Here Are 8 Authentic Lessons I’ve Learned About A Happy Life
In 4 weeks, I’m having another birthday. For me, it’s a strong reminder that another year has passed and I’m getting older. Have I become wiser? As a Personal Development Coach trained in both Western and Eastern traditions, I’m relentlessly curious and want to keep growing. I’m always studying and certifying in new ways to attain happiness. At moments like birthdays, I reflect about life…and lessons learned. Here I share my personal insights and experiences with you in the hopes that you may find your balance and bliss.
1. Go after what you want.
Don’t live the dreams of others but instead find what’s in your heart. Discover your personal path.
My mission is to teach others how to create an integrated, happy and successful life. This past year I did numerous keynote talks. In one, I got to teach over 200 CEOs about time management and how to expand time effortlessly. In another, I spoke at the Florida Encounter Convention about the Wellness Tourism Industry and tips for personal well being. In between, I had tons of other speaking gigs. One highlight was speaking at the World Conference of the USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) about how to enter the “zone” consciously to improve performance. These were both gratifying and lucrative opportunities to share my expertise.
So what blows your hair back? What’s your passion?
2. Let go of “stuff” that isn’t serving you.
You may spin stories about experiences from the past that may keep you from moving forward to explore new horizons. A broken relationship or a lost job can color the way you now see yourself or reality in this moment. You may get stuck in what happened or why it happened instead of using those ordeals to rocket you onward and upward. Just as you spring-clean your closets, clear out your emotional and physical baggage.
When a Category 5 hurricane was barreling towards our house last September, Patrick and I made a quick decision to evacuate. We left in just 90 minutes. I truly believed our home was going to be devastated. Our impulsive decision at the end of a long day forced me to evaluate what’s important. What do I take? We came through with surprisingly little damage but thoughts of loss weighed on my mind. It’s time to review and assign which items I no longer use will go where so they hopefully land in a home where they are protected and appreciated.
3. Put Yourself First
While this may seem selfish, invest time in self-care. You know the basics: eat right, exercise, get enough sleep. Make yourself a priority so your body and mind can function optimally.
For me, life was once a grim seesaw of high and lows. I’d feel so great that I’d mindlessly do too much. Then suddenly find myself flat on my back with the flu or muscle spasms.
Heed signals from your body. If you have chronic headaches or indigestion or you’re feeling unfocused, these are signs that you are likely suffering stress. Long-term tensions cause both mental and physical imbalances. Give yourself periods of relaxation. Notice if you’re getting enough exercise, making good food choices, and getting adequate rest. Your performance is directly linked to your everyday lifestyle choices.
4. Value your relationships.
This is a biggie. Connection and “relating” are all important for your health and well being. Let’s face it: you want to believe that someone cares about you and values you. In fact, establishing dependable relationships — whether intimate, family or friendships — helps boost your immune system. So find your tribe where you feel safe and loved.
I’m grateful for the caring man in my life. I realized just how much when I stood by him through his total hip replacement last June. I trusted that he would be fine but there were always those niggling questions of “what if.” This past year has also revved my appreciation of family and friends and how our human connections add sweetness, sustenance and meaning to life.
Who do you care about? Who cares about you? Take a moment today to do something to let those important people in your life know how you feel about them. Make a phone call, text a note, give a hug, or send a gift!
5. Consider what you can give rather than what you can get.
If you want respect, give respect. If you want love, give love. The more you give to others, the more shines back to you as in the “Law of Attraction.” But it’s more than that. Giving is uplifting and builds integrity and compassion. It creates a higher vibrational frequency that affects everyone in its path.
Through my books, programs and writing, I’m determined to share tools and techniques to make a difference in someone else’s life. I strive to stimulate and inspire others by walking my walk and teaching what I have learned. By giving, I’m always awed by what I receive. Last July I got an email from someone who said he was so stirred and motivated by my book (Escape From Anxiety — Supercharge Your Life With Powerful Strategies From A to Z) that he went on to study about stress and anxiety at the university. He’s now written his own book to help his people and was asking if I would write the Foreword. He lives in Tehran. I could not have imagined through all the demands I faced in completing my book that my contribution “out there” would reverberate in the far-away land of Iran.
What can you give today? Maybe do a random act of kindness. Choose an uncomplicated gesture like a warm smile to a passing stranger or opening a door for someone exiting with packages or a truly warm comment to a store cashier. Take one small step for starters. It will lead to the next and the next.
