Part 2 of 4: 40 lessons I’ve learned in 40 years (ON LIFE, LOVE, & LEADERSHIP)


{Part TWO of FOUR}

Here we go…#11-20 of 40 lessons learned in 40 years. If you missed last week (#1-10), go here. I look forward to hearing in the comments below which lesson spoke to you the most and why. 

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11. Make bold requests - The way I define confidence is this: ‘knowing that no matter what - you’ll be okay.’ The question is then, how does one get to this knowing? From my experience, through consistent acts of courage. In the personal growth world, there is a game we like to play, known as the ‘no’ game. It goes like this: you make requests that you desire, but you feel are so bold that you have convinced yourself it will be a ‘no’ (or at least you feel it’s very likely). The point of the game is to lean into this bold request and actually try to get a NO. Ask your partner to take you to Italy for your birthday. Apply for that job. Ask that person on a date. Turn in that application to speak or teach. Raise your prices. The point is to get as many NO’s as you can. The interesting thing…you lose (and win) when you get a ‘yes.’ There are two lessons from this game. One, it trains an important muscle for living a fulfilling life - I like to call this muscle the ‘keep on keepin’ on’ muscle aka confidence. Intentionally receiving ‘no’s’ show you that you can survive being turned down. Since it’s a game and you win if you get a ‘no’ - this plays a little trick on your brain retraining it to respond differently to disappointment. Second, almost every time, you experience at least one YES. That’s right - you get that thing you thought you could never have, by simply making a bold request. This happened to me recently. I asked someone who I thought would likely say ‘no’ - maybe even only offer a reply back from her assistant - to write the forward of my book. You can imagine my delight and “oh my goodness I am SO glad I made this bold request!” when she wrote back with an enthusiastic YES. So my friends, make those bold requests. The worst that can happen is you get a ‘no.’ But guess what? NO is an acronym for Next One! and an opportunity to start building more deeply defined edges into your confidence muscle. 

12. Go weird, not wide - I first heard these four words stringed together from the clever mouth of Rich Litvin and I was sold! We live in a world where we want to ‘hack’ everything from intelligence to intimacy. We want ‘allthethings’ now and we’re often in a state of information overload because of it (rather than powerful and intentional action). The truth is, those who are really ‘living their best lives’ are doing it with depth and unapologetic authenticity. Stop hiding and embrace your weird - bring it to the table with honor. What weird stories, hobbies, interests, habits, skills, dreams do you have? What sets you apart from everyone else and makes you, you? And for the love of baby toes, uncover your zone of genius and do what you can to work more in that place, every day. If you want to feel connection and a sense of purpose, if you want to create something real and sustainable - Go Deep with your relationships, your clients, your work, your art, your life. 

13. Don’t be the best, be the only one - Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist of The Grateful Dead was quoted saying, “Don't be the best in the world at what you do; be the only one in the world who does what you do.” Mic drop! I use to think that all my diverse passions, skills, and life experience made me a ‘jack of all trades and a master of none.’ The truth is, I was never ‘all over the place,’ but rather, I was testing my curiosities and stacking my skills. My work in the world now thrives off that diversity and my skills and experience have led me to create a one of a kind lifestyle and leadership design system that is soulful, sustainable, and poetic. It’s better than the best, it’s the only one. Innovation wins every time, but you can’t rush that baby. 

14. Less is more - Declutter your life my friends! Moving to Nicaragua for two years, getting rid of everything I owned and then doing that again when I decided to work and live in an RV for 6 months traveling the USA…was an astoundingly healing practice of non-attachment and recognition in how little we actually need. It helped me be so much more mindful as a consumer, sincerely asking ‘what value will this item bring in my life’ before buying it. When my home, office, car, computer, and schedule are not cluttered, I feel more spaciousness and creativity flowing through and out me. It’s actually an essential tool for my well-being and business. I use to say to friends, “if you ever come to my place and it’s unusually messy and cluttered, sit me down for a friend chat - it means my soul is also feeling unusually messy and cluttered.” Clutter creates an energy drain and I know it to be true because I have helped client after client create more flow with their ideas and work by simply having them clean their desk, organize their calendar, or empty out ‘that corner in the garage that’s always in the back of my thoughts.’ You get my drift. 

