Happy Birthday to me…Happy Blah Blah to me…Yes Indeed. Another incredible year has rolled around. I am proud to say I am better, happier and far more lively this year than ever before.
As I sit here on my ever-so-blessed 33rd birthday, I have such an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude. I am truly blessed. Not of my own doing however. God has opened up doors that I couldn’t have pried open with a lifetime of effort.
Here are a few notes from my journal that I reflect on in light of today’s celebration.
1. Find A Higher Purpose For Living: Living for ourselves is too shallow of a reason to exist. Do NOT confuse this as putting yourself last. You cannot give what you do not possess. However, when you are living at full capacity and giving your abundance, you are truly experiencing life at full throttle. Most of us have learned by now that acquiring possessions and always having to have the next shiny object in order to be happy is a death cycle. Happiness is not a way of living. Its a chemical reaction in the brain. Find a larger cause, purpose or benefit as to WHY you exist. My personal choice is to glorify God. Why, because just about every other “thing” I have tried doesn’t bring the satisfaction I deeply crave.
2. Let Your Light Shine (Be You-nique): In a world where you can be anything, be yourself. Don’t worry about fitting in with the masses. People attract to supreme confidence and when you let your light shine, people will see their way through (darkness) phoniness and move toward your authenticity (light). Don’t ever let someone put a lampshade over your uniqueness. Those that do are usually not meaning to hurt you. Usually they are scared of something they see in you that they are wanting to do as well. Knowing this, you no longer have to live in fear that people may laugh at you. They actually want more of what you radiate.
3. Live Well: Don’t wait until you’ve “made it” to begin living life. Life is lived on the journey, not once you arrive. Know what a life lived well means to you and drop as many of those activities into your calendar as you can. Tying this to a cause really amplifies your ability to feel good about how you live your life. Start by answering all of your “How Are You Today”? with “I’m Living Well”.
4. Work Hard: There is simply no other way to get to where you want to go. You can leverage your efforts by being extremely clear and stubbornly focused on your mission. Lets not take 40 years to get to an 11 day destination. Be sure not to confuse busi-ness with productivity. It only cheats yourself.
5.Bless Others: The ability to bless others is ALWAYS available. The desire to do so however is many times absent. A true show of character is ones desire to bless others. This can be as simple as a smile, a listening ear or helping someone breakthrough in a time of need. My personal experience is that I have been blessed with much, so it is my responsibility to bless others. Besides, everyones internal bank account needs “feel good” deposits. This is the best way I know of to avoid becoming emotionally bankrupt.
6. Find Your Passion: The two greatest days on this earth are the day we are born and the day we find out why. Shifting into a life of passion can be a painful process. So is staying in a rut of conformity and mediocrity. Dig deep and discover what stirs your blood. Find out how to incorporate more of it into your life and if you are super fortunate you will even find a way to profit from it.
7. Marry The Wife (Spouse) of Your Youth: Marrying your souls equal is a gift very few of us are able to be blessed with. I have been with my wife since I was 19 and have been told that dating today is not like it used to be. Part of the reason is because too may people replace what they don’t like instead of working through it to find common ground. Your spouse is a living, breathing being so things WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. If you focus on working through your core differences you can enjoy a life of blessings instead of living under the mindset that somewhere out there is the perfect spouse that has it all together like this world often portrays.
8. Repair don’t Replace: Having the mindset to always scrap what isn’t perfect can set you up for a lifetime of disappointment. You never get ahead since you are always building something and then stopping when it gets to tough. This is very similar to people who start something and then never finish. By building a mentality to fix what isn’t perfect will teach you to make the best of what you have an allow you to appreciate much more of life in the long run.
9. Be Selective: In everything. The company we keep. Minds we develop. Water we drink. Our circle of influence. Don’t just let any thought or person take up space in your brain. By being selective and saying “NO, I wont allow that into my life”, we send a shockwave to the world saying we will not accept this standard for our life. Tony Robbins says the simplest way to improve your life is to increase your standards.
10. Build Something Great: We are all builders. Whether we build a life of mediocrity or a life of greatness is up to us. Make up your mind to build a better you. A happier family. A business that solves a need. A community that gives back. Too many people end up at the end of their life with regrets. This is a surefire way to not be a victim of that. Start with a solid foundation and build your way up.
