Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes. In 1978, I was 16 years old. Yes, I am that old. I recall at that time and thinking…”when I will be 32 years old, it will the year 2000 and what a global milestone!” At that time, the age of 32 seemed so far away. I am now 52 and 16 years old seems equally far away.
Back then, and looking forward, I had concerns. Who will I be, what will I do, what is in store for me? (sound familiar?) I had no idea and if someone were to show me the future of what I have accomplished, I would have said: “no way!, not me!” You see, in high school and university, I was plain and average. There really was nothing that interesting about me…or so I thought. I thought I was just another fish in the school.
So what happened? How is it that I left that mentality of walking the path that was safe and common? I guess the following thoughts:
Worry and risk– why worry? Around me, people worry about so many things. I have found that 90% of the things I worry about I have no control over and 10% of my worries never materializes…that makes 100%. Worry is just our internal safety mechanism to protect us but it over protects and we are not willing to take any risks. Take the risk and see what happens…you will be fine.
Doing the small things – I think most put an honest effort to work and do a good job; however, I have found that it is the small details that create the largest impacts. We may not think it important but to someone else, it is what differentiates us from others. Look at what you are doing and see what is not being done and tackle that as well.
Nothing is given – I don’t want things easy, I want to earn things in life. If something is working, why do you need me? Give me something dysfunctional or non-existent and let me build it. I have discovered that I thrive in uncertainty. Now this is me and I realize that many don’t like the unknown but more importantly, make sure you earn everything you do. This ensures you appreciate everything because you were in the struggle to secure it.
Listen, observe and be available – I used to be shy and quiet but slowly I broke out of that. I think it took me time to build a level of comfort and confidence but when I did, the relationships became solid. I take the time to listen, observe and make myself available for conversations. I never went into an event or networking session on who I would meet and what could they do for me but rather, who will I meet and that they will be on my journey.
Being genuine and authentic – We try and figure out and build what we might think is our audience when what we need to do is be ourselves and the audience will materialize. Trying to be someone that is not in line with our authentic self is not going to be true to you so be yourself and it is a lot easier to build a positive you.
I am no better or worse than anyone – There will always be people with better skills and abilities than me. At the same time, there are times where I might have a more suitable skill set over others. I just try to align myself to what I am good at and most comfortable at. I don’t look at what other people have.
Be happy – Appreciate the people, situations and things around you. Don’t take things for granted in life. Taking things too seriously means you will always be on edge. Someone speeds up next to you and tries to get in front of you, let them in…it really is not a big deal. It is not about giving in but rather having a perspective that it is likely not that important to bother you.
So at 52, I have gained many perspectives and life lessons. These did not happen over night but rather are connected and related to each other. These are my perspectives and yours might be different. All I know is that they have supported me in who I am. Would I go back to change things…of course not. I needed my successes and setbacks to make me who I am today. What ever your age, what are your key perspectives and thoughts?
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