6. Work with others. Coaction is key.
By combining resources and working together, you can accomplish so much more. The synergy you create is far reaching.
I used to think partnerships weren’t for me. I was raised in an era of cut-throat rivalry. The idea of sharing talents was threatening. Now I’ve realized how stuck I was in an old paradigm. The new way is to cooperate and collaborate. My biggest lesson came from being part of the fastest growing personal development book series in the world. Through it I developed global contacts of like-minded people who are positive influencers. It’s reaffirmed to me the value of aligning with others. (I’m co-author in Volume 9 of The Change — Insights into Self Empowerment, launched by Jim Britt — Tony Robbin’s first mentor — and Jim Lutes. Suddenly I’ve been linked to over 200 other coaches, musicians and movers and shakers dotted all over the globe.)
Locally, I work with a talented guy who is in the New York State Broadcast Hall of Fame. We offer training for improving speaking and networking skills, reducing fears and obstacles. Most recently I’ve partnered with the Convention & Visitors Bureau in my area to form The Wellness Tourism Visionary Task Force. Its purpose is to create a community-wide focus on healthy opportunities to attract wellness travelers from around the world. By pooling our efforts, we can make Florida’s Paradise Coast — with all its native treasures — recognized as a health destination. (I want to be able to present more of my trainings to big groups without leaving my hometown!)
What talents or passions do you share in your company or community? Who would you enjoy working with? Reach out. Network and find ways to create joint ventures. Doing so allows you to do more with less effort. Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little: together we can do so much.”
7. Be open to synchronicity and serendipity.
Are you searching for your soul mate? A new job? A fun activity? When you allow yourself to surrender to the flow of life, miracles unfold.
I believe in synchronicity. While attending an outdoor pool party hosted by the United States Tennis Association, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. We chatted and she mentioned a State tennis tournament that was going to take place nearby. “It would be fun to play in it,” I said casually, adding: “But I don’t really have a doubles partner.” Without hesitation, she suggested: “Why don’t we play together?” I heard myself agree and it seemed a bit far-fetched as we had never played together. “Heck,” I thought. “Go for the gusto.” We‘ve made it to Nationals. Who’d ever have thought such an outcome was possible?
Another situation occurred when a student in one of my classes told me that he’s a farmer. He mentioned that his biodynamic farm is a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture. I liked the idea and immediately bought a share. Every week during growing season, I’m fed by delicious, nutrient dense foods grown less than five miles from where I live. This small farmer writes fascinating newsletters describing the “morsels” he will be sending our way and also tales of his farming challenges. I’m now working with him on an inspirational book of stories and recipes about Florida produce and sustainable foods!
To notice your silver linings, be receptive and keep yourself emotionally centered. If you’re in constant turmoil, stressed or overworked, you won’t be able to seize opportunities that stream across your path. Learn to de-stress and encourage moments of stillness so you can truly “see” what’s possible!
8. Patience and faith are essential for survival
In our fast-paced lifestyles, we push a button or voice a command and get instantaneous results. Such immediacy can fuel frustrations more intensely when something suddenly isn’t working. When that happens, step back and stop for a moment. Take a few slow, deep breaths, re-set and recharge. Accept what is as is and get quiet. In this way, you develop patience and when you do, you can genuinely see better solutions.
On a Sunday morning last November, I was launching into my writing projects when my hard drive crashed. Yep, it got corrupted and shut me down. At first I wasn’t even concerned about the fact that I hadn’t backed up my data in six months. My immediate challenge was that I had a radio interview scheduled for Noon and the details were now irretrievable. Fortunately I’d scrawled the name of the show on a piece of paper so I went to Patrick’s computer to access their website. It wouldn’t load. What to do? At Noon I waited for my phone to ring. The co-host finally called and told me they were waiting for me on the studio phone line that he had emailed me. I explained my dilemma and he laughed confessing that his website had just crashed that morning. And so began the radio interview about dealing with stress and anxiety.
Subsequently, I spent weeks going through four brand new computers (all major name brands) and one after the other, they malfunctioned. I could’ve had a melt down. Well in truth, I did sob uncontrollably one afternoon. Then I practiced what I preach. Here are some of my hacks for dealing with overwhelm and exhaustion.
At the end of the day, happiness is a choice. You can focus on what isn’t working or you can use your energies to uncover solutions. I believe we must each walk our walk and be true to our own values. Live with integrity, purpose and be happy. And so it will be.