11. The Air Plane Principle: This is one of the greatest principles I have learned in my life. I consider myself a giver at heart. Many times when I give, it costs me. A lot (pain, agony). Im always willing to eat last and suffer more than most. The airplane principle teaches us that we put our masks on first (to help ourselves first) so that we can continue to help many many other people. Many times we say we will sacrifice our well being to help someone else and many times we are not truly helping, but enabling. Well, you can only help so many people put their mask on before you collapse. Therefore, don’t consider it selfish to know that you serve the world best when you are getting “yours” (in this case oxygen) first.
12. Count Your Blessings: An attitude of gratitude will be your best defense to life’s overwhelm of reality. Life is fair by being unfair to everyone. We must have something we are grounded to that keeps us seeing through the blurred vision. When you know this in your heart, very little can keep you separated. This is not to seem cliche. This is not to seem over thought. If being a mother is your greatest blessing, KNOW THAT in your deepest capacity. This will keep you as fierce as a lioness protecting her cubs when life gets a little vicious.
13. Live With Conviction: We take in a lot as humans, let alone entrepreneurs. So much that we often times don’t know WHO we are or WHAT we stand for. We must learn to convict ourselves of the evident truths that make up our internal DNA. This conviction must stand as part of our WHY that keeps us standing at our post regardless of the relentless opposition that will come our way. Be picky. Know what your values and beliefs are and don’t adopt something just because its popular.
14. Know The Power of The Mind: “For as you believe, so shall you become” Proverbs 23:7. “Whether you think you can or think you cant , you’re right”. There is no shortage of quotes to give horsepower to the power of the mind. Learn how to build a mindset that works in the upward spiral of life so you are taken down by the ever-present-but-has never-happened thoughts that consume us. If you have a hard time living by faith, try looking back at all the worry you did. Did any of those situations ever turn out as bad as we made them out to be in our minds? Be a victor not a victim.
15.Life is Not Lived At The Top Of The Mountain: Truth is, if you jumped into a helicopter and asked them to drop you on the top of Mt Everest, your body would implode. Its also VERY hard to breathe up there. Besides, how many times have you reached the summit and thought “WOW! Great view. Is this it”? Life is lived on the journey. So enjoy the view at every turn.
16. Keep A Close, Small Circle: Small circles keep value as their main connector. Value in the form of advice, action, friendship, business. The larger the circle, the more you must maintain value to each individual and we only have so much time. When time is spread thin, there is a sacrifice. Sacrifice on the quality of our advice, action, friendship or business. Be at your very best by keeping the very best close to you.
17. Be Mindful: Mindfulness is awareness. In order to be aware, we have to know what to be aware of. To know what we have to be aware of, we have to know what we feel convicted about. Im not sure if you are connecting the dots here but many of these “lessons” come full circle once your individual answers are put together to make one giant overview. Be aware of what consumes your mind and drop little tidbits into it as often as you can.
18. Develop A Daily Routine: This is your daily “build the best me” routine that you do every day before you begin saving lives and making a difference. This can include reading, working out, writing, reflecting or anything that makes you operate at your absolute best. I created a video you can watch that goes over my morning routine. You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixpf1_HoD-o
19. Do Life’s Work, Not Busy Work: If you are building something great, you are doing life’s work. Lets be sure we drop as many of these activities into our schedule. They rejuvenate us. They give clarity and power to our days. They make us feel accomplished. Do not live under the condemnation that you are too busy making a living that you have no time to make a life.
20. Keep A Journal: Keep several. I love to read. However, no book will ever contain as much power as your life’s legacy (except the Bible). Your experience. Your setbacks and breakthroughs. However formal or informal, leave as much legacy as you can for the rest of the world.
21. Seek Wise Counsel: This is where your small, close circle comes in. These close friends usually have your permission to kick your ass in life. They will give you brutally honest feedback. They will make you stronger. When you need advice, you will likely turn to someone you trust. If you are truly about growth, then you will want the brutal truth. People in my circle always have a healthy dose of growth tied to everything we do. I strongly advise you find counsel that doesn’t hold a biased opinion and will shed light on the truth regardless of how painful that may be. Having a “friend” who sugar coats life and tells you what you want to hear is not doing you any good.
22. Build Community: The smartest entrepreneurs and business are building communities. They are building a fan base of loyal customers. These communities are WHY focused and looking for an outlet to their thoughts, issues and creativity. Learn how to gather great minds to give them a source of relief, direction and…community. Your reason doesn’t have to be for business. It could be to start a community garden, community conversation, community running club. Trust me. There are people JUST LIKE YOU who want to be a part of a community that shares your common interest. Gather them and build something great.