15. Use a calendar - well, only if you want to be productive in a purposeful way and feel sovereign over your day to day experience. The truth is, life can be really full and messy at times, and also, we have a lot more control over that than we think. I was resistant to this whole calendar thing for a long time and I find a lot of people are, but that resistance is a time-waster. I personally love using a google calendar as I can design my weeks with color and I can easily move things around as needed. I also have access to it on my phone and anywhere there’s internet. I have it linked to my online appointment scheduler, so as clients book sessions, it’s automatically added to my calendar. It helps me be punctual and proficient with the things I say I will do, and this matters to me because I deeply respect my time and the time of others. You’ll never hear me tell someone, “I forgot.” And if you do, what I’m really saying is, “that doesn’t matter to me.” Because things that matter to me, go in my calendar (which I look at every day). 

16. Relaxed Determination opens the flow for manifestation - I’ve been studying how manifestation works since I was in my mid-twenties (looking at it from a quantum physics approach to the behavioral and neurosciences to spiritual perspectives and practices). And most of us are missing the point. We think manifesting is thinking and feeling a desire and then boom! You get it. If not, you did it wrong. We assume the best practitioners are those who ‘have’ it all - and by ‘all’ we often mean extrinsic things that society tells us we all need and want. We don’t think about key components like dharma (your purpose in this lifetime) and your karma (your souls unique lessons it’s here to learn). We rarely take the time to do the work to first uncover our truest vision for ourself and align with our values before asking for more. And we aren’t aware that our thoughts and feelings don’t create, but rather our vibration does, which is created from our thoughts and our feelings are a guide to what vibration we’re in. And most of all, we don’t realize that radical trust is a precursor to it all - what I call relaxed determination. I go all in with my manifestations, but I do with a sense of deep surrender. We have free will, but we also have help (and sometimes that help has a different pathway for us). 

17. Failure is nothing more than feedback - can you just imagine how this would change your life when you get this in your bones. What book might you write? What non-profit might you start? What place you might move to? What new career you might try out? What relationship might you lean into? Do you see the possibility in your life becoming one giant masterpiece of opportunity and potential when this filters through your blood, the marrow of your bones, and your very DNA? You can not fail my friends. The worst that can happen is you learn.

18. If you are feeling helpless, help someone - this was said by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The first time I read these words, I cried. Because I knew the truth in it. There are many ways to heal our wounds, but there has only been one that has so radically and fully awaken my soul - and that is service. I want to be clear here, I do not mean sacrifice. I do not mean martyrdom. I mean the kind of giving back that wakes you up to your core. The kind of service that changes you into the human you always were meant to become. The kind that teaches you your purpose. The kind that makes you realize you were never helpless. People often ask how I got into the work I do now. It all began a very long time ago when I felt very broken and very helpless. There was a man who became an unspoken mentor of mine and he persistently, yet tenderly encouraged me to volunteer to teach with the non-profit he taught for. I ended up spending 6 years teaching mindfulness practices to at-risk and incarcerated youth in the Bronx and Brooklyn. (Stu, if your soul can feel me, wherever you went after you passed, just wow! You gave me such a gift. thank-you). 

19. Vulnerability is our access to expansion - At the end of a yoga class - while students are lying on their backs with their arms out to the side, palms up, and their legs as wide as the mat (savasana) - I ask them to notice what else is undeniably present within that feeling of expansion. It’s vulnerability. We are expanded and at the same time, completely vulnerable in that position. It always takes my breath away. That final moment in a yoga class is there to teach us that as we stretch out of our comfort zone we will unfold into a new dimension of expression - one that feels more expanded. However, we can not fully access that without opening to vulnerability. Yoga is so poetic! 

20. Discover what you’re a stand for - I once asked a new friend what he was a stand for. He was perplexed, even annoyed at me. But later he told me it made him really think and it was helpful. I feel very fortunate that I have spent so much time surrounded by people who ask these provocative questions in social settings. I see how people who are not used to this get defensive. And I know why. It’s because it stirs their soul and they have gotten so good and ignoring it, that to feel it, it feels downright terrifying. And it is scary my friends. It’s scary to be awake in this world with so much pain. But you know what else you get to see….the beauty. So I implore you, find a mission so big that nothing will stop you. And if that mission can be accomplished alone, you're not dreaming big enough. My mission is to leave this world with millions of people singing this truth in their hearts, “I am larger, better than I thought, I did not know I held so much goodness.” Because what I know in my bones is this, when we create a life that lights us up, we illuminate the world. 

Until September 30th I am 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 and I’ll reach back out to you with more information. 

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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