You are not defined by what you are doing right now.
Talent and skill are important, but more important is adaptability—the ability to adjust to changing circumstances in your life. Your job is what you do. (Over your lifetime, you will have many different types of jobs.) Your work is who you are. (As you navigate these new roles, you will begin to discover who you are. That’s the magic of adaptability.)
Your life is a work of art.
Intellectually, we know this, but it’s hard to live as if it is true. If you want to begin believing it, try this: Whenever someone asks you about your day, think of the most unique thing that happened to you. Tell that story.
“Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each one of us.”—Mary Oliver
You do have time, and you get to choose how to spend it. Busy happens when we’re not thinking.
Someone once told me that busy is just the brain being lazy. How ironic that when we’re busy we think the opposite is true! Lazy isn’t the antonym of busy; it’s a SYNONYM! Take time to plan your calendar, block out the things you want to do, need to do, have to do, and would like to do. Say no to everything else. “Busy” should never be an excuse for why you’re so tired, cranky, unavailable, or just plain flaky. Own your life or it will own you.
The quiet voice in your head is usually right.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of our own internal compass. We don’t trust other people; why should we trust ourselves? But let’s be honest—who knows you better than YOU?
Unless you’re George Costanza:
JERRY: Kramer, should I call Susan?
KRAMER: Now what does the little man inside you say? See you gotta listen to the little man.
GEORGE: My little man doesn't know.
KRAMER: The little man knows all.
GEORGE: My little man's an idiot.
Some of the best advice ever uttered under the sun: DON’T BE AN IDIOT.
The things you’re putting off are a direct result of fear.
The other day a life coach asked my entrepreneur group to make a list of the things we’re putting off—basically all the “crap we don’t want to do.” That was a painful exercise! Define the fear and the outcome you want to achieve so you won’t be able to put off any longer the things that will help you move forward. It was one of the other girls in the group who decided to name the fears and outcomes. Now, I’m accountable for the things I’m putting off. No more excuses! I have a deadline and a person I’m supposed to call with updates on my progress. Yikes.
The quality of the life you have is not based on how much money you spend.
We’ve all been asked a version of these two questions: If your house was burning down, what would you save? And if you were stranded on a desert island what would you take with you? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they’d save their big screen TV or the clothes in their closet. Everything you love is either free or really cheap. so you don’t need to stress about money. Love the people you’re with, and be with the people you love. That’s the beginning and end of everything that’s truly meaningful in life.
You are in charge of your emotional experience.
Emotions are like waves, building and swirling and crashing around us all the time. My internal feelings are often the result of external circumstances, and the ones that cause the most havoc are the ones that touch the most sensitive places of my psyche—my work and self-worth. If you can train yourself to both welcome and enjoy criticism, you won’t get sidelined by the emotions that try to derail you. When my emotions threaten to paralyze me, I remind myself that even though the emotion is real, the words that triggered it may or may not be true. Then I ask, “What is this experience teaching me about myself, others, or the world and how can I use it to make my world better?”
Your story can inspire others to share their own.
Every good story involves a character going on a journey (internal or external) who meets a guide, encounters obstacles, overcomes them through many trials, and who eventually reaches a climax of calamity, but somehow overcomes, thus making all her dreams come true. We have a story, too, and our story always intersects with a bunch of other stories around us. Since people generally become what you speak of them, it is wise to be generous with your words.
You expect from others those things you believe about yourself.
The greatest discovery in life is self discovery. Until you know yourself, you’ll always be trying to be like someone else. This is one of those one liners I’ve been repeating for awhile, even though as late as just last week I had an epiphany where I heard myself say out loud: “I kept hoping for a different story, but I just realized THIS is my story.” Good grief…apparently the road to self-discovery is full of distractions, detours, and road blocks. Just keep going in the direction of your dreams and eventually you’ll begin to believe that where you’re going is where you were supposed to be all along.
You are not selfish because you want to be liked.
Likeability is a trait of highly successful people. It’s actually a job skill. (I learned this from Vanessa Van Edwards, founder of the famous People School). I’m glad she said it, not me, because wanting to be liked sounds exactly like a quote I heard Michael Scott say on an episode of The Office:
“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it's not like this compulsive need to be liked, like my need to be praised.”—Michael Scott
Likeable people are charismatic and influential. They generally have more friends and get what they want out of life. Wanting to be liked is a good thing, especially if you’re a likeable person. When I was in high school and college, I have to confess, I thought about this all the time. Like all the time. I wanted more friends, and I didn’t know if I was making them fast enough. It’s a relief to know that there’s things I can do to ramp up the warmth and be more expressive as I genuinely do love getting to know new people.
I’d love to know what you’re discovering about yourself. There’s always something new to learn! If you want to take it to the next level, I’d love to meet you!