I found a post a couple of days ago that I immediately resonated with. In the post, Leo celebrated his birthday by offering his 38 life lessons. And as I read through each one, I realized how much impact it had on me with my birthday being just a few days later.

I decided that reflecting back on the life you’ve lived can only help you move forward, and get one step closer to accomplishing the things you’ve hoped to achieve in our short time here on earth. Like Leo, I too feel like I’ve barely begun. There’s so much left to do!

So today is my birthday. Over the last couple of days, I’ve come up with a few things – 12 in fact – that I’ve tended to follow to get me where I am today. Hope you enjoy!

1. Be happy. I once heard someone say that if you are constantly striving to be happy, you’ll never achieve it. If there is always another goal, another “thing” needed to be truly happy, every time you get that “thing”, you’ll add something else to the list. This completely changed my mindset, and I pretty much enjoy every day now and what it has to offer.

2. Be authentic. Have you ever met a “fake” person? They are hard to miss. They are always changing and acting in different ways, trying to fit in with the crowd. If you can’t accept yourself, how can you expect others to accept you? So the only way to do it is to march to the tune of your own drummer, and ask people to join your parade if they feel it too. I figure with 6 billion people in the world, it should be fairly easy to get a few thousand to march along with you – and my theory has worked pretty well so far.

3. Be curious. How do things work? What makes people tick? For me, life is all about wondering what is happening around you. I pick up books, magazines, and surf the Internet every day because I truly want to find out what people are doing and thinking. Even one little “a-ha” moment a day can add up to big things over time.

4. Be adventurous. Remember being a kid? It was so much fun to head into the unknown. You didn’t really think about the consequences, so you just jumped. My 16 year old daughter ran and jumped into a big puddle of rain water a while back, and gave me the biggest smile – I loved it! You tend to lose that ability by the time you are 16 – definitely by the time you hit my age. Why? Isn’t it much better to attack everything, be daring and bold?

5. Be ever-changing. Who you were yesterday doesn’t mean you have to be the same person today. You can quit a job, sell a house, and start a new hobby any day you choose.

6. Be courageous. Wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things. The bigger the change, the more courage you need. I’ve found the best way to deal with fear and trepidation is to just do it, one thing at a time. For some of my bigger plans, I’ve started files and journals to help me record my process, take notes along the way, and follow my journey. When you lay something out before your eyes, it helps you see what you’ve accomplished. And gives you courage to go to the next step.

7. Be at peace. Have you ever had so much going on in your life, you can’t sit still? The thoughts just keep tumbling around and around. Usually that is a sign of having your hands in too much. Before I take on a new project or activity, I always ask myself if this is something I can give 100 percent to. If not, chances are I’m too busy. If I can’t give it my all, I feel its better not to start. Take the time to start up a yoga class, or head out for a walk. Learn to accept quietness into your life, even for just a short period of time.

8. Be teachable. I meet a ton of students in my business. Within the first few minutes of speaking with someone, I can usually tell if they will be successful at their new endeavor. How? By finding out if they are teachable. If I start hearing the “yeah-but’s” throughout the conversation, they’ve usually reached the point of being un-teachable. Life is all about learning. I have my favorite books on my bookshelf, and reread them every so often because I gain something new each time. When you are in a different place in your life, you see things in a different way. Life is definitely all about learning, and seeing what you can do with the new knowledge you gain.

9. Be flexible. One of my biggest life lessons is being flexible. Yep, I’m the type A personality that likes everything in its place. I love being in control – just ask Andrew. But over the years, I’ve also worked at being less rigid. It doesn’t always have to go a certain way – why not try something new?

10. Be serendipitous. When was the last time you dropped everything to head out for lunch – two hours away? Or how about planning a mini-vacation – in just a few minutes time? Instead of thinking about things, and over-planning to death, why not live for the moment once in awhile? The definition of serendipity is finding something that you were not expecting. Its hard to find “something” if you stick to your own patterns. Change it up once in awhile, and see what happens – just for fun.

11. Be healthy. I think this one is the toughest, and also the one that matters the most. I lost my father at 54 years old to a massive heart attack. My mom had a stroke at the age of 54. So for me, life has always been a matter of NOT following in their footsteps. It’s easy to eat the bad stuff. It’s easy to sit on the couch. But in reality, it’s just as easy to eat the good stuff and head to the gym to watch your favorite show.

12. Be ready to take on the world. We each get a certain number of days on earth. And because we don’t know the number, it’s important to live each day to the fullest. Don’t wish for something in the future, or that day will never come. Don’t plan for tomorrow; instead find out what you can do today. They say one person can change the world. That’s true. But you have to be willing to jump off ledges and take BIG steps in order to make it all come true.

Here’s to the next year!

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