Another milestone achieved as I turn 60. Birthdays for me are a time to reflect and I think to share with you, ‘60 Reflections On Turning 60!’ is a way for me to realize the significance of this milestone for me and the hopes that there are some thoughts and ideas that might help you. I have collected 60 thoughts that have supported and helped me be who I am and I feel that I have been blessed with people, stories and experiences. This was a very difficult exercise as there were so many more to share over 60…maybe 70th birthday will be easier. What I can share is that it has made me an average and extraordinary person but let me clarify….I am an average person who has had extraordinary experiences. The over arching theme I live by is gratitude. I am humbled by life and you…so…let’s go! (each of the reflections are short.
1) Everyone’s life is an autobiography…make yours worth reading! – I live this thought all the time. I have carved out some pretty amazing life experiences because I have been aware that my life is a living story and autobiography. You are a living story that needs to be realized. What is your autobiography?
2) Obstacles are the necessary bricks on the road to my success. – I don’t fear obstacles, I embrace them and learn from them. Obstacles are going to be there and I realize that they are important in helping me be who I am. What obstacles are you facing and how can you work through them?…and you will!
3) Realize who you are – not what you do! – Take the time to realize who you are as you are not defined by what you do. You are not a title but a person and someone of great depth and not limited by what you do. Realize your brilliance by getting to know who you are. Ask me about the 5 Core Elements!
4) The extraordinary in the ordinary – We go through life in autopilot and routine but imbedded in the ordinary are these tremendously extraordinary experiences…but we need to take time to realize it and that the smallest things can have a profound impact on us. Life is not routine! See my 1st TEDx on it!
5) CARPE – The five things that help me to discover 4). – Curiosity – go through life open minded, Appreciation – appreciate things for more than they are, Reflection – think deeper, Perspectives – we all have our ideas that add to reflection, Experience – capture your stories so they don’t evaporate
6) I need to CARE – There is a need for us to incorporate CARE into our lives. CARE stands for Collaboration, being Adaptable, building Resilience, and embracing Empathy. If we CARE, we have a stronger and more purposeful life and society. Today, show more CARE.
7) Change the world…it is possible! – Changing the world is not an impossible task. Instead of changing the world through your eyes, change the world through the eyes of those people you help. Because of you, they will never see the world the same and you do not change it to what you believe it should be.
8) FEAR – Forget Everything About Regrets – I have not lived in regret for the things I have not done or the actions I have taken. I decided a long time ago to not dwell on the past but to realize the journey and that giving up something to gain another is important.
9) Focus on what I gain, not what I lose. – Related to FEAR is that it is fine to realize what you give up in order to pursue something important but I focus on what I gain and the opportunities and not what I lose by taking an action. It is a mindset to shift your focus and when you do that, great things emerge.
10) Never be a bystander in life. – You can watch the change around you or be the change that moves a person or community. Roll up your sleeves and get busy. There is a such a need for people to be active and offer support. You have experiences to share…now go do it! This one helps to support 5) and 6).
11) I may not be able to control the situation but I can control how I will react to what happens around me – Things will happen and go in directions you can not anticipate or hope for. I can not control those things that happen around me but I can control how I will react to it…I decide how to react.
12) Obstacles or life lessons? One holds you back while one helps you grow. – When you are faced with a problem, do you see it as a problem or opportunity? One will keep you from doing what you need to do and the other one will help you to always move forward. Always learn from your experiences.
13) Transformation over Transaction – In everything we do, we have an opportunity to realize a transformative experience over just being transactional. These are not epic things but small ways that foster change. How do you greet your barista? Say hello to a stranger or just smile. It really does help!
14) The big things in life are a series of little steps. – You can accomplish anything you want in life is you just keep being persistent and avoid limitations. There is a lot of hard work in the journey to accomplish what is important as long as you keep going. Realize the small steps are what get you to your journey.
15) Passion ignites purpose – Often times we try and find a passion and it fizzles out. Passion can not be sustained and when you realize that, and put effort to realize your purpose, the passion ignites the purpose. It supports and helps you to get to point 3). Keep passion alive and guide it to your purpose.
16) Are you a bucket or a candle? – At times we feel worn out and drained because we pour our contents into others and drain our bucket…shift the thought and realize you are candle and you can light up another person by being who you are. Instead of depleting yourself, energize and light up others.
17) As I wander in life, I wonder – I have a curious mindset and am always thinking about things and how it impacts me and the people around me. I realize that my life is a long journey and it is not one to be rushed so I stop along the way to ponder and it has made me become reflective and appreciative.
18) In a world full of critics, why not be someone’s champion – It is easy to complain and see the negative side of someone or situations. Instead, support and help. Step up and share the positive side of that person. Lift them up and don’t put them down. Enough people out there to be critics.
19) When you live in the shadow of fear, you will never experience brilliance of your own light. – Go out and do what you were meant to do, if you don’t, you will always think about what could have been. Just try it. Muster the energy and confidence and try it. Find people around you who will support you!
20) Anything that is scary, difficult or a challenge is where you need to be, you don’t grow in comfort. – Society wants us to seek comfort but comfort is also not a good word because we stop growing as an individual. If you feel that nervous energy, that is a good thing because you are growing as a person.
