Part 3 of 4: 40 lessons I’ve learned in 40 years (ON LIFE, LOVE, & LEADERSHIP)


{Part THREE of FOUR}

#21-30 of 40 lessons learned in 40 years. Go here if you missed part two.

21. Create daily habits of exquisite self-care - What I have come to know is that self-care is self-work - its not all bubble baths and organic dark chocolate treats. It’s showing up for ourself, even when it’d be easier to check-out. It’s taking care of our body, rather than taking it for granted. It’s leaning into the dark night of our soul so that we can uncover the treasure in our triggers, rather than avoiding and escaping hard feelings. It’s getting support when doing it alone just isn’t working anymore. It’s listening so deeply to the needs of our own well-being that we actually have the energy to be there for those we love (including ourselves). It’s saying ‘no’ to those things that aren’t really a ‘yes’, even if it causes FOMO, and it’s saying ‘yes’ to those things that are really a ‘yes’ (our dreams), even if that means we will have to make some changes in our lifestyle. It’s choosing to live this day, and the next, and the next within the exquisite work of self-responsibility, self-honesty, and self-love. 

22. Work your courage muscle - The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. To act with courage does not mean ‘to not be afraid.’ It means ‘to act from the heart’ - from our innermost knowing of what truly matters to us. Courage takes not only a willingness to be bold but also a willingness to know oneself. The question is not only are we open to grow, give, and live in new ways but are we open to know our hearts and stand within its truth - even when it’s scary. A simple way to build your courage muscle is to explore your curiosities by committing to try a new thing every quarter. The last quarter of the year begins in October. Make a list of at least ten new things you’re curious to try, but haven’t (or haven’t fully). Choose one to dive into as of quarter four. The undeniable side effect is this…your heart will shine bigger. 

23. Stop creating endless 'To Do’ lists and start creating ‘To Be’ lists -  There was a time I use to measure my self-worth through my ‘to do’ lists. They were long, endless really, and impossible to complete. And of course, as soon as something was crossed off, three more things were added. Some days I’d do a pretty good job at ‘getting things check off,’ and those days I’d feel pretty good. I felt important. I felt in control. It gave me the illusion of ‘meaning’ in my life which I craved oh. so. much. If you currently relate to this, then listen closely my friend… STOP IT! I’m not saying stop doing things and taking care of your day to day needs…I’m saying stop putting your self-worth into that list. Stop thinking that ‘things will slow down’ or feel ‘in control’ once you just complete that list. Because you and I both know, another ten things will be added even if you do actually complete everything on that page. One thing that helped me overcome my addiction to a ‘to do’ list was to make ‘to be’ lists. Here are some examples of ‘to be’ lists you could play with: Character qualities in others that I admire list? What scares me list? What really matters to me list? What I’d do if I didn’t care what others thought of me list? If an addiction to your ‘to do’ list is a challenge for you, check out my guided life design journal and companion planner. The whole second half of the journal is dedicated to the artistry of time and project management. There are only seven left and until Sept.15th it includes access The Changemakers Collective for free (our next live quarterly review is Sept. 17th). 

24. Be like bamboo - Bamboo is very light, yet incredibly strong and is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. In building, it is three times stronger than timber and can withstand more tension (or stretching pressure) before breaking, than steel. It can often be found in tropical places with very high winds that often snap trees in half. However, bamboo is resistant to this. If Bamboo is cut down to the ground it won't eradicate it - new leaves grow on the cut stalks, revitalizing the soil and eventually growing new stalks from the base, rather than from the cut canes. Being like bamboo teaches us how to be with difficulty. It teaches us to be resilient and strong, while simultaneously being flexible within the inevitable winds of change. If we resist and hold on too tight to yesterday, we are likely to break within the winds of change. However, if we stand strong at our base, while simultaneously being open to directions of flow that change is bringing forth - we will grow with more speed, ease, and stability. 

25. Nature is medicine - Have you ever cried by a rivers edge, meditated to sound of the ocean waves crashing, fell asleep under the shade of a trees leaves as the wind brushed sweet nothings across your skin? Even for the most disconnected among us, it can not be denied, nature is medicine to your soul. Respect it, give back to it, listen to it, and spend time enraptured by it. And if you live in a city, it can be brought into your home - so there’s no excuse. Even a simple house plant can remind us of the roots from which we all sprung from. But truly, stop at nothing to bury your feet in the earth and do whatever it takes to look up and see the stars, like tiny tears in the night’s sky, reminding you that there is majesty to be found, even in your broken parts. 

26. Run your life and work in the world with S.O.U.L  - It wasn’t a smart business idea…it was a gift, a listening practice, and my life’s work that gave me the s.o.u.l framework for creating a fulfilling life. I imagine it will evolve as I do, and yet, the simplicity of it as is, seems like enough. And from what I can tell, that seems to be what we are all after anyways…enoughness. 

S (Standards of integrity) - know your values, what you’re a stand for, and the character it will take to create the life you most want to live. Live in the provocative questions that up-level your being - the doing will be clear after that. 

