Categories Inspiration, Leadership, Life Lessons

44 Life Lessons in 44 Years

WOW…what a difference a year makes, and yes, I totally admit to being ridiculously delinquent in my 44 lessons this year. I’ve been writing them as I go this year with the intention to post but every time I got close, “something” came up, or I found the lessons a little too close to home to share. So here goes, and here they are starting with one of my favorites:

  1. When you feel like closing up, shutting out and turning off, consider the opposite: Open Up, Let it in and turn it all on. It’s probably exactly what you need at that moment. It is scary no doubt, but I’ve found that it works in your favor.
  2. New people come into your life all of the time. Some people stay and some people will leave, vanish and go POOF! when you have nothing more to offer. Hold the door for the ones to leave. Make it easy. Put out a welcome mat for those who stay and see things through. They are the keepers.
  3. You aren’t any less strong if you tell someone you care. Even if you haven’t spoken to them for a while, even if they think you don’t care, even if that ship has sailed or there is loads of baggage being carried. It’s called being human. Caring is not a weakness.
  4. There is no “one day.” There is only today. Live every day to the fullest. Tomorrow may never come. No day but today.
  5. Stand for something. Stand up for someone. Don’t back down. Stand tall.
  6. You can fight without lifting a finger. You can place yourself in a great position without hurting anyone. You can win without making someone feel small. If you’ve lifted a finger, hurt another or made someone feel small, you’ve lost.
  7. It’s hard to “let go” isn’t it? People glorify “letting go.” like it is a cleanse. (I hate cleanses of any kind btw.) Sometimes you must. But sometimes when those memories come up, there is nothing wrong with using it as an opportunity to send some goodness out into the ether and hope it lands where it is supposed to. A little airy fairy yes, that is true. But if letting go isn’t in the cards and dwelling really sucks, this works.
  8. Compassion rules over anger every single time. Anger makes you look like an ass.
  9. Roll with it. Be water. Adapt. Bruce Lee said it best.
  10. Take your vacation days. Disconnect. Cut the cord. Have a life outside of the day-to-day. There is no glory in burning yourself out.
  11. Invest in yourself. Time, education, self-care, mental and physical health. You are only at your best for yourself and everyone else if you take care of yourself. Make the investment and take care of you.
  12. Pay it forward.
  13. “You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” Nina Simone  (amazing song btw)
  14. Do it. Just make it happen. That thing that you’ve always wanted to do. Do it.
  15. Make the ask. Get your ducks in a row. Get all the facts. Make the asks from a foundation of information.
  16. Get LOST! The best discoveries I have ever made were by accident when traveling and being lost or just getting lost on purpose. Don’t use a map. Just walk, bike, travel, and EXPLORE. You can always get back to where you need to be. The mother in me has to tell you to charge your phone, make sure you have enough cash to get back and your mama on speed dial :)
  17. Some people are strange, but they don’t have to be strangers.
  18. Make eye contact. Smile. Connect. Even for a second.
  19. Don’t sugar coat it. Tell it like it is. Life is easier as a straight talker.
  20. You don’t have to justify or defend your position, opinion or beliefs to anyone. You also don’t need to be held to the expectations, opinions or beliefs of anyone.
  21. “Stuff” becomes heavy. Get rid of stuff. No one needs all the stuff that they have. There are loads of people, organizations and worthy causes who can use the “stuff” you don’t need. Give it to them. If you don’t love it, gift it, donate it or toss it.
  22. SMILE! You are beautiful when you do it. Even if you are alone it will make you feel better. Smile at someone else too! While walking to work, on the bus, at a red light. You may just make someone’s day.
  23. Over thinking things is overrated. It’s like searching for one thing on the internet and 2 hours later you wonder where the time went. Yes, the possibilities are indeed endless, but you can waste your time going down a fruitless road, or just deal with something if it actually happens.
  24. If you don’t want people to judge you, or speak about you negatively, don’t give them any ammo.
  25. When you find people who enjoy your kind of crazy, keep them close.
  26. No is a complete sentence. Use it often.
  27. Sometimes you are wrong. You jump to the wrong conclusion. You form an uneducated or uninformed opinion. Sometimes you are dead wrong. Accept it with grace. Make it right and move on.
  28. Sometimes you are right. Being right feels good. Being right is not a tool to designed to bring someone down or make someone feel small. Facts can do that on their own.
  29. If you haven’t already, establish your own moral compass and stand by that. No book or rules can guide you. They can influence, but only you can create your own moral compass. Follow it.
  30. That thing you don’t want to deal with. Deal with it. Yes, THAT thing.
  31. Rip the Band-aid off. It may not hurt as much as you thought it would. It may even have healed by the time you decide to remove the Band-aid.
  32. Never, ever shrink to meet someone’s level of expectations. No one ever shrunk their way to greatness.
  33. If you break, and they laugh or leave, let them. Just let them, and rise. Listen to this AND STILL I RISE, Dr. Maya Angelou.
  34. Please do not put people on pedestals. They will never meet your expectations and will disappoint you. It is not fair to you and definitely not to them.
  35. Give them a chance. Everyone deserves a chance. ONE.
  36. Make mistakes. You learn so much when you make a mistake. Mistakes that are made more than once, are not mistakes. They are choices.
  37. Lead with compassion. Compassionate leadership requires a lot of strength. Don’t confuse people having compassion with being a doormat. Two very very different things. Make sure no one else confuses them either.
  38. You will fall in love. More than once. Maybe even more than twice. Falling in love is a precious gift.
  39. Listen to young people. They may not have a lot of years but have some great ideas. Old farts like us can learn from them!
  40. Be there for someone. For the little things and the big things. Sometimes the little things for us are the big things for others.
  41. Play. You are never too young to play. Make time to play at every age and every day.
  42. Travel. Go to places you never thought you would go. Meet people you never would normally meet. Make a difference. Immerse and embed yourself in other cultures. Get comfortable experiencing new ways of doing things and living.
  43. Count your blessings. Literally. Write them down, especially on dark days.
  44. Look to the future. Plan for the life you want.

Till next year rock stars!

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Author: Anastasia Valentine

Positive Instigator, Speaker, Author, Business Strategist.

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