21) Change your words, change your world. – What words are you using and are they holding you back? Do you see a problem or an opportunity? Is it a failure or is it a setback? Chose your words wisely because what you choose and say will ultimately decide your path and become a habit.
22) Don’t sit and wait for karma to visit you because you did good – karma will find you! – Don’t do good because you have expectations that it will return back and you will be better off. No, karma will come find you because of who you are and not what you do. I call this karma assisted.
23) Don’t just answer the questions – question the answers – There are many times where people want a response from us but there is a need for us to look deeper and see if it is the right thing to do. Think and reflect on what is being asked. It helps us to realize the truths in life.
24) Yes or no…here is what I can do – When someone asks us to do something, we look at it as an absolute. I am busy but if I say yes, it means I am taking on too much or if I say no, am I giving up an opportunity. Instead, how about say, ‘here is what I can do’, and now you own it on your own terms.
25) Money is not a motivator…it is a result of your motivation – I realized many years ago that when I am authentic in my journey, money will result. Money has not been a motivator for me and if you are doing something because of money, it is transactional and won’t get you far in life.
26) Are you earning a living or living? – We get caught up in our routine and go through the process of earning a living but have you actually been living and embracing more than what life can offer? Are you doing what matters to you and realizing your full potential? Does it feel like a day or OMG what a day!
27) Compete against others, no one wins but compete against yourself, and all win! – When you focus on your own possibilities and pour into your self and challenge yourself to accomplish, great things can emerge but not at the expense of others. When competing against others, you only push others down.
28) Just because you might be feeling cold does not mean the world is cold. – We all carry our own perspectives so please don’t impose them on others. Just because you might be feeling cold, the person next to you may not. The same applies to your views and perceptions. Respect that we are different.
29) I can’t please everyone…a difficult reality. – Unfortunately, the rule of 15-70-15 applies. There will be 15% who don’t care what I have to share. 15% fully embrace who I am and 70% are a spectrum. Realize the 15% who don’t care, it is not me but just that we might not connect and that is alright.
30) Limitations, the thumb holding you down. – Imagine what you could do if you were not limited! Now consider those limitations holding you back and realize how you might remove them. Limitations become the noise telling you can’t accomplish what is rightfully yours. Persistence is the key!
31) My life is a GPS and opportunities are always changing so I must recalculate – A realization that my life is a journey and that I should not be afraid to recalculate. I don’t just switch directions without thinking but rather focus on who I am and does it align with who I am. It is OK to change directions.
32) Intentions over goals – Intentions guide me as the 5 Core Elements in 3). If things hit 5/5 for who I am, I have to do them. Goals are absolute and I might have to chose between a goal and opportunity and I am not comfortable with that. A lot of what I do today is out of intentions and not goals.
33) What is the last story you read? What is the last story you told? What is the last story you lived? – We are all living stories and there is a need to share your journey. Never feel your story is not worth sharing. By not sharing, you deny others the opportunity to realize your journey and learn from you.
34) Focus on yourself and there is no time to criticize others. – When you further yourself with education, personal development and experiences, you will not have time to look at what others lack and spend time criticizing their being. Focus on yourself and always make yourself better.
35) Celebrate your victories and never dwell on the setbacks. – Life is a balancing act. We never spend enough time appreciating our victories but we allow our setbacks to consume us. Acknowledge the setbacks, learn from them but spend more time appreciating the victories (but don’t brag!)
36) What is your outlet? – Make time to build in an outlet because it will free your mind from the everyday commitments. For me, it has been conversations, writing and woodworking. For you, it might be cooking, painting, yoga or any number of activities that make you happy. Be creative!
37) Stop watching the NEWS! – Think about it, how can you possibly start a positive day when the NEWS always starts off with all the doom and gloom happening around you in the world. It injects us with negativity right at the outset for their benefit as we cope with how to survive the challenges.
38) Cash in those lottery tickets! – We have so many winning lottery tickets in life. I mean the kind where people we meet who are there to support us and a need for us to just follow up so we can learn from them and grow as an individual. 9/10 times I never hear back from someone wanting help.
39) In life, I want to be a traveler, not a tourist. – I want to experience what life can offer and not just see what life can offer. So much to uncover in this world and only by going down a hidden path or taking time to engage a local do we realize some amazing finds in life that become story gems.
40) Perceptions are not our truths! – We all have perceptions but we hold them to be our truths but in fact, they are created by what we want to believe and fits our realm. Keep an open mind and challenge those perceptions and see what emerges. The truth is there but you just need to uncover it.
41) Rational/logical vs emotions – When someone’s emotions are charged, you can not have a rational/logical conversation. Unfortunately, they will not listen because they feel threatened and as emotions rise, rational/logical evaporates. Keep rational/logical in balance with emotions.
42) Calm and sense is common sense – There will be times when things don’t go as planned. Getting flustered or frustrated will not solve anything. By remaining calm and trying to work through the problem, you will think more clearly and be able to work your way out of a challenging situation.