O (Objectives of life) - relentlessly follow your curiosities - this will guide you to your purpose because you don’t find your purpose, you create it. Your life is an expedition, a quest, a journey…not a destination. 

U (Unlearn limiting beliefs and behaviors) - we all have patterns rooted from childhood that are reactionary - they have been imprinted and now operate as deep-seated beliefs and behaviors. They become our triggers - and our deep inner work known as shadow work. On the other side of this brave work you will find a human you know intimately, someone you feel got lost in the forest…and when she emerges it will be like reuniting with a long lost friend. And you will know this truth in your heart, “I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness.”

L (Life design) - we all have a great masterpiece inside us, it is our life. The life we live is our legacy, our gift to the future, our finest body of work. So my question to you is this…are you creating a masterpiece worthy of you? One that is meaningful and will allow you die saying, “yes, my life was a gift and I did all I could to share it lovingly with the world.”

27. Embrace re-invention - Centuries pass and still this wisdom holds up, “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”  - Heraclitus

Give yourself permission to be human, to change your mind, to make mistakes, to burn it all down! If you want to feel sovereign in your soul, then stop limiting yourself through the illusion of perfection, control, or ‘having it all figured out.’ What freedom I feel to know this! If life is asking for you to make a change that seems unorthodox, radical, too late, too soon, too hard…let yourself off the hook. You got this. You were made for this. Change - it’s the one constant, so trust you know how to do it. Because you do. And remember, it’s your life, re-invent with a sense of humor and sense of wonder. 

28. The highest form of yoga is gratitude - practice daily. This my friends is the most important spiritual practice I have. Yogi Bhajan, the creator if kundalini yoga, was quoted saying, “an attitude of gratitude is the highest form of yoga.” I not only agree, I believe it’s our access point to unconditional love. Emotions can be measured and it is said that love and gratitude vibrate at the same frequency. If you want to fall in love with life everyday, practice gratitude. It’s not always easy to feel gratitude, especially if circumstances are challenging and you haven’t been practicing regularly. In that case, begin with appreciation. Can you appreciate something, anything, anyone? Of course you can, if you’re reading this you have something to appreciate - the internet / your ability to read (therefore access to some sort of education) / the free time you have in this moment to be reading this. When I first started I created a gratitude jar. At the end of the day I would write down one thing I was grateful for that day (and why) on a small sheet of paper and then fold it up and put in the jar. When it was full, I poured the contents out and read each one, threw them away, and then started over. I did this for at least two years straight. Now I practice daily through a meditation I created called The Magic Mindset Meditation (grab here for free).

29. Treat money like a person you love - Years and years ago I went to an event where I had to sit across from someone and pretend they were money. For three minutes straight I had to tell “money” how I felt about him, what I really thought about him, how I feel around him, and what my deepest fears, concerns, and dreams are with regards to him. Then, “money” had three minutes to tell me how hearing that felt and how it made him feel and what it made him want to do (be with me and support me or run and hide). This exercise radically changed my relationship with money, as I never even considered it that - a relationship! I now lead this exercise with my clients and again and again, the insight is mind blowing. So I ask you to consider this, ‘if money were a person you loved, would they know it, feel it, believe it?’ How do you treat money? Are you treating money (like a person you love) with respect? Or are you always telling it, it’s not enough? Do you have little awareness about it, only connecting with it for meaningless moments in an attempt to make you feel temporarily better. Do you spend meaningful time with it weekly (I now have weekly ‘money love dates’ where I review my finances and actually engage with and appreciate my money). Are you sharing money with the world, or do you fear sharing it? Do you only want you and this money to hang out together? Do you get jealous if money is spending time with others as well? My suggestion, give back - no matter how little you make. Even $1 to a homeless person. Share this love and it will grow. Do you complain about money? Imagine if you were always complaining about someone you loved - he or she wouldn’t really want to be in your presence very much, right? Really, take the time to look at your relationship with money. It will be worth it on more levels than you can imagine. 

30. Mining your soul is where the real gold will be found - Self-discovery is one of the most precious gifts. My life is so, so sweet and not because of extrinsic wealth, but rather, a deep reservoir of intrinsic wealth (which by the way seems to always support my extrinsic needs). Here’s how you can begin to mine your soul for gold: write daily, weekly, and/or monthly reflections answering questions such as this: how am I feeling, really? What could make this day/week even better? What activities really light me up? What is my body saying about this idea or that decision? What am I grateful for? What’s just not working anymore? What lesson(s) can be learned from this? 

Self-discovery processes and communities that thrive in the spirit of exploration have been foundational to my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. I have just 7 life design journals left, with one of a kind self-discovery processes, plus, until Sept. 15th, I’m granting access to The Changemakers Collective for free when you buy the journal (all for just $64.95  - usa only) *our next live quarterly review session is Sept. 17

Looking for more in-depth transformational support? Until September 30th I’m opening applications to work 1-on-1 with me. If you want to create more clarity, confidence, depth, meaning, and whole-hearted courage in your life, projects, and work in the world Fill out this exploration application - details on application.

Now I ‘d love to hear from you.

Which of these lessons resonated with you the most? Share in the comments below.


To bringing our full selves to the world…together,

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