sad, angry or triggered. Learn to understand your emotions instead of labeling them —and find ways to release them.
24. Clarity is a daily practice and takes time. Don’t force it, but don’t use it as an excuse to not get started.
Every day, re-affirm your vision for at least 10 minutes.
25. If you wanted it bad enough, you’d find the time, money and energy. Seriously —this has never held a willing person back.
Just saying. A lot of people tell me they don’t have the time and energy. I’ve been broke, with overdrafts on all my accounts.
I still moved forward, because I was willing.
26. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and owned who you are? Do it today.
Tell yourself the truth: you are more powerful than you give yourself credit for.
27. Look up more than you look down. There are no answers in our phones, they all come from the curiosity and willingness to look up.
Be curious! Experience the zest of being alive. Ditch the phone for a weekend, take an adventure…live out loud.
28. Your breakdown can become your greatest breakthrough. Or, it can become the identity that you take to the grave.
Your choice —because playing the victim card leaves us powerless to change. It feels great for a minute until it doesn’t anymore.
29. Don’t normalize extraordinary. Your heart is a miracle. Your brain is a mystery. This moment has magic.
To quote one of my favorite books, The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman: there are no ordinary moments.
30. Don’t settle in relationships. Be patient and wait for someone that lights your world on fire.
I didn’t settle, and yet I was tempted to. Nourish the relationship with yourself, and watch what happens. Create a power couple relationship with the guy or gal in the mirror.
31. Fall in love with pain —it is the greatest focuser, and suffering because of it is always optional.
Pain is part of life and becomes a great focuser —suffering is the avoidance of pain.
32. Sprint until you can’t anymore. Smile deeper than you ever have. Cry louder so everyone can hear you. Raise the volume on your life!
Turn it up, turn it up, turn it up! Wear your emotions on your sleeves. Say what needs to be said. Be ruthlessly honest, yet compassionate. Speak your truth.
33. There are no ordinary moments.
As referenced above, one day in this life is enough for a lifetime of memories if we’re present, engaged and alive.
Remember: as you grow and turn the corner on another year, take a moment to reflect.
Because you are not who you were 3 months ago, 364 days ago or 3 years ago.