43) There will always be haters! – No matter how hard one tries, there will always be someone in the wings who will say negative stuff about you. Ensure your reputation holds you up to the comments and as difficult it may be (I know first hand), don’t take it personally. They have a problem, you don’t!
44) I have to believe in myself…or no one else will. – If I don’t believe in myself and my capabilities, then how can anyone else believe in my ability to accomplish. One must first believe in themself in order to move forward. When you believe in yourself, you have confidence…how do I get confidence? See 45)!
45) You were born with wings. – Sometimes when we stand at the edge and doubt our abilities to take that leap, remember that you have these beautiful wings…wings that are our experiences and people who will not let us fall. We may not realize we have them, but they are there. Go forward and fly!
46) Relationships over networking. – For me, words signify a lot. When we go to a networking event, I see it as a transactional interaction and small talk. Seek to build a meaningful relationship because it means the context of the interaction will last and you are both interested in who they are. How? 47)!
47) Getting into a conversation is actually not that difficult. – I know people struggle with trying to figure out what to say at an event or meeting someone. Don’t complicate it. Keep it simple. Ask questions and listen to the responses and then build upon the responses. It will help you to activate 46).
48) Memory triggers bring us our stories. – We all have memory triggers. Things that remind us of a more deeper level story. It could be a scent, something we see or a song that triggers a rush of emotions and memories. Be open to the memory triggers as they remind you of your world.
49) Activate the voice within to be louder than the noise around – There is so much noise out there telling you what to do and often times, they are not even right. Instead, activate the voice within. Find champions and enablers who believe in you and will help guide you on where your voice needs to take you.
50) You are the centre of the universe! – Think of the billions and billions of stars out there…now think of the billions and billions of cells within you. Does that not make you think that maybe you really are the centre of the universe?! Inward and outward, you are someone that is a miracle.
51) Perfection is an imperfection. – We might strive for perfection but finding perfection might be frustrating and difficult. Pursing perfection might be a flaw that means you are not perfect because you are trying to pursue perfection. Don’t settle for less than amazing but also, don’t try to be perfect.
52) Promise but over deliver. – If I say I will do something, I make sure to do it to the best of my abilities and try to over deliver on what I said I would do. This then has become my reputation as a doer. It relates to your character and reputation. I carry this as my brand. I will not let you down.
53) I am no one’s priority! – This may sound negative but it is more about being a reality. We can be frustrated as we wait for people to get back to us but the realization is that we are looking at someone else through our lens…what do they have going on? I am not their priority so I might have to remind.
54) Leadership is not a title or position…leadership is a lifestyle! – People chase the word leadership to be recognized as a leader. You don’t determine if you are a leader, people decide if you are worthy of the title. Stop chasing the glory and role up your sleeves to do good and help others…it will follow you.
55) Respect all – they make up who I am! – Related to 54), we spend so much time talking about trying to be a leader, we forget that many people support us; therefore, respect others and don’t worry about the title of leadership…things need to get done and people will line up to help when you respect them!
56) Reflect on the past to vision the future while standing on the crack that is the present. – All three of these areas are worthy of being noted and must be considered. We need to know where we have been to help guide us forward but never forget that the present is where we are. Life is a journey!
57) T.B.S. – Think before speaking – Sometimes we say things without thinking of how it might impact others. We may not realize the impact it might have on someone else. Our words can hold hope or cut people down…it might also change their path because they hold your words as truths. Make it positive.
58) Knowledge and wisdom – Knowledge is what I am fed through books, internet and sources…wisdom is the application of that knowledge. One can have knowledge but lack wisdom. You need the foundation of knowledge but apply it to the real world. You can solve most problems this way.
59) I don’t know it all! – We all have something to contribute so be open to what someone has to offer. I don’t know everything and while I am turning 60, some of the most important things I have learned have come from a 20 year old! I listen and learn no matter who they are. I am richer for it!
60) What ever I gain in life, I have to give away – My life is about gathering experiences and people I respect. All of this has accumulated and I am not allowed to hold on to them…I need to give it away but the more I give away, the more keeps coming back. It is a beautiful cycle that I don’t want to stop.
Where this all guides me – My life is an hourglass and every grain of sand represents a day of my life – don’t waste a grain of sand! – These 60 reflections have enabled me to reflect and appreciate all the things around me. Also, to realize that every day, a single grain of my life (hourglass) enters that narrow chamber and all my experiences add richness to the grain so that at the end of my day, I have made it rich. Don’t waste a single grain of sand (a day of your life) on petty thoughts and things you can not change. Practice gratitude every day.
WOW, if you have made it this far, I applaud you. This was written for me but as I said, everything from 1-60 are there and I offer it to you as my life lessons. I give them away because I am not allowed to hold on to what I have gained. My time on this earth is limited and while I have had some tremendous experiences and people I have met, know that you have made my life rich. I serve you and you have enabled me to do so many tremendous things. Go out and make your own list and realize your greatness. I see who you are and what you do and I am grateful for knowing you. As I share what my dear friend Bif Naked always shares – ‘Shanti aur pyaar’ may peace (Shanti) and gratitude/love (Pyaar) follow you as it has with me. On wards to a new chapter in my life and I look forward to knowing yours!
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