23. Know Who You Are: We are not looking for name, rank, serial number. WHO Are You? At Your Core? This question is tough to answer yet offers so much clarity as to why we bother to wake up each day. What do you stand for so strongly that you refuse to sit down be quiet? Thats Who You REALLY Are.
24. Give Thanks: Developing a heart for appreciation could very well be the greatest gift humans are capable of. We see what happens when we develop a heart for entitlement. Just look around. Don’t just be thankful. Give Thanks. To all those who helped you along the way. To someone who helped today. Or perhaps several years ago. Everyone loves to be appreciated. If we can help to put a smile on someones face by giving them sincere appreciation, we just lived for a higher purpose, let our lights shine, lived well, blessed others, built something great, lived with conviction, were mindful, did life’s work and built community. Two simple words allowed you to live life at full throttle. Cliche as you think it is, study the greats. They all had thankful hearts.
25. Create Memories You Can Leave Behind: I prefer to leave experiences and memories to may family instead of possessions. Aside from my journals I have, a life time of well lived memories and wisdom on how to live better, I have began to record short videos for each of my family members to watch then I leave this world. These videos are specific to my relationship with that person and are placed in a digital Do-Not-Open-Until-Im-Gone Folder. Although it may be painful to watch these videos, as they go through them they will appreciate those extra moments they never anticipated spending with me. Letters, photos, special memoire’s. Anything personal, specific and unanticipated will be a wonderful memory.
26. Assume Nothing, Verify Everything: This unfortunate value of todays society is disappearing very quickly. The do good aspects of life we once counted on as a gift in life now come with a cost. Just cause you hear, read and in many cases, see it, does not mean its actually true. Don’t spend your time validating senseless information. Use it for that which matters.
When you are humble, your soul is at peace. You are not living to boast, compete, be noticed or need confirmation from the rest of the world. Just do it and leave your ego at the door. One of my favorite quotes is “some people are so poor all they have is money”. Think on that.
28. Listen: I am terrible at this so I may not be the best person to give advice on this. The power of listening is still one of the greatest sources of peace and power we have on this earth. I don’t mean just listening to people. What do you do when you have a moment of free time. Do you go outside and listen for a pleasant song bird? Most of us have been trained to numb our existence than listen for a moment of quick rejuvenating peace. However, lending a good ear, listening to good counsel, listening to a friend spill their life, listening to the stillness of our lives is very peaceful. When everyone is reaching for chaos or struggling to find peace, go the old fashioned route and just listen.
29. Know What You Want, Not Just What You Like: This can save you from ending up on your deathbed saying “I wish I would have done more of…”. As humans, we really don’t know what we want. We just know what we like. What a tragedy to “like” (seems like we “like” everything today) something we see someone else with and give our whole lives up to achieve it only to say “is that it”? Be stubborn in knowing what YOU want.
30. Work Strategy, Don’t Chase Opportunity: One of the biggest breakthroughs of my business life was when I discovered the ability to work strategies instead of chasing opportunity all over. This brought a lot of security and confidence to my life. When we have the ability to see where we get results from and focus on duplicating those.
31. The Light That Burns Twice As Bright, Burns Out Twice As Fast: Most of us bite off more than we can chew. Trying to keep up with life’s constant demand is taking its toll. We add 48 hour loads on 24 hour circuits. We sacrifice health to get “success”. We lose sleep to “get ahead”. All too often we trade the golden years of our lives for tin foil. Its great to work hard. Just know that juggling too much for too long will take its toll on you.
32.There Will Be Toil Along The Way: Period
33. Know God: I was raised to know God as my savior and strayed away for a short period in my life. I recall the very day I just made $50,000 NET CASH flipping a house and being depressed. I had all these paid mentors and advisors around me. I couldn’t be transparent with any of them or face losing my “superman” image. I recall walking over to the Bible I had on my dresser and reading “Count it all joy when you fall unto various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces patience”. The thing was, I wasnt in any trouble. Life was good. Bills were paid. I have a gorgeous wife, incredible son, business was growing. I was just empty inside. No matter who I met, what I bought, where I traveled I always returned to this same “dead” feeling inside. I cried out to God to forgive my sins, asked Him to show me how I could fill this void (selfish of me I know) and begin living a life of faith. Its been a painful journey shedding the old me and creating a new one in Christ’s image although I now know where I can go for comfort and truth.