10 Life Lessons That Will Change Your Life
Every now and then, we find extra incentive to take stock of our lives and think about the life lessons we have learned along the way. This incentive can come in many ways. Some people are evolved enough that taking a few moments daily or weekly to assess where they are, who they are, and how they came to get there is as much a part of their normal routine as brushing their teeth or going to the gym. Others of us do this at less regular intervals (and often after periods of stress, or loss, or other such unwelcomed epiphanies). Regardless of the approach to get there, it is important to take some time to reflect now and again and assess what we’ve learned.
After a recent series of six (!!) memorial services, (5 human, and 1 feline), in a mere two-month period, along with lots of time prior to, during, and after that contemplating what matters most, I have found myself taking some serious stock in life.
And with that, I have been reminded of a few life lessons I embraced over the years that changed my life.
- Uphold your integrity. Be known far and wide as the person with an exceptional work ethic and high integrity. Take ownership of your work, never throw anyone under the proverbial bus, always follow-through on your promises; and communicate honestly and respectfully.
- Don’t fear the unknown. The road of life is full of twists and turns. Some we may anticipate and prepare for … others we cannot possibly foresee. Try not to worry about the unexpected or panic at the thought of change. Instead, welcome it. Change brings growth and new opportunities.
- Always keep learning. Never stop evolving. A great quote by Jane Fonda sums it up: “Stay curious, keep learning and keep growing. And always strive to be more interested than interesting.”
- Kindness matters. Lead by example and with an open mind. View others through a lens of compassion and know how to empathize. Self-centeredness is not a good look. Generosity of time and spirit, on the other hand, is a very good look.
- Maintain balance in life. I recently realized that I had become so accustomed to working around the clock that I hadn’t done anything beyond work and daily home-life routine maintenance for months and months (and months) on end. When I tried to envision turning that around, I was disheartened to realize that the vision of a more balanced work life/personal life ratio had become difficult to see. Since that moment, I have made it my mission to achieve a better balance again. What that means is many more “yeses” to dropping everything to enjoy an impromptu family board game, or outing to a local festival. More long walks with the dog and nature hikes. More time connecting with friends to simply catch up.
- Nurture your relationships. I have found that there is a tremendous reward in nurturing personal and professional relationships. Take the time to invest in people at a deeper level. Become a great listener. Touch base to check in and say hello, just because. Forward a link to an article you read that reminds you of them. Avoid superficial interactions. Be genuine and connect deeply.
- Cultivate your interests outside of work. Carve out time to pursue a hobby. Contribute your time, talents and/or resources to helping make your community stronger. Create a life that is well-rounded, purposeful, and fulfilling.
- Take great care of your health. We’ve all experienced the difference between stepping out into the world after extended stints of ‘burning the candle at both ends’ versus being well-nourished and well-rested. Make it a top priority to tend to your health. Nourish, exercise and rest your body and mind and attend to your emotional and mental health. There is no greater investment that one can make than to do this.
- Know your values … and stay true to them. Visualize your values as your personal and professional roadmap. Trust your inner compass – knowing what you stand for (and what you don’t and/or won’t stand for) and living your life accordingly brings clarity, confidence, and purpose to your life.
Consider reading and being inspired by The Four Agreements. During a period of high stress in my life last year, a good friend recommended reading this powerful little tome written by Don Miguel Luiz. It put quite a few things into much-needed perspective. I was immediately inspired to keep in mind his wise advice to: 1) Be Impeccable with Your Word; 2) Don’t Take Anything Personally; 3) Don’t Make Assumptions; and 4) Always Do Your Best.